Twelve members of the Oromia region special police force and militia forces were reportedly killed in the region as the militant group, calling itself the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA), launched an ambush attack.
The Ethiopian Media Service, based abroad, cited eyewitnesses from the area where the attack occurred. The incident took place on Monday of this week in Kore, located in the Guji zone, specifically in the Tifate locality.
Mohammed Kitamo, Head of Tifate Kebele, informed EMS that “Shene killed them.” “Shene” is the term government officials use to refer to the militant radical ethnic Oromo nationalist group, known as “OLA.” Additionally, he mentioned that Defense Force members were not deployed to the area.
Gezahegne Endashaw, a staff member at Kele Primary Hospital and a health professional, verified the killings and informed EMS that nine of the bodies were brought to the hospital on Monday evening. Two other wounded security forces were also admitted. He added that the bodies were not taken to the hospital for a post-mortem examination; instead, they were loaded onto a vehicle, which remained at the hospital overnight. However, three bodies were laid to rest in the same town. Gezahegne also confirmed that the bodies he saw on the vehicle and the two wounded officers were wearing the uniforms of the region’s special police force and militia.
Reports of a mediation effort for the third round of talks between Shene and the federal government emerged this week. Local sources indicated that the United States’ special envoy to the Horn of Africa, Mike Hammer, is said to be in talks with the militant group to facilitate the discussion. During an interview on the occasion of the 88th anniversary of the Ethiopian Air Force in December 2023, Defense Chief of Staff, Field Marshal Berhanu Jula, announced that there would be one final round of talks with the OLA.
OLA is believed to be the military wing of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and has been operating in the Oromia region since Abiy Ahmed’s administration invited all armed opposition groups to the country after taking power in 2018. OLF is linked to the massacre of tens of thousands of ethnic Amhara civilians and kidnappings in the Oromia region. A few years ago, OLF declared that the military wing is no longer under the OLF organization.
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