Oromo Liberation Front

Oromo Liberation Front
Oromo Liberation Front
Adda Bilisummaa Oromoo
Et olf.svg
Dates of operation 1973–present
Active region(s) Mainly Ethiopia, additionally Somalia and Kenya
Ideology Ethnic separatism
Status Outlawed[1] and labeled as a terrorist group[2][3] by the Ethiopian government
OLF symbol

The Oromo Liberation Front (Oromo: Adda Bilisummaa Oromoo), or OLF, is an organization established in 1973 by Oromo nationalists to promote self-determination for the Oromo people against what they call "Abyssinian colonial rule". It has been outlawed[1] and labeled as a terrorist organization[2][3] by the Ethiopian government. Although some observers claim that the OLF has not committed any violent acts since 2002, there are reports that the OLF has increased its activity following the general elections of 2005.[4] The OLF has offices in Washington, D.C. and Berlin from where it operates Amharic and Afan Oromo radio stations.


Ideological base

Flag of the Oromo Liberation Front.

The fundamental objective of the Oromo liberation movement is to exercise the Oromo peoples' right to national self-determination and end centuries of oppression and exploitation. While self-determination for the Oromo people has been the main objective of OLF, the members and leaders of the party have not formed a consensus whether the exercising of self determination by the Oromo people will be in the form of an independent Oromia, or as part of a democratic Ethiopia. But recently, it has taken a clear stance by stating that its goals is to form, if possible, a political union with other nations on the basis of equality, respect for mutual interests and the principle of voluntary associations. OLF had played a major role in the formation of the Transitional Government in 1991 following the fall of the Derg regime. However, OLF left the transitional government, alleging that its members were being intimidated, jailed, and killed in many part of Oromia. Since then OLF has been engaged in low-scale protracted armed struggle against the Ethiopian government.

The OLF believes the Oromo people still are being denied their fundamental rights, still in centuries old of oppression by Ethiopian colonialism. According to OLF, Ethiopian colonialism has been led by Abyssinian Emperors which has been chiefly the Amhara ruling class until it was replaced by a Tigrayan-led government in early 1990s. OLF is one of the many Oromo political organizations in Ethiopia that are committed to the Oromo people who are endowed with the right to decide the type of sovereignty they want to live under and the type of political union they want to form with other peoples.[5]

The OLF believes, that the change in government from the Derg regime in 1991, far from enables the Oromo people and others to realize their fundamental rights. The OLF reiterates the struggle of the Oromo people is not directed against any people but a system of oppression. In fact, the OLF implies that it is committed to the noble cause of laying a foundation for union of free peoples on the basis of their freely expressed will.[6]

OLF policies

On Peaceful Resolution of Conflicts in Ethiopia

OLF says that the root cause of political problems in Ethiopia is the policy of oppression by the former Imperial state of Ethiopia and refusal by the state to respect the rights of oppressed peoples to self-determination. The current Ethiopian government recognizes the right of self-determination of all states in its constitution, but it is accused of placing limitations imposed on the exercise of that right. OLF believes that there is an imperial domination that must be brought to an end in order to bring genuine peace and stability. Thus there is currently a policy of shelving political problems which must cease. The OLF says that it is ready to contribute towards any meaningful effort to reach at a comprehensive settlement to bring peace to all peoples. In the view of the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) another issue with the OLF movement has been the movement's treatment of Oromos who don't support OLF's ideologies. This is part of the reason the EPRDF helped to form an organization called the Oromo Peoples' Democratic Organization. OLF has stated that they do not resent Oromos for being members of the OPDO.

