Ethiopian soldiers reportedly battling Oromo Liberation Front rebels in Wollega

Armed wing of Oromo Libertion Front (OLF) reportedly battling with Ethiopian troops in Begi, Wollega region.

Ethiopian troops _ Oromo Liberation Front fight
Google Map on Begi, Wollega, Ethiopia

November 4, 2019

A battle between Ethiopian troops and the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) fighters is reportedly going on in Wollega, Western Ethiopia.

DW Amharic report on Monday cited eyewitnesses from the region who spoke on condition of anonymity said that the fighting between the two parties started about four days ago. The districts of Begi and Qondalla are the war scenes.

Government troops besieged OLF rebels first in what seems to be an attempt to take them captives but the rebels managed to get out of it, and then it changed to a full fledged war, DW Amharic said citing community members in the area.

Residents did not say regarding the number of casualties on both sides except saying that one civilian is killed.

“Government soldiers came to take captive OLF forces but that was possible. The situation changed into war. Community members are experiencing problems because of it. A young man who is identified as Abdi is killed and his body was left in Garjella. But we do not know as to who did it…honestly the situation right now is hard to describe. Those who can afford are abandoning the area with their children and families. It is the poor who have nowhere to go who are getting attacked,” residents in the area reportedly said.

Another resident who said that he lives in Gidami district of Wollega zone said he “heard exchange of fire between the defense force and OLF army” in Haro Dima area.

Qondala district head, Belete Itecha, seems to have a different narrative. “Apart from sporadic provocation by the armed groups, there is no situation that has escalated to war.” However, he confirmed that it is OLF militant wing in the area; they are also called Shene that are engaged in provocative actions. “Sometimes they open war and retreat,” he added.

Oromo region of Ethiopia has become one of the regions in the country that is devoid of security and peace. In other parts of the region, 86 people have been killed due to what Prime Minister Abiy  on Sunday called “conflict between groups”although he was not specific about the identities of the groups. The victims were only identified by their ethnic background and religion in what seems to be is an effort on the part of the prime minister to dismiss the narrative that the violence was ethnic based and also targeted Ethiopian Christian community.

Last month, Oromo Liberation Front opened a brief war in Ataye are,within Amhara regional state of Ethiopia.

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