A radical ethnic Oromo Nationalist group called, calls itself “Oromo Liberation Army”, reportedly entered Nekemte City in West Ethiopia.
In May 2021, the Ethiopian parliament has designated the group as a terrorist organization. It is known to have links and even military cooperation agreements with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front.
Nekemte City is only 330 kilometers west of the capital Addis Ababa.
A resident of Nekemte City told BBC Amharic service, on condition of anonymity, that the rebels entered the city in the early morning of Sunday and an exchange of fire followed.
They opened fire on Ethiopian government soldiers.
Another resident of the city, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed, based on a BBC Amharic report, the entry of the rebel group and its military engagement with government forces.
The group targeted a military base. However, the informants said they are not sure if there was a loss of life.
Regional or zone-level government authorities did not remark on the situation in the city and it is unclear if the group withdrew its force or it continues to occupy it. However, there are rumors that the groups abducted zone-level authorities whose identity is yet to be released to the public.
This is the second security incident in the area in less than a week.
Last week, gunmen entered Gerbe Guracaha and killed a deacon who was in service at the Midre Genet St. Mariam Church. The group also kidnapped 11 other individuals, mostly deacons who were in overnight church service.
The whereabouts of the kidnapped are yet unknown.
The radical wing of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) extensively operates in the Oromo region of Ethiopia – especially in the western part- where it massacred tens of thousands of innocent civilians mostly from ethnic Amhara communities.
There were reports that the government carried out drone strikes in selected areas in the region targeting rebel groups.
Oromo Federalist Congress – one of the largest ethnic Oromo political parties – criticized the government over the drone strikes. It even made claims that the strikes are also targeting civilians.
The party has called on the Federal government to negotiate with the designated terrorist group operating in the region.
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