December 8, 2022

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Oromo Liberation Army

Oromo Liberation Army questions govt’s National Dialogue

An Ethiopian armed group based in the Oromia region has released a statement. The group called Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) is questioning the real intention behind the Ethiopian government’s upcoming national dialogue.

Oromo Liberation Army has been fighting the Ethiopian Federal government and Oromia Regional government for years. The group claims to be fighting for the rights of Oromos. Oromo is the largest ethnic group in Ethiopia.

In May 2021, the Ethiopian parliament designated Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) and Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) as terrorist organizations.

Ethiopian government is in the process of starting a National Dialogue in the coming days. Uncertainty looms over the inclusion of TPLF & OLA in talks. According to Tesfaye Sena, an Ethiopian minister, only those groups will be part of the National Dialogue which has not taken up arms against the State.

OLA last month set out five main prerequisites for a meaningful National Dialogue. It called for a ceasefire, withdrawal of foreign forces, humanitarian access, the release of prisoners & an independent mechanism for the dialogue.

At the start of this month, the Ethiopian government released several Oromo and Tigray leaders for the upcoming talks.

In its new statement, OLA says that the Ethiopian government has announced National Dialogue to secure access to funds from international institutions. The government wants to revive the shattered economy by receiving financial assistance from abroad, says OLA.

OLA further claims that there are internal disagreements between Oromo and Amhara Prosperity Party leaders. And upcoming National Dialogue is basically Intraparty dialogue in the ruling Prosperity Party (PP).

It is difficult to gauge the government’s real intentions behind upcoming political negotiations at this point in time. But if Tigray People’s Liberation Front, Oromo Liberation Army, and other groups are kept out of the dialogue, the process will not lead to durable peace in Ethiopia.