On Armed Struggle

OLF forces retreat into Kenya, February 3, 2006

The OLF states that the protracted armed resistance under the leadership of the Front is an act of self-defense exercised by the Front against successive Ethiopian governments, including the current one, which OLF believes is forcibly denying the Oromo people their right to self-determination. So the OLF armed resistance hopes to target the government's coercive machinery, not innocent civilians. The OLF has an anti terrorism stand and opposes terrorism as means of struggle to achieve the right of the Oromo people. The Organization considers terrorism as act of desperation. So it has a clear and peaceful policy on its actions against civilians in Ethiopia. Therefore, anti-terrorism against civilians remains a core policy of the organization even though OLF has not made a clear distinction between its armed struggle and terrorism acts against current and future Ethiopian governments.[7]

On Religion and Religious Extremism

The Oromo people are followers of three major religions: Islam, Christianity and traditional Oromo religion. The OLF claims to respect religious equality and pursues secular policy. It opposes religious domination and religious extremism of any kind. It believes the composition of its members and supporters among the Oromo people, irrespective of religious divides, is a clear testimony to the organization's correct democratic policy on religion.

On Right of Minorities in Oromia

In Oromia there are minorities who have distinct identity and culture of their own. Some minorities in Oromia are economically, culturally, and politically closely linked with the Oromo people. The OLF recognizes and respects the right of minorities in accordance with internationally accepted principles to develop their culture, administer their own affairs, enjoy equal rights in every field of activity. Just like the current Ethiopian government, the OLF has also undertaken to vigorously work for the full realization of these rights and will take necessary measures to strengthen the bond of fraternity between the Oromo people and minorities in Oromia.

Solidarity with "Oppressed Peoples"

The OLF believes that solidarity and cooperation among the oppressed peoples led by their respective forces is essential for realization of their common objectives of liberation. The organization has been working towards unity of struggle among the oppressed peoples to counter the enemy schemes and reduce the cost of achieving their political objectives of liberation. The OLF believes the alignment of the Ethiopian government with forces resisting genuine change in Ethiopia is posing a real threat to the oppressed and subjugated peoples in the country. The organization declares that there are indications that militaristic and chauvinistic elements who are aspiring to restore the old order are demanding for the reversal of what minimum change Oromo people have achieved through their struggle. It states that the Ethio-Eritrean conflict is going to directly affect the oppressed nations and nationalities economically and in terms of human casualty, and continuation of suppression and violation of human rights by creating pretexts connected with the war situation. The OLF is prepared to revitalize and strengthen previous agreements concluded with some organizations of oppressed peoples and work towards a formation of a platform to co-ordinate and channel their human and material resources to meet the challenge of the day.

Bagalla massacre

In 1998, at Bagalla on the border between Ethiopia and Kenya, 187 people were killed by the OLF.[8] But other sources said as many as 216 Kenyans were massacred by the Oromo Liberation Front and most of the victims were women & children. It was estimated that thousands of herds of livestock were stolen as well as 52 girls abducted. Most of this has led to tougher stance by the Kenyan government against the OLF.[9]

Correction: According to BBC, Kenyan authorities stated Kenyans were involved in the incident.

A quote from the BBC article states "the fighting was sparked when Degodia tribesmen allowed their cattle to graze on Borana land without asking permission. Survivors of the attack blamed Kenyans and Oromos from neighbouring Ethiopia.However, at the time the government denied that OLF rebels were operating inside Kenya.".[10]

Kenyan authorities formally asked Ethiopia to remove their troops from Kenya indicative of Ethiopia's involvement in facilitating violence between communities [11] Ethiopian army consists of Oromo who believe in the Ethiopian doctrine. As a result, some Oromo in the military are just as brutal as Amhara and Tigray towards all including Oromo civilians. It is these groups of people who have allowed Ethiopian Colonialism to survive the Pan African movement.

