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Prominent historian part of OLA’s negotiation team with Ethiopia

NewsProminent historian part of OLA's negotiation team with Ethiopia

A prominent Oromo historian is part of OLA’s negotiation team with the Ethiopian government.

The negotiation between the Ethiopian federal government and the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) in the Tanzanian island of Zanzibar is on its second day.

According to sources who spoke to the BBC, prominent Oromo Historian, Professor Mohammed Hassen is part of the negotiating team representing the OLA. The rest of the delegation includes Mr. Jirenya Gudata, adviser to the OLA’s central Command; Reverend Benti Ujulu; and Taha Abdi, founding member and former executive committee member of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF.)

The government’s negotiating team includes Gedion Timotheos, Justice Minister; Redwan Hussein, national security adviser; and Kefyalew Tefera, Deputy Director of Ethiopia’s Information Network Security Agency (INSA).

Jaal Marroo the present commander of the Oromo Liberation Army

Previously, the peace talk between the two parties was set to take place in Kenya, but the Ethiopian government did not show up, according to Kumsa Diriba, the commander of OLA, also known by his nom de guerre ‘Jaal Marro’, who talked to the BBC.

Jaal Marro said the OLA is prepared to reach an agreement with the Ethiopian government in the ongoing negotiation in Tanzania “in a way that answers the Oromo people’s political questions.”

“The demand of the Oromo people is not a matter for two or three people to decide. If we are to find a solution, the Oromo people must have a say as well,” he added.

The Ethiopian government under the leadership of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has been engaged in armed conflict against the OLA for the last four years, resulting from disagreements over the demands and rights of the Oromo people in Oromia, Ethiopia’s largest and most populous region.

The Ethiopian government designated the OLA as a terrorist organization alongside the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) in May, 2021. It has since removed the TPLF  from its terror list while the designation on the OLA remains.