Ethiopia to rehabilitate 1,000 Oromo Liberation Front soldiers

UPDATED: Over 1,000 soldiers of the armed Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) in Ethiopia brought in to government camps for rehabilitation.

The decision came following the latest agreement the former rebel group leaders have reached with the federal government and the regional state of Oromia.

The team organized from both sides have brought in the soldiers from selected 12 zones and 22 weredas (districts) in Oromia Region, according to the peace mediators who briefed journalists last night along with representatives from both sides.

The the OLF is one of the rebel groups in Ethiopia that have accepted the call of the reformist Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to abandon the arm struggle and start peaceful political discourse. It is estimated that the OLF has a few thousand soldiers.

Meanwhile, not long after the group came home from Eritrea with its hundreds of soldiers, its leaders began expressing their disappointment by the federal government for not keeping its promises. On the other hand the federal government has been claiming that the agreement reached with OLF is similar with the agreement the government has reached with other rebel groups, which is the full disarming of all former fighters with ultimate objective of integrating them into the society after giving rehabilitation training.

But reports from West Wellega in Oromia Region of Ethiopia have been indicating that armed gangs who claim to be members of the OLF have been engaged in killing and abducting officials and burning some villages.

To calm the growing tension between the federal government and the OLF, a few weeks ago elders and respected Oromo leaders such as, Abba Geddas have mediated the two sides. The decision of OLF fighters to put their arms down and enter government camp has come as a result of the mediation.

Though the ultimate goal of the OLF was not clear at the moment, initially the group was established several decades ago to establish an independent Oromo nation.