- Ethiopia's rebels, Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) have refuted state media reports alleging that a weapons cache displayed by the government belonged to the group.
The state television claimed that the security forces captured four tonnes of chemicals and 7000 rounds of ammunitions, following the voluntary surrender of an ONLF commander last weekend.
“Ethiopia’s claim that it has captured ammunition is an exercise in extreme chicanery by inventing tall stories intended to hide its war crimes in the Ogaden and confuse the international community,” ONLF said in a statement.
According to the statement, the Ethiopian government claimed that it has defeated the group, saying the Front was no longer a threat, but the group said it was surprised with the latest discovery of ammunition.
“Ethiopia constantly parades fictitious ONLF deserters in front of the cameras in order to get some semblance of credibility for it wishful claim of victory against ONLF,” it said in a statement.
The Front said the government is trying to divert attention from mounting loses it is encountering at the ONLF brave combatants and the serious atrocities it is committing in the Ogaden against the civilian population. “The latest such crime was Waraarka Garbodiimo village near Babile Town on 17 October 2009 where the army summarily executed 8 people and wounded many others who were attending a wedding ceremony,” it said.
The statement said the latest accusation by the government, claiming OFNL afficialtion with the radical Somali’s radical insurgent group al Shabaab, was a desperate attempt by the government to fight the group.
“The Meles regime is willing to stoop to cheap and shallow means, in order to try to tarnish ONLF’s stature,” it read.
The ONLF has often warned foreign companies against working in the area, and in April 2007 its fighters killed 74 people at an oil exploration field run by a subsidiary of Sinopec, China's biggest refiner and petrochemicals producer.
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