Alleged OLF attacks on Oromos

According to Human Rights Watch, "OLF kept a number of dissident Oromos in detention" while trying to contain an Oromo opposition during the early transition periods of 1990s.[12] Most of those detained were Oromos living in Jijiga city and these Oromos faced beatings and torture by the OLF militia.[13]

Arba Guugu massacre

In December 1991, Oromo fighters attacked Amhara settlers in the Arsi Zone. According to Human Rights Watch, one hundred fifty-four Muslims, mainly Amharas, were killed by OLF in Arba Guugu. According to University of Minnesota Human Right summary reports, the OLF admitted that its supporters carried the massacre and "killed about 150 Amharas" in the area.[14] Villages were burned and civilians killed in what became a chain of massacre attributed to members of the OLF.[15] It was later known as the “Hidden Massacre of Oromos And Muslims in Arsi.” Human Rights Watch stated in its report that "OLF cadres instigated repeated attacks on Amhara settlers. Villages were burned and civilians were killed. One hundred fifty-four Christians, mainly Amhara, were killed in Arba Guugu, and a further 46 were murdered in a neighboring area of Harerghe."[16]

2005 Election Massacre

Just before the 2005 Ethiopian elections, the Oromo Liberation Front also allegedly killed 400 Oromo Ethiopians.[17] According to the report detailed in James Madison University records, the OLF attacked pro-government Oromos about 1 month before the national elections took place. The Nelson Institute for International and Public Affairs also repeated the details of this issue during a testimony before the United States House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs.[18]

Bodeno massacre

Even though various massacres have been carried by OLF on ethnic Amhara during the 1991-92 transition periods, the Bodeno Massacre was one of the most devastating with around 150 civilian deaths. Most of the victims, ethnic Amharas, were at the wrong end of both ethnic politics and historical animosity.[19] Amhara residents of central and southern non-Amhara regions are often labeled the derogatory word- Neftengas, typically by Oromo supporters of the OLF.[20][21] According to Human Right, in mid-April 1991, most of the Amhara civilians were murdered by OLF and several forced to jump off a cliff.[22] Regarding OLF's role, Human Rights Watch reported, "Some of the worst incidents of violence occurred when Oromo people attacked Amhara settlers in their vicinity."[23]

Rebuttal on Claims of Massacre

The current Ethiopian government refused to publish investigation of Amhara massacre in 1992 at Bedano.[24] The OLF requested the final report, as many believe it was caused by advancing TPLF forces. The same atrocities were committed by TPLF/Ethiopian in Oromo, Ogaden, Gambella and Sidama regions.


Genocide of Oromo.[24][25]

(East Wollega Massacre May 17-18th 2008).[26]

(Bossaso, Puntland Massacre ).[27]

(Massacre of Arsi Oromo at Azul)

(Mutilation of men and women parts at Anole Arsi Oromia).[28]

Ogaden (2006 to 2007 Qabridahare Massacre).[29] (Malqaqa Wanton Massacre).[30]

Gambella Genocide of Anuak (2003 Anuak Massacre).[31]

Sidama (2004 Looqe Massacre).[32]

Alleged terrorist links

The Oromo Liberation Front was not known for its alliance with Arab militants but this was reported in 2006. The OLF's work alongside the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) was notified in various media outlets but it was limited compared to other militant groups in the Horn of Africa. Mail and Guardian online reported that the Somali government captured many OLF rebels alongside the Arab fighters in southern Somalia, who were called upon for a jihad against the Somali and Ethiopian governments.[33]

In early 2007, the U.S. District Court charged Sisaye Dinssa of cash smuggling as well as carrying items on how to use cyanide to commit suicide, information about "nuclear power" and the anniversary of September 11, 2001 attacks. He was also identified of financially supporting the OLF.[34]

OLF in Somalia

Before and during the Somalia Civil war of 2006, OLF was suspected of working with Al-Ittihad, the dominant force behind the ICU. According to BBC reports dating as far back as 1999, OLF and Al-Ittihad were receiving assistance from Eritrea as well as helping Eritrea during the Ethiopia-Eritrea 1998-2002 war.[35] In April 1998, OLF held a congress in Mogadishu electing more militant leadership.[36] Eritrea also supported the Oromo fighters with a ship load of arms and additional 1,500 Oromo fighters being shipped from Eritrea to the south Somalia OLF training center of Qorioli.[37] In July 1999, OLF was stationed at the South Shabelle region and armed by Eritrea in order to fight Ethiopia during the border war. While Eritrea was attacking Ethiopia in the north, OLF managed to attack Ethiopia from the south West region.[38]

