The Ogaden is Ethiopia’s dark, dirty secret. It is far from prying international eyes, where almost anything can be done to anyone the government does not like.
The Ogaden was conquered and forcibly incorporated into Ethiopia by Emperor Menelik II in the last quarter of the 19th century. Its Somali speaking, almost exclusively Muslim community, never really accepted an Ethiopian identity. In 1977 it was the scene of an international conflict, as Somali President Siad Barre attempted to wrest the region from Ethiopia. The Soviet Union poured arms and Cuban troops into Ethiopia and the invasion was halted. The Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) has been fighting the Ethiopian government since 1995, and local people have been caught up in the conflict. Read more…