“We are fighting for the rights of our people. Our people are very peaceful. We are being oppressed – actually the Ethiopian government is practicing terrorism against our people. They’re raping women, they’re detaining elders, they’re killing their own African brothers,” ONLF foreign secretary Abdirahman Sheikh Mahdi
By Mohamed Faarah
Pretoria (Ogadentoday Press) – A national conference organized by the Ogaden Somali communities populated in Eastern Ethiopia has been concluded on Today at the Pretoria town of South Africa.
The participants are ONLF, Ogaden National Liberation Front delegation among, the chairman of the group, Admiral Mohamed Omar Osman, and foreign secretary of ONLF, Abdi Rahman Sheekh Mahdi, International organizations, Human right groups, and media were also invited.
The ONLF’s top leadership has gathered in Pretoria to support for their cause and find consultations to their communities, ONLF members said.
Speaking to –eNCA ONLF foreign secretary said in statement
“We are fighting for the rights of our people. Our people are very peaceful. We are being oppressed – actually the Ethiopian government is practicing terrorism against our people. They’re raping women, they’re detaining elders, they’re killing their own African brothers,” he said”
ONLF calls on South Africa government to play a big role on political solution of Ogaden region.
The Ogaden people in Diaspora hold regularly this annually conference to discuss back their homeland situations mainly, human right issue and self-determination struggle in which they have been fighting for since last century.
Ahmed Yusuf, a participant of the conference told Ogadentoday Press on the phone that they are willing a big change in Ogaden, people vowed to continue their struggle and will keep on until they die, said the Ahmed.
Asked, the Ethiopia government claim that there is a peace and development now in Ogaden and calling for oil companies to come, Mr. Ahmed said, my uncle was killed last month because of supporting ONLF, and my brother is in the Ogaden Jail, this is a propaganda, there is no peace in Ogaden, if there is a peace, why they (Ethiopia) refuse international media and human right organizations to visit in Ogaden?
Many in the conference wishes peace in Ogaden but do not trust that Ethiopia is willing the peace in Ogaden.
A grey haired man who refused his name to be published said to Ogadentoday Press that his entire family arrested in Ogaden, the man strongly blames the local administration and called them as puppets of Ethiopia regime.
Ethiopia says, ONLF were weakened but observers and local analysts believe in ONLF is a big threat still.
ONLF rebuffs the comment of Ethiopia government and says it is a wishful meanwhile they said Ethiopia wants to attract Oil Companies in Ogaden, the group vows that Oil in Ogaden will be produced only when there is solution in Ogaden conflict.
Last month ICG, International crisis group report calls African countries to play a role peace in Ogaden.
According to the historians and the colonial agreements records the Ogaden region was handed over to Ethiopia by the British kingdom in the late of 19Th century. Britain ruled the Ogaden after when the Italian was ousted from the Horn of Africa.
Last month, Ethiopia organized a conference in Addis Ababa which aim was Ogaden and their history to Ethiopia, many says Ethiopia realizes that Ogaden was not part of Ethiopia.
Ogaden is an area that lies between Somalia and Ethiopia and is home to nearly six million people.
The Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) was established in 1984 and fighting for the independence of Ogaden Region in eastern Ethiopia. ONLF accuses Ethiopia Federal Government human rights violations against people in the Ogaden region.