News: OLF “gravely concerned” over safety of Ethiopian nationals in Somalia as tension over Ethiopia-Somaliland MoU escalates

Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) appealed to Somali politicians, scholars, religious leaders, elders, activists etc. in Somalia to protect civilians (Picture:OLF/Facebook)

Addis Abeba – Opposition group, the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) has expressed “grave concern” over escalating tension between Ethiopia and Somalia following the signing of an MoU between the Ethiopian government and Somaliland. 

“We call for calm and understanding from all sides, urging the respect of refugees and civilian citizens on both fronts during these emotionally charged times,” a statement issued on Sunday by the party’s Foreign Relations Office said. “In the past, similar occurrences between these states have repeatedly inflicted enduring wounds on Oromo refugees and civilians.”

The statement came in the backdrop of growing calls and agitations on social media to expel Ethiopian citizens, in particular the Oromo, PM Abiy Ahmed’s ethnic base, from Somalia. 

“It’s crucial to recognize that refugees fleeing Ethiopia, whether Oromos or others, bear no ill intentions toward Somalia. Many, both refugees and non-refugees residing in the proximity, have coexisted, and are closely engaged in trade, farming, grazing, and worship,” OLF conveyed. “In this critical time of heightened political tensions, we implore you to protect Oromo and other Ethiopian refugees residing in Somalia”.

The Party urged the international community, and all neighboring countries to intervene “before significant damage befalls the region” as a result of impending conflict.

The signing of the MoU which grants Ethiopia access to the sea in return for international recognition for Somaliland has caused outrage across Somalia. On 06 January 2024, the Somalia president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud signed a law nullifying the deal

Somalia regards Somaliland as one of its regions and has shown commitment to protecting its sovereignty, whereas Ethiopia said the deal does not violate any laws or international norms, noting that other countries have also pursued economic partnerships in the region. AS

Editor’s Note: This news is edited to correct Oromo Liberation Front’s (OLF) name which was erroneously put as ‘Oromo Liberation Army (OLF)” in the earlier version. We regret any inconvenience this may have caused.

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