JIGJIGA, Ethiopia Mar 3 (Garowe Online) -
Ethnic Somali rebels fighting for self-determination against Ethiopia's federal government have split into two factions, Radio Garowe reports.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi considers the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) a terror group, although the resistance group has been spearheading a liberation war for ethnic Somalis that predominately inhabit eastern Ethiopia's vast Ogaden region since the early 1990s.
Mr. Abdiwali Hussein Gas, a senior leader of a breakaway ONLF faction, told the BBC Somali Service that a new ONLF chairman has been appointed following the assassination of Mohamed Sirad Dolal by Ethiopian security forces.
"The new ONLF chairman is Salahudin Ma'ow, who will be aided by two deputy chairmen named Col. Hussein Mursal Kahin and Fu’ad Abdulkadir Farah," Mr. Ma'ow said.
He accused Mohamed Omar Osman, the ONLF's well-known chairman, of "inciting the breakup" of the ONLF rebels.
"We will re-organize our forces and bring Mohamed Omar Osman to court," Mr. Gas said.
The late Mr. Dolal was a senior commander of ONLF rebels. He was recently assassinated by Ethiopian agents alongside other ONLF figures.
The Ethiopian government is accused of committing war crimes in the Ogaden region, a vast territory largely under the control of Somali clans.
Foreign journalists and aid agencies operating in the Ogaden region have been repeatedly harassed or silenced by the Ethiopian government, which fears factual reports about the ongoing plight in the Ogaden.
Somalia and Ethiopia fought a bloody war in 1977 as the Somali army attempted to re-capture all Somali-speaking territory that fall under Ethiopia's internationally recognized boundaries.
Source: Garowe Online