Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF): From Unilateral Ceasefire to the Vantage Point of the Somali Region

Share This Post



January 29, 2019


By: Abdiaziz Ali


ONLF has been in the jungle for the last decades with the aim of creating an independent state in Ethiopia’s southeastern Ogaden territory, which is inhabited by almost 7 million ethnic Somalis. This play did not bring any fruit back home and they wanted to change the tune and introduced new play for the next decades.


The ONLF “declared Unilateral ceasefire on August 12, 2018, that and will later cease all military and security operations directed against the Ethiopian Security Apparatus in the Somali territory (Ogaden), until a negotiated comprehensive ending of hostilities is reached with the Ethiopian government,” said the rebel group.


Some elites that look the politics in this region named this an expected move of Unilateral ceasefire for almost decades of a jungle, is based on taking the advantage of the region’s political vacuum at that time when things fall apart on August 4, 2018. Whilst, some beliefs like the ONLF declared a unilateral ceasefire pointing to the call for peace by the Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. I wish to do the same, If I have been out of the region for a while and wanted to take the vantage point by any means, this time would have been my opportunity any other time too.


In late October 2018 when two sides of Ethiopian Government led by Workneh Gebeyehu and Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) led by Admiral Mohamed Omer Osman met in the Eritrean Capital, Asmara for meaning full business for the People of the Somali Region.  According to a statement from ONLF at that time, said ‘’the two sides have reached a historical agreement regarding the political rights of the people from Somali Regional State and genuinely addressing the root causes of the conflict between ONLF and the Ethiopian government’’


With the derivative of the above, early January, the General Secretary of ONLF Abdirahman Sheikh Ak Maaday, held a press conference in Jigjiga, the Somali Regions’ Capital City, that ONLF will find its Solution of the Region through peaceful means. Meaning we will search our ambition through election after Decades of a jungle. Parallel to this press again, in another interview that Maaday gave the Ethiopian Media in Addis Ababa, said, if Ethiopia Government cares the Constitutional rights of Somali People, the question of the Separation will not be in an option and I am fan of this narration, not because I am happy with their point but the very norm of a family, where the husband cares the divorce will not be an option and points of working together for future development bases here.


What can we learn from these historic events that came one after one and other? The answer is very simple.


In this different call from Ogaden National Liberation Front(ONLF) from the community to the rebel parties and the incumbent party Of ESDP will make meaning from all these different stallholders.


First, this progress will be seen a perfect for the other army parties who have recently returned to the country like; their sister party of Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and Ginbot Seven. Second, the ONLF message will be a wake-up call if not a headache for the ruling ESDP party who have been enjoying the vantage point of the region for more than two decades. It is on the record that, ONLF won the last election it has Democratically participated. In addition to that, ESDP is aware also about the news of the prominent Dulmidiid youth that is transitioned into a political part and together these parts are bringing new plays into the region may dislodge the ESDP from the Vantage point, if not necessary precaution is done.  


The last third one, this will give the Citizens of the Somali Regions to shift their old model of selection to casting their votes into election model of multiple choices from different parties in the play for the first time and will enjoy a ballot without any man deployed in that room before.  I wish the community are very ready for the change and the region is differed today to what it was last elections.


I am not a member or a fan of the mentioned parties now. But, if it is necessary to appeal my membership any of them, I will need to see their details and join one of them for good. But if I need to cast my vote for one of them, I will wait for their manifestation in 2020 election and will not hesitate to give my vote the one who cares Umusha meaning Delivered woman. Like the Somali saying ‘’ Wixii Umusha Uroon Uunbaa ilmaha Udana’’ meaning what is good for the Delivered women is good for the baby too. So that, what is good for the people I represent y pen is good for me too.


Abdiaziz Ali


Abdiaziz Ali is an Educationist, Humanitarian, Campaigner, and Child Right Advocate. Mr. Ali lives Jigjiga, Ethiopia and can be reached thru [email protected].