Abiy Ahmed’s government and the OLF-Shane armed group, which the Ethiopian Parliament designated as a terrorist organization, are reportedly holding their second round of talks in Tanzania.
BBC Amharic, on Wednesday, reported ,citing what it called sources close to the issue, that the talk has been going on for days now. However, the political leaders on the part of Abiy Ahmed’s government do not seem to be taking part.
Military figures from both sides are taking part in the negotiation. But it was not specified who exactly was taking part representing the two groups.
Addis Maleda, a local news source, on Wednesday, reported citing Addis Standard, also a local news provider that is believed to have links with Oromo nationalist groups, that the talk started on Tuesday in Dar Es Salaam. Addis Standard cited “diplomatic sources.”
The source added that Kumsa Driba ( Jal Mero), leader of the OLF Shane, is mainly operating in the Wollega area of Oromia region, and represented the rebel group in the talk. It was said that a third party, unspecified, made arrangements for Jal Mero to fly to Dar es Salaam from the “jungles of West Oromia ”. He was first flown to Dembi Dollo – where more than 17 ethnic Amhara Dembi Dollo University Students, mostly female, were abducted about two years ago. He was flown to Tanzania in a helicopter. About two days ago, rumors were circulating on social media that the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) made the arrangements for him to fly to Tanzania.
Addis Maleda report confirmed, citing Addis Standard, that Workneh Gebeyehu, former senior Oromia region official and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, facilitated Jal Mero’s attendance – apparently in his current role as Secretary of IGAD.
The source further reported that gov’t officials (from the Federal government and the Oromia region), and the representatives from the rebel group had what is said to be a “successful political discussion” for about three weeks before the meeting in Dar es Salaam.
OLF Shane, or Oromo Liberation Army as it calls itself, engaged in armed activity after it entered Ethiopia in 2018 from its base in Eritrea after the Abiy Ahmed administration invited all armed opposition groups to enter the country and struggle “peacefully.” The group is linked to the massacre of tens of thousands of massacres of ethnic Amhara civilians in Wollega region and for numerous kidnappings in the region.
According to a BBC Amharic report, Kenya and Norway were mediators during the first round of talks in Zanzibar. The Key point of disagreement during that round was that the militant OLF-Shane (“Oromo Liberation Army”) demanded the formation of a transitional government by the ruling Prosperity party and other Oromo Nationalist parties. Leader of the Oromo Nationalist Congress Merera Gudina, said, during an interview with Ethiopian Reporter in August this year, that Abiy Ahmed’s government offered Amnesty for the rebel Oromo organization and for any asset acquired during their armed activity to be guaranteed safety by the government.
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