The 24 Victorious Points Achieved by ONLF By Haaji M/Rashiid Aw Macalim (Translated by Ali Yare)
When I took the pen to write this piece of writing, I was interested in finding more information about the agreement between Somalia and Ethiopia in 1988. I immediatelyresearched my question onGoogle, however, I was unable to get the answer that I was looking for except brief stories about the former Somali president, Mohamed Siyad Barre and MengistuHayle Maryam, the ousted Ethiopian president who were leading the two regimes in Mogadishu and Addis Ababa respectively. I found out that the agreement was forced by the pressure of the two oppositions groups from each other. Each president was supporting financially and militarily the other’s opponent. Ethiopia was under well-organized military campaign from Eritrean freedom fighters and Western Somali Liberation Front by backed by Siyad Barre. During this time, I myself lived in one of the big cities in Ogadenia and I still rememberEthiopian president, Mengistu asking formoney and manpower from Ogaden people. On the other hand, Somalia had its problems because there were two groups, one from the Northern and one from the EasternSomalia who were financed by Ethiopia regime waging guerrilla waragainst the Siyad Barre’s authority. Therefore, in order to reduce the political and military pressure from the rebel movements against their regimes, the two presidents inked an agreement in 1984.
unfortunately, the Ogaden region and its people who were under Ethiopian occupation were not included in the negotiations process nor the final agreement and that was one of the darkest history that Ogaden people have been through. It was clear betrayal of the Somali authority to the Somali Ogaden people. Each president was struggling against the army revolts against their regime and realized that unless urgent agreement is reached, they would lose the power. Their only intention was to save their regimes from collapse without considering the long term effect of their action.
This agreement between Somalia and Ethiopia seen as a betrayal by the Somali Ogadenpeople strengthened Ogaden nationalists’ view of disengaging theWSLF’s (Western Somali Liberation Front) political system from the Somali Republic’s one. The disappointed Ogaden politicians, scholars, WSLF youths and armed wing group who were fighting to remove the Ethiopian occupation forces from Ogadenland started to come up with an alternative way in which they wanted to at least minimize or stops Somali interferes in their movement’s internal affairs.Six Cadre from WSLF who lived abroad and believed that the Somali regimes misled the direction of the movement founded ONLF in 1984. These six individuals who created ONLF secretly 4 years before the agreement became effective looked like as if they had known that this agreement would have come one day.They evaluated where the political winds of Horn of Africa was blowing and reacted accordingly.
In summary, the two regimes are gone and ONLF took advantage of their collapse because it got a chance to communicate to its people directly. There was always barrier between the honest Ogaden freedom fighters and their people before these regimes were removed from the power. Somali republic readership as well as some other interest groups did not want to see them talking to one another face to face.The first two years that the Woyane (Tigrean rebel) was in the powerdeceiving the people with their falsehood democratic system, the ONLF was propagating to the different section of the society with their ideology for self-determination, and they were able to produce the current hard core members of ONLF.
The TPLF’s rotten brain led them to say we will hang all your head families, enlist all your boys by force, rape all your mothers, imprison all your girls doing with whatever we want to dountil we bring you to your knees. However, the ONLF’s response to the TPLF regime was with bullet and stiff resistance. As I mentioned above, I promised that I would present to you 24 victorious points that ONLF achieved since it waged the armed conflict with the Addis Ababa regime.
- The Ogaden National Liberation Front organization made clear to the international communities that the freedom struggle for the Ogadenland is not, was not and has never been a border conflict between Somalia and Ethiopia as some people may think, but a war between Somali Ogaden and the Ethiopian occupation forces.
- ONLF proved that the best way that society could be successful is through unity and self-reliance
- ONLF proved that Ethiopia can be defeated easily through determination and commitment by any well organized groups
- They practically showed that they can sustain 20 or more years of struggle inside their country relying on their community
- ONLF decided to remain and operate inside the Ogaden territory in order to refute the Ethiopian regime’s plan in which it wanted to force them out of the country
- ONLF established training camps inside the country both permanent or mobile to produce freedom fighters continuously
- They created independent media outlets that replaced the needs of the foreign media
- ONLF set a core value of never pursuing vengeance against Somali people in any circumstance to avoid from the traps of the enemy which is to create hostility between ONLF and other Somalis from main land
- ONLF won hearts and minds of the people convincing them the importance of the struggle for freedom
- ONLF stood for the defense of the Ogadenian’s natural resources and they took responsibility of protecting it from the foreign oil company
- They opened 60 community’s offices worldwide which represent for the interest of Somali Ogaden citizens
- They built international relations and actively represented the Ogaden community in many international venues
- ONLF embarrassed the brutal Ethiopian regime in many international gatherings
- They united and mobilized the youth for the common cause and struggle for freedom
- ONLF succeeded in establishing a strong Ogaden women association which unites all Somali Ogaden women who are known to be a backbone of the struggle in Ogaden
- They succeeded in creating well-known religious scholars that support the movement against the colonial power and its puppets
- ONLF joined and became a member of UNPO organization which has heavyweight within the United Nations as well as EU and USA.
- ONLF forced the enemy to sit around the same table with them
- They created peaceful atmosphere and strong bond between Somali people in Ogaden
- ONLF took the lion’s share in organizing the other oppressed Ethiopian communities, uniting under the umbrella of PAFD (People’s Alliance for Freedom and Democracy)
- They exposed all the conspiracies, hidden agenda and obstacles that the enemy used against the freedom movement
- ONLF succeeded in making friends with many countries secretly and publicly
- ONLF became the sole decision maker of its struggle
- With the help of God Almighty ONLF was able to create well-trained army forces with clear strategy and capability