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AFP
February 10, 2019

Ethiopia re-integrates 1,700 separatist rebels

World

AFP
February 10, 2019

ADDIS ABABA: Ethiopia formally re-integrated some 1,700 former fighters with the separatist Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) which waged a three decade insurgency in the eastern Somali regional state, local media said Saturday.

The ex-rebels, who will have a choice between returning to civilian life or joining regional or federal security forces, were formally re-integrated during a ceremony in the eastern city of Jijiga, reported the state media outlet Ethiopia News Agency.

The fighters, who were based in Eritrea, returned to Ethiopia in November 2018, shortly after a peace agreement was signed between the ONLF and the Ethiopian government.

Formed in 1984, ONLF had been fighting for the rights of ethnic Somalis living in eastern Ethiopia to self-determination, including the option of secession.

The rebel group made international headlines on April 24, 2007 when it launched a deadly raid on a Chinese run oil field in the Somali regional state. The attack left 65 Ethiopians and nine Chinese dead. After the attack, Addis Ababa launched a large scale counterinsurgency campaign, with rights groups alleging widespread abuses including torture, rape and murder.

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