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News: Gambella Liberation Front returns 195 combatants to pursue peaceful politics after agreements inked in Juba, Addis Abeba: regional state

Members of the Gambella Liberation Front (GLF). Photo: Gambella regional state Press Secretariat office

Addis Abeba – The armed rebel group Gambella Liberation Front (GLF) brought in 195 members to the Gambella region to pursue “peaceful political struggle” following peace talks held in Juba, South Sudan, and in Addis Abeba, the regional state said.

According to Gembella regional state President Umod Ujulu, the armed group returned its members to the region after a call for peace was conveyed through the Ethiopian Embassy in Juba. As a result, a delegation consisting of the leaders of the region and military officers of the Ethiopian Defense Forces were in Juba in February for talks.

During a joint discussion held in Juba and Addis Abeba, “an agreement was reached for the armed group to enter the country peacefully,” the regional state further said, without providing further details on the agreement.

Accordingly, the members of the group have peacefully handed over their weapons to the state government and subsequently a rehabilitation training will be provided to the armed groups on various subjects.

The president of the region further stated that the rehabilitation program will help members of the armed group engage in “peaceful development activities,” and that the regional state government will pay attention to the group to be engaged in various fields of work after completing rehabilitation.

The regional state quoted Gatluwak Bum, Chairman of the GLF as saying that 195 members of the group arrived in Gambella to pursue peaceful struggle.

Brigadier General Dawit Woldesenbet, head of the military attaché office of the Ethiopian Embassy in South Sudan, also confirmed the group arrived in Gambella. The Br.Gen Dawit, also commented that political power can only be held through elections according to the country’s constitution, and the group’s “abandonment of armed struggle and preparation for peaceful struggle shows its commitment to peace.”

On 14 June 2022, in a joint operation they conducted, members of the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) and GLF militants took control of Gambella city, the regional state’s capital, for several hours which led to deadly clashes with the regional Special Forces, regular police, militias and federal police, government security forces who eventually retook the city.

The aftermath of event led to a widespread extrajudicial killings of civilians by regional state security forces, according to a report by the state rights watchdog EHRC. The regional government rejected the report initially but has since prosecuted high level officials, including Tut Kor, the former deputy commissioner of the Gambella regional police commission, for alleged involvement in the killings. AS

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