However the Ethiopians, allied with the Somalia government temporarly stationed in Baidoa and the Puntland regional troops, attacked ICU and OLF fighters in Southern Somalia. After the Ethiopians and Somali government defeated those fighters in Somalia, Kenyan officials also arrested OLF fighters who tried to cross into Kenya border.[39] In addition, the Somalia government captured the OLF fighters who were supporting the Islamists and their backing Al-Qaeda operatives.[40] OLF fighters who were arrested in Somalia admitted their involvement with the radical Islamists and admitted of being trained in Eritrea. They were noted being part of the 270 Oromo militants of OLF trained in Mogadishu with the Islamists before they were captured.[41] Leaders of the Somali state, while talking about OLF's alliance with Al-Ithad and Al-Qaeda, stated that OLF's destabilizing influence in the horn of Africa should be addressed.[42] Around seven OLF fighters surrendered to Kenyan authorities early in January 2007, in Garissa District.[43] OLF captives also confirmed being deployed in Somalia from Eritrea. Some of the captured fighters stated that they lived in Yemen before joining the Front in Eritrea agitated by a propaganda campaign by OLF radio.[44]

Non-African OLF victims

Most of the victims of Oromo Liberation Front's operations are usually East Africans, ranging from Ethiopians to Kenyan civilians, public officers as well as Ethiopian soldiers and police. However OLF has also killed European nationals in 1995. And also in 1996, citizens of the Netherlands, Germany and France were killed as the OLF planted bombs at two hotels.[45] Yet, non-African OLF victims are very limited and mostly rare.

The Addis Ababa city police accused OLF for killing six people, including one American in May 2008.[46] The OLF has not responded, however it often denies such charges. The US national was killed after a bomb blast in a minibus.

Critics of OLF

Colonial Claims

The OLF established its organization based on a core ideology that the ethnic Oromo people were colonized by non-Oromos and they need to be liberated from that colonization. However, these OLF claims are disputed by many Oromos and virtually all other Ethiopians, including by high level former members of the OLF leadership. While most past leaders of modern Ethiopia are said to be of Oromo descent[citation needed] or of ethnically mixed ancestry, several renowned Oromo chiefs like Ras Gobena are also credited for uniting the warring Oromo communities and establishing the modern boundaries of Ethiopia.[47][48]


One of the major points given by critics of OLF is its anti-Ethiopian foundation. Since the historical evidence regarding Abyssinian colonization and exploitation of Oromos is given by early 20th century European scholars and authors, most Ethiopians and even some Oromo Ethiopians often accuse the foundation of OLF as un-African and un-Ethiopian.[49] The critics suggest that the formation of OLF is the fruit of past European colonization policies of divide and conquer. As the result, the OLF's current position that makes Oromo people victims and makes non-Oromo people privileged and powerful colonizers is condemned by most Ethiopians.

Also the accusations that there has been an Amhara domination of Ethiopia is a proven myth and a propaganda that is used by ethnocentric, militant organizations like OLF. "[50] In fact all ethnicities of Ethiopia have clearly suffered from the un-democratic, extremist governments of the past especially the Mengistu Haile Mariam dictatorship.

Similarly, many believe OLF's choice of using European (Latin) alphabet for its language instead of Ethiopian or African alphabet in the November 1991 OLF meeting, added to the anti-Ethiopian influence of European colonizers on the mission and identity of OLF. Although the use of this 2nd language continues to be appreciated by all Ethiopians who praise diversity, its usage might be one of the factors slowing down Ethiopia's democratization process.


