By Abdi Biyenssa @ABiyenssa
Addis Abeba – Four civilians lost their lives during clashes between government forces and Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) in the Sulula Fincha district of the Horroo Guduruu Wallagga Zone on 20 November, 2023.
The conflict, which took place around Fincha Sugar Factory, was described as a “fierce war” by an anonymous employee of the factory.
The casualties have been identified as Bayisa Merga (50 years old), Tolani Alemayehu (37 years old), Lemi Diriba (35 years old), and Dofe Olana (50 years old).
According to the employee, three individuals tragically lost their lives in the Shibo Gibi area as they were returning from work. Lemi Diriba lost his life in the parking lot of the bus station in the area. The fatal outcome occurred during a confrontation that escalated into gunfire between the two sides.
A senior manager at the Fincha Sugar Factory confirmed the regrettable civilian casualties but expressed a more positive outlook by highlighting the improved security situation in the district since last Tuesday. The manager expressed confidence that the factory would be able to continue its operations without disruption as normalcy gradually returns.
The conflict between the federal government and OLA in Sulula Fincha district erupted during their negotiations, which began on 07 November, 2023. Initially, there were hopes of bringing an end to the five-year militarized conflict in the Oromia region. Unfortunately, the talks have now failed to reach an agreement for the second time.
Yesterday, the federal government made an official announcement declaring that the talks, which were being held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, concluded without an agreement. This came after a series of reports highlighting a stalemate over crucial substantive issues in the peace talks. The discussions had initially commenced with senior military officials from both sides.
In response, the OLA confirmed the collapse of the talks and blamed the Ethiopian government, accusing it of prioritizing the co-optation of OLA leadership instead of addressing the underlying problems fueling the country’s seemingly insurmountable security and political challenges. AS