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Issue 520/ 14th - 20th Jan 2012
ONLF Inside Somali State Of Ethiopia
By\ Abdulaziz Al-Mutairi
The creation of Somali State of Ethiopia coincided with the collapse of “Somalia” during 1990’s, after liberation of Ethiopia.
The vain theory of “Greater Somalia” was adopted in “Somalia” by one-tribe administration in Mogadishu led the corrupted Siyad Barre’s regime. This theory is based on territory expansion policy, where Ethiopia and Kenya must give up parts of their countries that has Somali ethnic groups (5th Region of Ethiopia & Northern Frontier District (NFD) of Kenya).
According to the theory “Greater Somalia”, Djibouti, Somaliland, “Somalia”, 5th Region of Ethiopia and NFD of Kenya must unite under one administration with Mogadishu as its official capital. This theory led instability in the region.
Ogden National Liberation Front (ONLF), a terrorist armed group, was product of such “Greater Somalia” Policy. Barre regime trained, educated and financed large number of Somali-Ethiopians in Mogadishu to fight Ethiopia. The regime instructed the group to fight Ethiopia and merge the 5th Region of Ethiopia into “Somalia”, in order to demarcate the internationally recognized Som-Ethiopian border.
The group continued illegal armed struggle against Ethiopia for decades without substantial result. The group attacked schools, civilians and even killed children in different areas of the 5th Region of Ethiopia. They created instability in the region, where children were too fearful to attend schools. The region felt behind in education and development compare to other Ethiopian regions.
ONLF was optimistic to see one-tribe “Somalia” back on its feet with rot regime like Barre’s in top office, but this dream could not be materialized after 20 years and “Somalia” is dooming into chaos. At this stage, ONLF could not secure support from any country and were forced to sign peace deal with Ethiopia.
The top ONLF leaders divided over the peace deal and extremist hardliners persuaded their terrorist activities. As the name of the group indicates, all its members are Ogden tribesmen, who misbelieve that 5th Region of Ethiopia belongs to them only, despite the presence of more than 30 other Somali tribes. This is typical hypocrisy and dirty tribalism ideology that failed former “Somalia” in last 20 years.
5th Region of Ethiopia, without ONLF, could have set an example to other Somalis fighting over tribalism in Mogadishu. The region is having almost all ethnic Somali tribes and if such tribes reach an agreement in the region, similar agreement and solution could have become applicable “Somalia” too.
The region enjoyed vindicated power sharing between Somali stakeholders however, after ONLF signed the peace deal, the region is falling into instability and injustice. The region followed the footsteps of the Great Dr, Abdul Majir theory of fair power sharing and democracy until ONLF showed up.
ONLF is implementing in the region similar ideology and method Barre regime in Mogadishu, where one-tribe take shares of the others.
The justified system designed by Dr. Abdul Majid, is been infested by the repentant ONLF members with corruption and tribal mentality, which could lead the regions into failure similar to “Somalia”.
ONLF is discriminating Somali tribes who opposed their illegal armed activities against Ethiopia before the peace deal, and now all development projects from Federal Government of Ethiopia are going to former pro-ONLF tribes.
Meanwhile, ONLF members, who signed the peace deal, in Jigjiga are creating conflicts between the Somali tribes in the 5th Region of Ethiopia, and they supply armed and ammunition to the former pro-ONLF tribes. The education scholarships are going to the students from former pro-ONLF supporters while others are left helpless.
The President of the mainly ethnic Somali Region in Eastern Ethiopia (5th Region of Ethiopia) must ensure fair treatment and power sharing to all Somali tribes in the region. He must carefully monitor the illegal activities of the ONLF members in his government.
The president should ensure that government power is not been used as a tool to kill and displace non-ONLF tribes. ONLF, after failing to achieve its armed objectives, is trying to create enmity between the Somali tribes in the region. ONLF is trying to convince the world that one tribe is the original owner of the region, and all the rest are strangers particularly those having ethnic relations within the neighboring countries like Somaliland, Djibouti and “Somalia”.
By\ Abdulaziz Al-Mutairi