Another argument given by critics of OLF is its impact on the development of Ethiopia. Most critics of OLF imply that various development projects in southern Ethiopia have been suppressed due to the anti-government stances of few OLF supporters and violent OLF rebels in those regions. In fact Oromo elders, Gada leaders, Oromo religious head persons and Oromo political leaders living in Ethiopia collectively denounced the destabilizing role of OLF in Oromia state including OLF's anti-peace and anti development movement and its destructive influence on Oromo university students and vulnerable Oromo youth.[51] Also due to the cooperation of OLF with ONLF and their influence, development plans in the other southern Ethiopia region of Somali have faced big roadblocks including violence against formation of educational facilities[52] and the work of oil firms like the Chinese ZPEB and Malaysian oil firm Petronas.[53] OLF also admitted that it has attacked economic centers in Ethiopia as well as transport routes.[54]

Rebuttal To Claims That OLF Have Few Supporters

Ethiopian Abyssinians have termed Oromo self awareness as counter to the Empire state. As a result, Oromo people and organizations that opposed were targeted as anti unity and subject to torture and death. Ethiopian unity is only in the context of Abyssinians as Southern nations are termed as subjects within Ethiopia's Feudal System. It was documented in Beyond The Headlines Refugees in The Horn of Africa US Committee for Refugees January 1988 publication that the Amhara King Menlek II formed Ethiopian empire after 1888 declaring all land Emperors land. The article expands on Amhara landlords allocated “gult rights” over people like southern nations (including Oromo). They perceived Amhara culture, language and religion as superior to Oromo. Soon after, began a campaign to eliminate Oromo from the map. It was only after 1991 that Oromo language was allowed in public. Previous Ethiopian regimes banned Oromo language and targeted people for speaking Afan Oromo.

Today's version of Abyssinian perceive Oromo as subordinates with the formation of Oromo Peoples Democratic Party (OPDO). The group is controlled by TPLF, even though it defines itself as speaking for Oromo people. Recently, more than 120 OPDO leaders were removed from office by the TPLF.[55] Recent campaign, by OPDO to win support from Oromo in Diaspora resulted in embarrassment as many demonstrated in opposition. There is no evidence of demonstrations against OLF meetings by Oromo.


The OLF's anti-terrorism policy on civilians is widely supported and recommended by all Ethiopians. However the destabilizing and violent military acts of OLF against Ethiopian governments and individual state governments have been condemned by both Ethiopians and the international community. Also the OLF have killed many innocent Kenyan citizens as they move back and forth from the Ethiopian to Kenyan borders. The Institute for Security Studies stated that, "Changes in target selection has led to the assessment that OLF transformed from a revolutionary movement into a terrorist movement."[56] They have had various conflicts with the Kenyan security forces. In one case, they shot dead two Kenyan women in their sleep.[57] The critics of OLF often go back to the offer made by the Ethiopian government to OLF to join the Ethiopian parliament in 1992. The other issue raised is OLF's cooperation with the alleged enemies of Ethiopia including the current Eritrean government which also supports the Islamic courts of Somalia. The Islamic courts of Somalia has been known to burn Ethiopian flags, and have declared a jihad against Ethiopians[58] and plans to establish an Islamic republic in Ethiopia.[59]

The OLF is also accused of terrorizing many spots in Ethiopia. Sources claimed that this group undertook hit-and-run raids inside Ethiopia.[60] Since OLF owns radio stations & offices in other nations like Germany and USA, in response to the terrorist activities of OLF, many of these nations have been urged to address the problem and influence OLF to stop its attacks.[61] As the result of American ministers urging the OLF to try dialogue, various OLF officials have adjusted their policies, but most of them still support armed movement and carrying out terrorist attacks.

Rebuttal To Claims That OLF Tactics Change Deems it Terrorist

The ICC is an institution based in South Africa with offices in Addis Ababa. It is clearly unclear how the terms change in the modus of operandi and target selection as reason for it changing from revolutionary to terrorist. The ICC publication states that OLA targets Ethiopian government forces. Unless resistance is to occupation is terrorist, that assessment is baseless. That same assessment clears the way for all to consider Libyan opposition as Terrorist organization.

