Ethiopian Government could sign a 3rd peace agreement with an Ogaden rebel faction


Ethiopia is set to witness the third consecutive peace agreement with a rebel faction after a bloc of the outlawed rebel group, the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), returned to Ethiopia seeking peace talks with the Ethiopian government, a move that could decisively bring peace to parts of the South eastern region in the Somali Regional state. The region had been plagued by an intermittent insurgency which had wrecked havoc in the area at times.
The ONLF, formed in 1984, says it’s fighting for the marginalized and neglected people of the arid region who are mainly pastoralists bordering the war-torn Somalia and who, for years, had been effectively cut off from development opportunities and activities evident in other areas of the country. The rebel group has been waging an ineffective low intensity conflict in the area. Several companies, including Chinese, Canadian and Malaysian firms have been granted exploration rights by the Ethiopian government to search for oil and gas in the area. 
Abdinur Abdulaye Farah, the group’s representative in East Africa, had earlier told Reuters that his faction was in the Ethiopian capital hoping to hold talks with the government.
He also stated that there are few people supporting the rebels’ insurgency currently and that most people want peace.
Farah’s group, which previously was under the umbrella leadership of former Somali navy chief, Admiral Mohamed Omar Osman, had tried to negotiate with the Ethiopian government in Kenya’s capital Nairobi, but the talks failed in October, when the rebels declined to accept the constitution and give up their armed struggle.
This, however, was not the first ONLF faction, or rebel group operating in the Somali Regional state who has sat down for serious negotiations with the Ethiopian government.
In 2010, a separate rebel group called the Western Somalia Liberation Front (WSLF) widely believed to be the reincarnation of the Somali militant group “Al-Itihad Al-Islamiya,” which had tried to launch deadly bombing and assassination attacks in Addis Ababa and regional cities like Dire Dawa in the 1990s and failed, had signed a peace agreement with the Ethiopian government.
Another, separate ONLF faction, led by Salaheedin Abdurahman, which claimed to represent 80 percent of the ONLF fighters operating in the region, had also signed a peace deal with the Ethiopian government.
Ambassador Dina Mufti, Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), informed Capital that the arrival of the ONLF splinter faction is an acknowledgment that the residents of the Somali Regional state are benefiting from the area’s development activities. 
He also said the newcomers and their armed fighters could be integrated into the region’s security forces and other state structures, as had happened previously with other rebel groups, to provide them with means of smooth and permanent integration mechanism.