The Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) rebel group of Ethiopia’s Ogaden region has reportedly split into two factions over disputes on the death of ONLF leader Mohammed Sirad Dolal. A Senior leader Abdiwali Hussein Gas declared a new ONLF chairman.
Dolal was a rival of the current ONLF chairman Mohammed Omar Osman and he was assassinated by Ethiopian security forces, allegedly with substantial assistance from agents inside warring Ogaden sub-clans.
The ONLF and human rights groups have long accused the Ethiopian government of using local Somali clan militias against the heavily armed ONLF fighters instead of using trained police force.
Abdwali appointed Salahudin Ma’ow as the new ONLF chairman and declared that he will « bring Mohammed Omar Osman to court » for breaking up the ONLF, according to the Puntland media Garowe quoting BBC Somali sources. Abdwali is relatively known in some parts of the Oromo community for seeking better collaboration between Oromo and Ogaden separatist forces, particularly attempts to work with Muslim Oromo groups against what he labeled as « colonial Ethiopian empire. »
The Ethiopian government and the ONLF have accused each other of human rights abuses in an ongoing violence that have intensified since April 2007.