Other massacres

In addition to the well-known massacres committed by OLF and its members, the Marsabit Massacre is also mostly believed to be the work of OLF and according to the Africanmonitor, the East African Standard and Kenyan authorities Oromo Liberation Front rebels have played the most significant role in the massacre of many Kenyans in this Northern Kenya region.[62] However OLF has denied most of these allegations. Some Kenyan authorities also claimed OLF militia was involved in many more massacres including at Degodia manyattas at Budhudha, Tulu, Roba and Mudane.[63] In the middle of 2006, OLF also killed four Kenyan civilians and it faced more pressure by the Kenyan government.[64] The Kenyan army in return arrested around 70 OLF militants.[65] Then Marsabit district commissioner Mr. Mutea Iringo said that police officers were missing and Kenyan Army helicopters were patrolling the area. Also in August 2006, in the Wajir district of north Kenya and others, the army was taking out the OLF militia who continued to create chaos in the area. The Kenyan army generals said the OLF rebels were being identified by former OLF members who defected to the government's side.[66] The Kenyan authorities also blamed OLF for arming the Borana raiders that led to the massacre of 72 people.[67] Kenyan MP Bonaya Godana said the OLF has not been completely removed and described the failure of the Kenyan government saying, "Kenyans are yet to see the end to the Marsabit killings unless the Government deals firmly with the Oromo Liberation Front."[68] As the result of the violence in this northern Kenya towns, some schools were forced to be closed for security.[69] One of the resident in this area said the OLF attacks is terrorizing the towns and forced his family to flee; speaking to Kenyan KTN TV,

It has become a weekly ritual - the attacks, he tells us. We don't know what to do. We live in constant fear.[70]

Also according to a Kenyan media source, 142 civilians were killed in early 1998 in Wajir District by the Oromo militia.[71] In addition, according to Kenya's Red Cross, about 10,000 Kenyans fled the violence in these northern Kenya regions.[72]

Historical comparison

Some critics of OLF also compare the movement of OLF to other historical organizations that brought bloody ethnic cleansings and partitioning of land in the Balkan nations of Eastern Europe, particularly Yugoslavia. These regions have had numerous ethnic conflicts that led to the separation of each ethnicities. More importantly the conflicts in these European regions have led to bloodbath with thousands of innocent civilians dead and various mass murders. And since up to 80 different ethnicities exist in Ethiopia, most critics condemn the policies of OLF which can lead to unutterable round of bloody civil wars in every corner of Ethiopia which would last decades and kill thousands to millions of innocent Ethiopian civilians. Thus, critics of OLF declare that history and also rational is against the policies of OLF and any liberation Fronts in Ethiopia, which the critics say are mostly counter-productive policies and violent in nature.

The "Arithmetic of Death"

Other critics of OLF and some intellectuals accuse OLF of manipulating the "Arithmetic of Death" scheme to create propaganda and demean the progress made by peaceful and democratic Oromo political organizations that already exist in Ethiopia. The critics say that OLF rebels often terrorizes people in southern Ethiopia, destroys property, murders innocent civilians and incite Oromo students to cause riots and violence. The critics of OLF say that despite these acts by the OLF, it exploits what Harvard University Professor Alan Dershowitz calls the "Arithmetic of Death" ploy by accusing Ethiopian government of extensively responding to OLF's aggressions by defending the country's law and order or by imprisoning numerous OLF rebels and individuals who incite more violence provoked by OLF. OLF has also accused neighboring country, Kenya, of similar charges of "torturing and killing Oromos" because the Kenyan security forces arrested OLF militants who have raided Kenyan civilians and killing many Kenyans civilians.[73] OLF has often has accused other nations of "Human right violations" after its members committing various human right violations themselves by killing hundreds of civilians in Ethiopia and Kenya. The critics of OLF say this manipulating method has been used to get sympathy from international Human rights organizations in favor of OLF and other armed rebels in Ethiopia. So the critics declare that OLF or any other armed movements in any sovereign nations like Ethiopia and Kenya, have no room to accuse the national governments for lawfully responding to the violence caused by OLF, especially since OLF is known internationally as a terrorist organization.[74]

