By: Mohamed Faarah
Somalilandsun- The Somali Ogaden Regional administration based in Jigjiga is using all efforts to prevent peace deals implemented in Ogaden Region, eastern Ethiopia, where one of longest conflict in Africa persist.
According to a reliable source in Ogaden close to Regional administration informed to Ogadentoday Press that the regional administration chief (President) led by Abdi Mohamud Omar is convincing the Federal government not to deal with ONLF, a separatist group fighting for independence of Ogaden region since 1994.
The regional administration has gathered the traditional elders in Jigjiga, an elder who asked not to publish his name for security reasons informed Ogadentoday Press that the agenda of meeting was to visit Addis Ababa to inform the federal government that ONLF, Ogaden National Liberation Front has been rooted out and there is no necessary to have peace deal with small group remaining.
The elders disagree but were warned off.
Let me tell you, who is anti-peace element now! an elder said, adding that, The regional administration calls ONLF anti peace elements but now, I am sure they are anti- peace element and even we doubt about that they do not want a peace in Ogaden.
Another elder said in statement, that people of Ogaden need a peace and we are calling for both the federal government and ONLF to keep on negotiation and solve the conflict, adding that he believes ONLF is strong still but regional government is using propaganda to keep them in the power.
According to a government official the President claim that he has many supporters in the Federal government, regional analysts believe in that there is a lobbyist group in the federal government, spokesman of Ethiopian house of federation Atto Kassu and foreign state minister Ambassador Berhane Gebrekristos who backs the regional administration move against the peace deal in Ogaden.
There are also military officers and General based in Harar, who are believed profiting the Ogaden conflict.
There is no doubt, that the regional president has a strong link with the military officers in Ogaden and even paid them a huge money to take a message to the federal government, said a close source to regional administration.
One is undeniable; the major fear of regional administration is power-struggle, but the Ethiopian federal government vision is to be implemented peace process in Ogaden and drill oil and gas in the Ogaden.
According to a source some of the regional administration leaders, members of cabinet and the Somali Ethiopian Democratic Party members see the negotiation a positive step while some others are paying all efforts to halt and fail the successful peace negotiation in Ogaden
According to VOA, After the World War II withdrawal of Italian forces, Ethiopia took possession of the Ogaden, a vast semi-arid land of shrubs and bare hills that became the southeastern quarter of Ethiopia. The majority of the 4.5 million populations are ethnic Somalis whose Ogaadeni clan ties extend to major parts of Somalia and Kenya.
Last year’s talks ended when the ONLF refused to accept the Ethiopia constitution as a pre-condition to talks because of Article 39, which addresses the right to secede.
“The constitution says they have the right to self-determination up to and including independence,” said Edmond Keller, an Ethiopia scholar at the University of California at Los Angeles. “But it’s sort of the old communist dictum: You have the right, but not to exercise it.”
Peace talks broken off last year between the Ethiopian government and the rebel Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) may re-open in October, according to Kenyan negotiators.