Ethiopia removed three opposition groups from its list of “terrorist” organisations on Thursday, the latest sign of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed charting a new course for one of Africa’s most tightly controlled states.
The state-run Fana Broadcasting Corporation said parliament had voted unanimously to remove the “terrorist” label ascribed to the Oromo Liberation Front and the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), two secessionist groups, and the ‘Ginbot 7’.
The Council of Ministers submitted the resolution to the Parliament for ratification last Saturday, after agreeing that such a decision would encourage the groups to use peaceful political discourse to achieve political ends.
Abiy reaches out to gov’ts opponents
Indeed, Eritrean based Ginbot 7 last month suspended armed operations, after it declared that the ongoing reforms had convinced it to return to Ethiopia to pursue a peaceful struggle.
Last week, ONLF’s commander Abdikarim Muse Qalbi Dhagah was released by the Ethiopian government, a few days after it had commissioned extraction of oil in the Ogaden region.
ONLF describes itself as “a national liberation organisation that struggles for the rights of the Somali people in Ogaden and has no involvement whatsoever in Somalia’s multifaceted conflict at all.”
A delegation of the United Oromo Liberation Front (UOLF) led by Brigadier General Hailu Gonfa and Aba Nega Jara arrived in Addis Ababa on Sunday to engage in a peaceful struggle.
Abiy who took office in April has reached out to several opposition groups and critics of the previous administration, asking them to engage and support ongoing political and economic reforms.