Other criticism

For many Ethiopians, the issue of OLF is a much more serious issue since it has been the source of violence for many years. However, various ethnically mixed Ethiopians of Oromo and other ethnic heritage often joke on the idea of OLF itself. According to a 1998 interview aired on Ethiopian national TV of Oromo students in Jimma, a major city in the Oromia Region, various students accused OLF for attempting to separate families and for ignoring the millions of ethnically mixed Ethiopians. One ethnically mixed Ethiopian with Oromo and Amhara ancestry was once quoted saying "the idea of liberating myself from me is illogical." Some of these Oromos and mixed Ethiopians mock OLF by renaming it as an "Oromo Liberation from self Front." It is believed that ethnic Oromo are the most assimilated Ethiopians. In addition to the diverse ethnic make up of Ethiopia, some regions have undergone total assimilation. For instance, Combolcha have been a case, as well as cities like Yilmana Dinsa south of Bahir Dar in the Amhara Region are settled by Oromos, however almost all of whom speak Amharic instead of the Oromo language. Various mixed Ethiopians accuse OLF for attempted ethnic cleansing, some Ethiopian Oromos see it as a militant organization with narrow and unrealistic policies based on a separate Oromo state and Oromo supremacy ideologies. Yet OLF still has some support from some Oromos, particularly from Oromos living in America and Europe.

One of the most outspoken Oromo leaders against the OLF organization has been Dr. Negasso Gidada. In 2002, after OLF rebels attacked the Tigray hotel in Addis Ababa, killing many civilians and destroyed property, Dr. Negaso said such terrorist acts should not be committed especially in the name of Oromos.[75] He said there is no need for an armed struggle when there are alternative peaceful political ones. He stated,

The terrorist acts perpetrated against innocent civilians by individuals and groups under the guise to liberate Oromia were abominable crimes and should be condemned in the strongest possible terms. Whoever that commits such barbaric acts of terror in the name of liberation struggle should not be tolerated. The killing of innocent civilians and destroying their properties couldn't be justified by any standard. I am of the view that a democratic unity on the basis of justice and equality would be of much benefit to the people of Oromia.[76]

During Ethiopia's war against Eritrea in 1998 and against the Al-shabbab supported radical ICU in Southern Somalia, the OLF was noted increasing its radio propaganda outreach to Oromos in Ethiopia. Some outraged Oromos said that OLF is "a historic enemy of the Ethiopian people that stood alongside Siad Barre and Shaebia (Eritrean government)"[77] Other Oromos from Nekempte said OLF is trying to reverse the unity of the nation which has more than 79 ethnicities and some said OLF radio was telling them that Ethiopian affairs don't concern them.[78]

Rebuttal to Criticism of OLF

Ethiopian Abyssinians have termed Oromo self awareness as counter to the Empire state. As a result, Oromo people and organizations that opposed were targeted as anti unity and subject to torture and death. Ethiopian unity is only in the context of Abyssinians as Southern nations are termed as subjects within Ethiopia's Feudal System. It was documented in Beyond The Headlines Refugees in The Horn of Africa US Committee for Refugees January 1988 publication that the Amhara King Menlek II formed Ethiopian empire after 1888 declaring all land Emperors land. The article expands on Amhara landlords allocated “gult rights” over people like southern nations (including Oromo). They perceived Amhara culture, language and religion as superior to Oromo. Soon after, began a campaign to eliminate Oromo from the map. It was only after 1991 that Oromo language was allowed in public. Previous Ethiopian regimes banned Oromo language and targeted people for speaking Afan Oromo.

The Somalia role is complex as on one hand you have Ogaden fighting for independence like Oromo. On the other hand, you have a radicalized opposition to horn of Africa. In the middle of these groups were former dictator Saide Barre, who where Marxist by ideology but opportunists by nature. Saide Barre's objectives were to dominate the Horn of Africa. In his quest, Saide Barre captured former OLF commanders Barisoo Wabee (Magarsaa Barii), Gadaa Gammadaa (Damisee Tacaanee), Abbaa Xiiqii (Abboomaa Mitikku), Dori Bari (Yigazu Banti), Falmataa /Umar/Caccabsaa, Faafam Dooyyoo, Irra’anaa Qacalee (Obbo Dhinsaa), Dhadacha Boroo, JDaddacha Muldhataa, and Marii Galaa [79]

Since Saide Barre and his followers had a deep hatred towards Oromo, he asked the captured which one of you are Christian and which are Muslim. 

