Armed Groups Killed 12 Special Force Members in Guji,Oromia region of Ethiopia
by Bernabas Shiferaw
May 22, 2020
Addis Ababa – The Deputy Chief of Staff of the Ethiopian Army, General Berhanu Jula had claimed, months ago, that the government was able to defeat and disarm insurgents in Guji zone, Oromia. However, BBC Amharic has reported that 12 members of the regional special force had been shot and killed by insurgents in a fight that took place in Guji two weeks ago.
Like the insurgent group in West Wollega known as “Shene Oneg (OLF),” the insurgent group in Guji, which calls itself Oromia Liberation Army, was originally the military wing of the Oromo Liberation Front. And it was these groups who fought with the government for months in the last months of 2018.
Afterwards, peace was negotiated between OLF and the government, and it was announced that OLF agreed to cease armed struggle. Accordingly, the government called on the insurgent groups to put down their arms and submit to government forces.
Some members of the insurgent groups accepted the call and submitted. However, a number of them refused the offer and kept up the fight.
The fighting went on mainly in West Wollega and Guji zones. The government was forced to declare states of emergency in these areas to effectively fight these groups. It was in January of this year that the government announced that it had begun a full blown campaign against the insurgents to wipe them out of these areas. Telecom services were interrupted in the areas following the campaign.
In February, General Berhanu announced three months that the armed group based in Guji zone had indeed been wiped out of the area and that its members had fled to Sololo crossing the border to Kenya.
However, Mr. Malicha Diqa, the deputy governor of the zone has told BBC Amharic that the conflict is still going on in Gumi Eldero, Seba Beru, Goro Dola and Shakiso districts and that it is causing the death of many people and destruction of material property.
In a recent fight between the insurgents and government forces, which took place in Gumi Eldelo district, 12 members of the special force had been killed. Mr. Malicha said that some of the insurgents had also been killed, although the actual number is not known.
The conflict has caused an interruption to the normal flow of life in the area. Many people have been killed by the insurgents accused of “siding with the government.” Others have received threats over their phones.
A force made up of units from the military, the regional special force and the regular police forces is doing the fighting against the insurgents. Mr. Malicha expressed doubts about a peaceful resolution at this point saying, “Things have gone too far for that.”
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