Category: "Ogaden Ethiopia"

Ethiopia army claims killing around 100 ONLF rebels

November 17th, 2007
File Photo AFP- Ethiopian soldiers ride an army vehicle in 2006.

Ethiopia army claims killing around 100 ONLF rebels

- Ethiopian officers on Friday claimed their forces had killed some 100 rebels in the Ogaden region over the past month where its forces are cracking down on insurgents, state media reported.

Government troops had also captured hundreds of rebel Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) fighters, state-owned Ethiopian television reported.

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UN to open office in Ethiopia's troubled Ogaden

November 6th, 2007

UN to open office in Ethiopia's troubled Ogaden

ADDIS ABABA, November 6 (Reuters)
- The United Nations on Tuesday said it is opening an office in Ethiopia's Ogaden region, where the government had shut down many aid organisations while fighting an insurgency.

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Ethiopia - UN is free to start relief work in Ethiopia's Somali Region

November 5th, 2007
UN is free to begin relief work in Somali Region, Ethiopia

Ethiopia - UN is free to start relief work in Ethiopia's Somali Region

ADDIS ABABA (AFP) — Several United Nations agencies have been cleared to start relief work in Ethiopia's troubled Ogaden region, where government troops have been battling Somali ethnic rebels, the UN said Monday

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Ethiopia - Meles Zenawi Downplays Attack By Rebel Group

October 23rd, 2007
Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, seen here in June 2007, dismissed claims that rebels from the restive Ogaden region had defeated the military and caused one of his top aides to flee.(AFP/File/Jose Cendon)

Ethiopia's Leader Downplays Attack By Rebel Group

By Peter Heinlein

Addis Ababa

23 October 2007


Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has shrugged off claims by a rebel group that it has killed more than 250 government troops in clashes during the past few days. VOA's Peter Heinlein in Addis Ababa reports on Mr. Meles's comments during a speech to parliament.

The Ethiopian leader did not directly address claims by the Ogaden National Liberation Force that they have humiliated government troops in two separate incidents in the eastern region close to the border with Somalia.

In a message e-mailed to journalists Sunday from London, the ONLF said it had ambushed government troops near the town of Warder, about 700 kilometers east of Addis Ababa. The message said 140 soldiers had been killed, forcing the emergency evacuation of Abay Tsehaye, a senior aide to the prime minister who was visiting the region. A follow-up e-mail received Tuesday, said a second day of battles had boosted government losses to 250.

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Ethiopia PM in opposition warning (BBC)

Ethiopian Government, Rebels Issue Conflicting Claims Over Attack (VOA)

Ethiopian Govt Denies Rebel Attack Killing 140 Soldiers (VOA)

Ethiopia admits Ogaden skirmishes (BBC)

The message gave no figures for rebel casualties, saying only that they had been 'light'.

Mr. Meles mentioned the reports while answering questions in Parliament. He did not refute the reports of heavy government losses, but made light of the ONLF. claim that they had encircled the army troops and forced his aide Abay Tsehaye to flee in a helicopter.

Mr. Meles chided the international media for publicizing the incident.

"This week Ato [Mr.] Abay is supposed to have been surrounded by the ONLF, and the international media did reflect that, and it seems the international media is truly concerned about these things," Mr. Meles said. "Well, Ato Abay, who is here. We are together, Abay Tsehaye, together in same office. He was surrounded by the ONLF. and that I was not surrounded by the ONLF, is very strange indeed."

The prime minister accused the ONLF. of refusing to negotiate. He vowed to press ahead with the campaign launched earlier this year against the rebels after they killed more than 70 people in an attack on a Chinese-run oil facility. He did not directly acknowledge government losses in the fighting, but did speak of the 'ultimate sacrifice' made by some soldiers in the region of Ethiopia officially known as the Somali National State.

"The sacrifices paid in this area is not our military only, but more importantly, more serious sacrifice is being paid by the pastoralist people of the Somali National State," Mr. Meles said. "They are chasing the ONLF, until this force is out of the game completely, until the ONLF. comes back to the peaceful path, we are doing a very successful work around the Somali National State, and regarding the ONLF. it should soon be completely over."

Most foreigners, including journalists have been barred from the remote region since the government crackdown, and reports of fighting have been impossible to verify.

The ONLF. is demanding greater autonomy for the arid region bordering Somalia. Western analysts believe the rebel force numbers several thousand armed fighters.

Ethiopia accuses rival Eritrea of backing the Ogaden separatists, and of fueling unrest in other parts of the country. Eritrea has repeatedly denied the claim.


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Ethiopia - Government, Rebels Issue Conflicting Claims

October 23rd, 2007

Ethiopian Government, Rebels Issue Conflicting Claims Over Attack

By Peter Heinlein
Addis Ababa
21 October 2007


An Ethiopian rebel group has sent a statement to reporters saying its fighters killed 140 government troops in an operation Saturday. VOA's Peter Heinlein in Addis Ababa reports a government official vigorously denied the claim.

Information Ministry spokesman Zemedhun Tekle described the Ogaden National Liberation Front statement as a falsehoods spread by ONLF supporters in Europe.

The statement sent to reporters by e-mail could not be independently confirmed. It said a force of nearly 1,000 rebel fighters attacked a government force escorting a ruling party official Saturday near the town of Warder, about 700 kilometers southeast of Addis Ababa.

The brief statement said the attack was in response to the burning of a village in the region by government forces. Communication in the area is poor, and VOA was not able to ascertain the condition of the village.

Spokesman Zemedhun said the government does not believe the rebels have the ability to stage such attacks.

"As usual, the ONLF is trying to get media attention," he said. "Otherwise, we do not have such an information and we believe that the ONLF is not in a position where it can inflict such harm on Ethiopian forces."

The ONLF is an ethnic Somali group that has been waging a mostly low-level insurgency for more than 20 years in the arid eastern region of Ethiopia bordering Somalia. They came to prominence earlier this year with an attack on a Chinese-run oil field that killed more than 70 people.

That raid and other attacks on civilians prompted international condemnation of the rebels. But the government's response drew even more criticism. The group Human Rights Watch accused the government of cutting off food and medicine supplies to the Ogaden, creating a humanitarian crisis. Government officials said the crackdown was only aimed at ensuring that aid shipments were not diverted to the rebels.

United Nations humanitarian officials have reported conditions in Ogaden easing in recent days. The top U.N. officer in Addis Ababa said this week government officials had given assurances humanitarian activities in the region would be unrestricted.


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