Rebels accuse Ethiopia of killing 54 civilians in Ogaden
Tuesday 23 December 2008 03:00.
December 22, 2008 (ADDIS ABABA) – The rebel Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) accused the government troops of killing about 54 people in attacks on two villages in the Somali region of south-eastern Ethiopia .
The ONLF claimed in a statement issued two days ago that the Ethiopian army committed a "wanton massacre in the village of Mooyaha near the town of Ararso 50 Km north west of Dagahbur, Ogaden on the 17th of December 2008." The group further said more than 50 other people were wounded in the attack.
Rebels in Ethiopia’s volatile south eastern denied have any presence in Mooyaha village. They also accused the government of sealing off the area and working to eliminate the evidence of the collective killing.
The group also said that the Ethiopian army further killed six civilians in Galalshe town near Fik, on the same day.
The rebel group urged the United Nations to send a fact finding mission to investigate the killing as well as to relieve the affected population.
Last November the Ethiopian government published a report dismissing accusations about a report published last June by the HRW saying that Addis Ababa had committed war crimes in Ogaden region.
But the rights watchdog renewed its call for the Ethiopian government to cooperate with an independent team to probe the crimes of Ogaden and to address "growing concerns over the human rights and humanitarian situation in Somali Regional State."
ONLF was formed in 1984 in ethnical Somali region on Ethiopia’s border with Somalia. Its aims have varied between full-scale independence to joining a "Greater Somalia" to more autonomy within Ethiopia for a region it says is neglected.
Addis Ababa used to accuse its Horn of Africa foe Eritrea of supporting the Ogaden rebels and hold them responsible for a number of attacks.