Analysis of the Ethiopian government’s claims of military victories against the Ogaden National Liberation Front, ONLF. – Mathaba.net

August 9th, 2007 Print Print Email Email

The Ethiopian government has, for the past two days, come out with widely varied claims of military victories against the Ogaden National Liberation Front, ONLF. (more…)

The Ethiopian government has, for the past two days, come out with widely varied claims of military victories against the Ogaden National Liberation Front, ONLF. Having reporters throughout Ogaden with up to the minute news of the happenings in Ogaden, we attempt to analyze the veracity of these claims by the Ethiopian autocracy and its puppet, hand picked regional administration based in JigJiga.

The Ethiopian administration headed by Mr. Meles Zenawi came out, in a little over a year, with three widely publicized ‘crackdowns’ in Ogaden. This means in almost every six months from February 2006 up to June this year, the Ethiopian regime announced a new Ogaden ‘crackdown’ with a different objective be it the one announced in February 2006 with the grandiose plan of ‘wiping’ out ONLF or the latest one announced in June 10th this year which had the modest objective of ‘containment’ of ONLF.

One of our senior reporters in Jig Jiga, a fellow with an intimate knowledge of the inner workings of the Ethiopian administration and one with impeccable sources, confirmed that the final report he had seen which was prepared for and delivered to Zenawi regarding the February 2006 military ‘crackdown’ concluded in no uncertain terms that almost every military objective of the February plan ended up in abject failure.

He added that the report in particular pointed to the loss of the twenty-six highest ranking military personnel leading the February 2006 ‘crackdown’ as a highly visible example of the failure of the military operations carried out against ONLF. Furthermore, our senior reporter, said that the report was harsh on the Ethiopian military and the leaders of the so-called local administration on not being able to claim the loss of a single high ranking ONLF military official while most of the Ethiopians leading the February crackdown were lost of all things in a single hit on a military helicopter that was transporting them to a town that was said to have been cleared of ONLF months earlier.

Having failed in the February 2006 plan and one that was quietly announced in late Fall of the same year, the Ethiopian regime were said to have been roused from self-induced hibernation by the successful ONLF military strikes that took place in Cobole early May this year. Having awakened to an ONLF might they might not have foreseen, the Ethiopian government announced the June 2007 ‘crackdown’ in a press release read by none other than by Mr. Zenawi himself.

A source close to the Ethiopian prime minister’s office intimated to one of our Addis Ababa reporters the fact that ‘containment’ was the goal of the latest ‘crackdown’ was testament to the realization by the Ethiopian military that the current Ethiopian military was not capable of dislodging ONLF from a single town let alone from the whole of Ogaden.

This source added that the failure of the latest crackdown to make any headway resulted in the direct targeting of the Ogaden civilians with blockades, mass detentions, as well as extra judicial killings. This source concluded that the Ethiopian leadership did not account for in it’s planning the possible publication of the widespread atrocities that might result from the deliberate targeting of the Ogaden civilians. The Addis Ababa source added that the Ethiopians never expected the Ogaden issue to make headlines in the West and specifically end up in the United States Senate floor as it did.

Many of our sources within the Ethiopian government as well as our reporters throughout Ogaden all agree that the latest claims of military victories with no evidence of any prisoners and no mention of actually when and where in Ogaden were these victories against ONLF achieved is meant to drown out the outcry of the atrocities being reported from Ogaden.

It is also meant our sources said to change the topic from Ogaden atrocities to possible Ethiopian military victories against the enemy that the Ethiopian government classifies as a ‘terrorist’ organization. When we asked our reporters and their sources whether there is any veracity to the fluctuating claims of a high casualty rate of ONLF being reported by the Ethiopian military, it was poignant to hear the following from a highly placed source within the Ethiopian premier’s office:

The number of 200 dead ONLF soldiers reported by the Ethiopian ministry of defense yesterday is correct in a way. It is not actually ONLF soldiers, per se, that were killed but this is an initial count of the number of Ogadens be they herders, grocers, children or elders that were documented to have been killed by the Ethiopian military in the past two months. As to the five hundred plus that were today reported captured by the regional administration, this is also correct in a different way. This is a partial list of the number of civilians that have been detained so far in many parts of Ogaden by the Ethiopian military. These civilians have been accused without any evidence of being ONLF ‘sympathizers’ whatever that means. To the current Ethiopian leadership an ONLF soldier or an Ogaden civilian accused of being an ONLF ‘sympathizer’ are considered one and the same hence this latest claim.

In conclusion, since we have been able to report any major military engagement, or series of military skirmishes between ONLF and the Ethiopian military that may resulted such a high casualty rate, we are confident that there is no truth to the claims of military victories by the Ethiopian government. It is apparent from our analysis that the Ethiopians are engaging in misinformation missives to deflect attention away from the Ethiopian army brutalities that have been reported in Ogaden.

The fact that there is no mention of when and where the reported victories took place, coupled with the lack of presentation of a single ONLF prisoner or dead soldier further lends credence to the information provided to us by our highly placed sources within the Ethiopian administration.

Ogaden Online Staff

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