Oromo Liberation Front Military Wing leader says they have not yet started fighting alongside Tigray People’s Liberation Front fighters in the same war front
The militant wing of Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) on Wednesday announced that it has formed an alliance with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).
The Oromo Radical Group, which the Ethiopian government linked to the massacres of thousands of civilians in the Oromo and Benishangul Gumuz regions, told the Associated Press (AP) the only way to resolve the problem in the country is to remove the current government.
Kumsa Driba, also known as Jal Mero, who is said to be Oromo Liberation Front army commander, said for that to happen, we have formed a military alliance with Tigray Forces.
The alliance is formed with the principle of “fighting common enemies together.”
The two organizations have a history of military and political alliance which did not go well. A little before Colonel Mengistu Hailemariam’s government was toppled, the two organizations forged an alliance, but did not last.
Oromo Liberation Front fell out with Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) barely a year after the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front, which was dominated by TPLF, took power in 1991.
Soon after that, the half a century old radical Oromo political organization had to flee from Ethiopian power center to lead a brief guerrilla activity in the South East and South Western part of Ethiopia. It did not last long as it faced a devastating defeat from the TPLF led government.
The military defeat was followed by “legal action” on the part of TPLF and OLF was outlawed as a “terrorist organization.” The upshot was that the TPLF government brutalized thousands of ethnic Oromos on grounds of being either OLF or OLF sympathizers, to the point that Seye Abraham, former TPLF military commander and Minister of Defense, remarked “prison facilities speak Oromo language.” He was putting in context the number of ethnic Oromos arrested in connection with OLF.
OLF military commander, Jal Mero, told the Associated Press that his forces are not currently fighting along with TPLF in the same front. However, he hopes that the day will come to do that.
He is also cited as saying that they are having conversation with other political forces, unspecified in name, that are opposing PM Abiy Ahmed’s government. OLF has a presence in the Benishangul Gumuz region of Ethiopia, where rebels from the region are operating.
The TPLF has not yet offered an official remark about the new alliance with OLF. The Ethiopian government is yet to react to it too.
The government has been implicating OLF and TPLF in the massacres in different parts of Ethiopia, including one that happened after the assassination of the popular Oromo singer Hachalu Hundessa at the end of June 2020.
Meanwhile, there are unconfirmed reports that OLF forces have blocked roads in Gebre Guracha. If true, that will cut off movement between Addis Ababa and Gojam region of the Amhara regional state.