Ethiopian Rebels Claim 140 Killings – AP

October 21st, 2007 Print Print Email Email

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) – Ethiopian rebels claimed Sunday they have killed 140 Ethiopian soldiers in the country’s southeast. (more…)

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) – Ethiopian rebels claimed Sunday they have killed 140 Ethiopian soldiers in the country’s southeast.

About 1,000 fighters of the Ogaden National Liberation Front attacked Ethiopian troops on Saturday in a southeastern area of Wardher, about 485 miles southeast of the capital, Addis Ababa, the group said in a statement e-mailed to The Associated Press.

Government officials were not immediately available for comment and it was not immediately possible to independently verify the rebel claims because the area involved is remote.

On Saturday, “a major ONLF military operation involving nearly 1,000 ONLF troops … resulted in over 140 (Ethiopian government soldiers) killed with many more wounded,” the statement said.

“This operation was a direct response to the burning of Caado village recently and the continuing abuses against the people of Ogaden by (government) forces in the Wardher area.”

The Ogaden National Liberation Front has been fighting for greater autonomy for eastern Ethiopia.

The group dramatically escalated its decade-long insurgency when in April it attacked a Chinese-owned oil exploration field, killing 74 workers. Until then, it only made occasional hit-and-run attacks on government troops.

Since the rebels’ April attack, the army has intensified its counterinsurgency operations, which aid and human rights groups say has seen the military burn villages, block aid and trade into the region. The government denies its forces have committed any violations.

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