Guji Abba Gada leaders designate Shene armed group as “enemy of the Oromo people”

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The Aba Gada leaders of the Guji-Oromo people, an ethnic Oromo subgroup who inhabit southern Ethiopia, have declared the Shene-Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) – a group that operates in the bushes of Southwestern Ethiopia as an “enemy of the Oromo people”. The Aba Gada, the religious leaders of Guji, the most powerful age-set group, designated the armed group as ‘enemy of the Oromo people’ blaming it for carrying out a series of recent attacks against civilians that left many innocent people dead.

Earlier, the Borana Abba Gada leader, Kura Jarso, also declared the group as “enemy of the Oromo people”.

Last year, the Ethiopian government designated the OLF-Shene as a “terrorist” organisation, along with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front TPLF after several attacks in different parts of the country targeting civilians and public infrastructure over the past couple of years.

In mid-August this year, the Shene-Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) announced an alliance with TPLF.

The traditional leaders had condemned the militant group, saying “An Oromo who kills another Oromo is an enemy,” Gilo Mando of the Guji Aba Gada told the BBC Afaan Oromo.

Over the past three years, life has been particularly challenging in Guji area and there is no justification whatsoever for the group to kill innocent people,he said. “Shene says it is fighting for the Oromo people. If it is really fighting for the Oromo people, there is no reason why it would kill the Oromo people,” he said.

More than 2,000 people have been killed in the past three years in the two Guji zones, Guji Zone and West Guji Zone, according to Abba Geda Gilo Mando.

Abba Geda Gilo, one of the three Guji Abba Gada leaders, “It is not about politics. Oromos should not kill Oromos. What we are saying is whoever kills Oromo is the enemy of the Oromo people. They are decimating the people even though they are fighting for Oromos,” he said.

“Only a week ago 13 people were killed by the group inside a house in the area called Dugde Dawa,” said the Abba Gada. “If the group wants to fight government forces, why would it go about killing innocent people or civilians ?” he asked.

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