ONLF Chairman’s speech covered:

• The Formation of ONLF in 1984 and how the situation was that time

• Ethiopia forced ONLF to go to war even though they were not prepared for war.

• Ethiopian military are committing war crimes in Ogaden without international condemnation.

• ONLF warned oil corporations not to get involved in Ogaden genocide and will not accept any.

• ONLF is ready for comprehensive peace talks and Ethiopia should know that they cannot gain peace and stability through war

Ogaden National Liberarion Front or ONLF is celebrating its 30th anniversary around the globe. Founded in August 15, 1984, the group has been campaigning to realize the ambtions of the Ogadenpeople for independence from Ethiopia. TheOgaden territory, which is mainly inhabited by 7-8 million ethnic Somalis, a territory which still suffer the betrayal of  Italian-British colonial rule after British handed over Ethiopia in 1954 without its population’s consent or the treaty between the British imperial rule and the Somali chiefs and elders.

ONLF was formed after the defeat of Somalia in the Ogaden war (1977-1978). The group were diplomatically active in several countries, period between early 1980s to 1990s beforeTigray people’s Liberation Front (TPLF) toppled the former President of Ethiopia, the socialist military Dictator , Colonel MengistuHailemariam, with the help of Eritrean revolution, or Eritrean People’s Liberation Front.

In the 1991, ONLF established its offices throughout Ogaden territory for the first time since its formation as a political party, but forced out by the TPLF after Ogaden’s democratically elected parliament in the Somali region’s history that survived only 2 years’ service in Ogaden , had overwhelmingly voted for independence referendum.

Ethiopia, which is one of the most brutal and violent nation in Africa passed a law to unearth ONLF, by killing mayors of the provinces and districts, assassinating religious scholars and prominent elders, arresting and detaining members of MPs as well as sacking the first legitimate Somali Ogaden president and his vice-president and then putting them in jail.Then Ethiopia began to mull over the possibility of capturing highly positioned in the ONLF and its former chairman, Ibrahim AbdallahMah, which at least 100 civilians that provided his defense line martyred in Werder, Ogaden region in 1994.

ONLF had no appetite to go war with Ethiopia, but had no other option rather than fighting to the last.

“Ethiopia’s transitional charter said that any nation under its rule can secede from it at will, and that gave us hope, but when we demanded our rights to self-determination, the current Ethiopian regime declared a war on us, and forced us to enter with her a bloody war,which was not our agenda at then, as we had limited bullets and ammunition  as well as resources. Except a will to pursue our God-given rights to decide our fate”, reads ONLF chairman’s speech, Mohammed Omar Osman.

Despite being unprepared and without military mobilization to counter the Ethiopian aggression on ONLF members , the group shut down all its offices and left behind them squarely to make a longer, bloodier, and harder war with Ethiopian troops stationed in Ogaden region that continues to the present to liberate Ogaden.

“We were brooding about two options within a short time period : To surrender,which is to recede and vacuous  or to resist the Ethiopian sordid ambition ,we had to select the latter, which was the toughest decision that the group has ever made”, Said Mr. Osman in his speech.

The ONLF worked to establish both military servicemen and die-hard supporters that mobilize the Ogaden communities inside and outside of the Ogaden region.

The ONLF’s military victory over Ethiopian soldiers in most battlefields, largely because of its war skilled tacticians of residues of WSLF among its fighters and the terrain that is good at guerrilla warfare attracted many Somali people in the region whom devoted to be subservient to ONLF by espousing the ogaden cause.

“We were strengthened by our people’s dedication to our cause, that is why, we underlined to continue the armed struggle till Ogaden is liberated from Ethiopian occupation.To build the ONLF muscles both its military service and diplomatic personnel and to mobilize, strengthen, and enhance self-enrichment of members within our society. And God’s help to pursue a policy based on self-reliance”, it said.

ONLF’s strong correlation with Ogaden population unnerved Ethiopian regime which its military and decision-makers came up with a plan to stop ONLF’s incremental change.She assembled elders informing to quit their sons in the ONLF military service or to meet the consequences, but such intimidation and punishment  threat do not deter more and more people to join the Ogaden National Liberation Army,or ONLA voluntarily.

Ethiopia’s regime planed the 3rd attempt to crash ONLF, it called for the first peace talks between ONLF and Ethiopia to start inside Ogaden-with the help of existing institutions in Ogaden region. But Ethiopia’s deceitful plan was to persuade ONLF to disarm itself or to kill them all.

“When Ethiopia could not persuade us to disarm ourselves, telling us that we are not different from the rest of Ethiopia under its colony,it did not kill the negotiators only,but also undertook a crackdown of hunting officials, members and entire society. It was the hardest time the group have ever faced, according to the dire straits that the group within at then, it was narrowly escaped to collapse.”

The Chairman’s speech was long. He mentioned present situation of the Front inside and outside. He also mentioned the present requirements to continue the struggle and how to thwart the Ethiopian Plots. He concluded by demanding from the International world and those who admire liberty and Justice to intervene in part of stopping Ethiopia’s scorched- earth-policy towards Ogaden people.

Finally, The Chairman called upon the International community to look for the Ogaden issue and ask Ethiopia to halt the Ogaden genocide which is one of the worse in the World that is not covered. There are 100,000 refugees and displaced people in neighboring refugee camps and in Ogaden, but unfortunately, the mainstream media and diplomats won’t touch the story.

The chairman warned the oil corporations to get involved in Ogaden genocide by supporting Ethiopian government ethnic cleansing and terror to get their hands on the sizable oil reserves. ONLF and the Ogaden people will not permit till they exercise their God-given rights for the stealing of their natural wealth .

The chairman made clear that Ethiopia is not ready for comprehensive talks to end this conflict peacefully and will never succeed to end through war and genocide.

“ONLF’s door is open and ready to sit with Ethiopian government to resume the peace-talks in order to achieve peace, justice and  stability in the Horn of Africa and to quit the blood-shed, therefore, we again call upon the international Community to do its responsibility for doing something about the Ethiopia’s  problems in Ogaden region.”



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