Ethiopia’s rebels deny woyanne’s claims of defeat – NAIROBI (AFP)

May 23rd, 2008 Print Print Email Email

Ethiopia’s Ogaden rebels on Friday scoffed at government claims they were losing their battle and charged that Addis Ababa was attempting to divert world attention from a spiraling famine.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi on Wednesday claimed that 95 percent of rebels in the Ogaden, an oil-rich region populated by ethnic Somalis, had been killed or captured.

But the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) laughed off the claim as “a sign of the level of desperation the current regime has reached in dealing with the realities in the Ogaden.” (more…)

Ethiopia’s Ogaden rebels on Friday scoffed at government claims they were losing their battle and charged that Addis Ababa was attempting to divert world attention from a spiraling famine.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi on Wednesday claimed that 95 percent of rebels in the Ogaden, an oil-rich region populated by ethnic Somalis, had been killed or captured.

But the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) laughed off the claim as “a sign of the level of desperation the current regime has reached in dealing with the realities in the Ogaden.”
“ONLF is stronger and more effective than ever and is capable of launching operations at will, when and where it wants,” the rebel group said in a statement received by AFP in Nairobi.

The Ethiopian army launched a crackdown in Ogaden after ONLF rebels attacked a Chinese oil venture in April 2007 that left 77 people dead.

Access to the area has been largely denied to humanitarian groups and journalists, sparking international concern over the fate of its estimated four million inhabitants.

“These utterances of Meles are PR exercises intended to divert attention from the fact that millions of Ethiopians are facing famine and hunger,” the ONLF said.

According to the United Nations, 3.4 million Ethiopians require food aid in southern and central regions as a result of a devastating drought.

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