The Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), a separatist movement which has been at loggerheads with successive Ethiopian regimes since 1994 has declared unilateral ceasefire amid reforms by the new Ethiopian administration.
In a statement Sunday, ONLF also called on the Ethiopian government to ‘reciprocate in kind to halt further acts that could hamper peace process.’
“The Ogaden National Liberation Front declares unilateral ceasefire from today -12:00pm, August 12, 2018 that and will cease all military and security operations directed against Ethiopian Security Apparatus in the Somali territory (Ogaden), until negotiated comprehensive cessation of hostilities is reached with the Ethiopian government,” the movement said.
The announcement follows the parliamentary approval June 30 to lift ONLF and two other organisations- OLF and Ginbot 7 from terrorist list following their enlisting in 2010 after the passage of a controversial anti-terrorism law.
Prime Minister Ahmed Abiy has reached out to various groups in the country which had been declared enemies of the state by the ruling EPDRF and has gone ahead to release political prisoners as well.
ONLF said the decision to declare ceasefire was informed by the call for peace by PM Abiy and ‘the positive steps taken by the Ethiopian government to lay the ground work for talks and peaceful negotiations to find available and lasting peace solution to the Ogaden conflict.’
The development also comes barely a week after change of guard in Somali state in Ethiopia which saw President Abdi Illey vacate office following weeks of tension in the region. Illey, a close ally of the TPLF, a faction of the ruling EPDRF suppressed ONLF jailing several of its leaders and supporters in the infamous Jail Ogaden.