Oneg-Shene of the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) has been responsible for massacres on ethnic Amharas living in the Oromia region.

Ethiopian Government, Oneg-Shene to Enter Peace Talks

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“The Ethiopian people and government will need this negotiation very much.” – PM Abiy

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced that his government will commence talks with Oneg-Shene, an outlawed splinter group of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF). The talks are scheduled to take place on Tuesday in Tanzania.

The split of the Oromia rebel groups gave rise to a string of armed groups claiming to be one but with loose ties.

“A negotiation with Oneg Shene will start a day after tomorrow in Tanzania,” Abiy said on Sunday.

Mr. Abiy was speaking at an event commemorating a previous peace deal achieved between the federal government and factions in the Tigray region, where fighting had erupted in November 2020 and ended in November 2022.

The OLA released a statement on Monday confirming the government has accepted their terms for peace negotiations, which includes the inclusion of “a third-party mediator.”

“The OLA confirms Abiy Ahmed’s statements and can attest that the Ethiopian regime has accepted our conditions for peace negotiations, which include the involvement of an independent third-party mediator and a commitment to maintaining transparency throughout the process,” reads the OLA-Shene statement.

The OLA (Oneg-shene) is active in Oromia, Ethiopia’s largest and most populous region. This faction claims they are fighting for the rights of ethnic Oromo people.

In recent years, Oromia has been the scene of ethnic massacres, particularly in the Wollegas, a remote area in the far west where they mainly target the Amhara group, which is a minority in the region.

In February, for instance, the Ethiopian human rights commission (EHRC) reports that Oneg-Shene groups killed at least 50 people, in an attack that specifically targeted internally displaced persons from the Amhara ethnic group in the town of Anoin, about 380 km (235 miles) west of the capital Addis Ababa.

The federal government has also accused Oneg-Shene of being accountable for this and a number of other massacres, but the terror group has consistently denied any responsibility.

In spite of the fact that the conflict between the Oneg-Shene and the government is separate from the fighting in Tigray, these Oromo rebels formed a short-lived alliance with the Tigray rebel group (TPLF) in 2021. Both groups were subsequently designated as “terrorist organizations” by the federal government.

The situation in Oromia is extremely unstable, with internal political struggles, territorial disputes, and intergroup warfare.

In the meantime, a delegation of Ethiopian officials, led by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Demeke Mekonnen, has arrived in Tanzania this morning as part of a tour of four African countries. (TN)