The Muslim Oromo refused to differentiate themselves from fellow Oromo (OLF is Secular), as a result all were executed and thrown in a mass grave April 15, 1980. From that day forward, Oromo commemorate the loss of our heroes as Guyyaa Gotota Oromo.

Ethiopian ideologist despise OLF since it has this strong connection with Oromo people. Most often, TPLF spends tens of millions of money to lobby foreign countries to put OLF on Terrorist list. Numerous countries have refused to list OLF on the Terrorist Tier I listing due to the right of Oromo to fight for freedom. Their campaign includes dispersing mis-information about OLF commenting massacres. Those listed as references are mostly broken url links along with uncorroborated evidence from individuals bloggers such as Abdi Omar. Many of the massacres listed are in fact TPLF actions to maximize conflict between oppressed nations.

Anti Oromo campaign reaches beyond Ethiopian boundaries by Amhara and Tigray alike. The following links demonstrate campaign of refoulement by allies of Ethiopian Abyssinians[80]

In Yemen, Ethiopian agents are suspected in the December 20, 2008 murder of Oromo Refugee Association leader Mr Ahmed Ibrahim Rore [81] The human rights report details violence towards Oromo refugees including rape. It also raises concerns over why UNHCR Yemen banned Oromo songs at Culture shows. Oromo in Yemen provided a letter detailing their suffering in Qubee [82]

Recent research in the United States have corroborated claims of Ethiopian Abyssinians torture, rape and extrajudicial killing of mainly Oromo, Ogaden, Anuak, Sidama and many Non-Abyssinians [83] Ethiopian Amhara and Tigray opposition have also been victims of torture. In Abyssinians attempts to counter attack their claims, OLF is often targeted as the cause of torture or that were rightfully victims. Similarly, Ogaden opposition ONLF is also blamed for torture and human rights violation by Ethiopian lobbyist, which has been counted by a letter from United States Senators to Prime Minister Meles Zenawi [84]


The OLF has offices in Washington, D.C. and Berlin. It operates a shortwave radio station, SBO (Sagalee Bilisummaa Oromoo) or VOL (Voice of Oromo Liberation), in Berlin. VOL radio transmits in Afan Oromo as well as in Amharic.


  1. ^ a b "Background Note: Ethiopia". Background Notes. United States Department of State Bureau of Public Affairs: Electronic Information and Publications Office. 2010-04-08. http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/2859.htm. Retrieved 2010-05-26. "In October 2008 the Ethiopian Government arrested over 100 Oromo leaders, accusing some of being members of the outlawed Oromo Liberation Front (OLF)." 
  2. ^ a b "US State Department Report on Ethiopia groundless, unacceptable: OGCA". Addis Ababa: Ethiopian News Agency. 2010-03-28. http://www.ena.gov.et/EnglishNews/2010/Mar/28Mar10/109296.htm. Retrieved 2010-05-26. "The report... incorporated information from terrorist sects like ONLF, Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and Ginbot 7 Group." 
  3. ^ a b "Taskforce arrests suspected terrorists". Addis Ababa: Ethiopian News Agency. 2008-05-25. http://www.ena.gov.et/EnglishNews/2008/May/25May08/58663.htm. Retrieved 2010-05-26. "The statement disclosed that evidences indicate that the terrorist act was coordinated by the Eritrean regime and the anti-peace group 'Oromo Liberation Front' (OLF), which is instrument of the regime." 
  4. ^ Terrorism Knowledge Database entry on the OLF
  5. ^ Oromo liberation front briefs Oromo Liberation Front Beliefs
  6. ^ Oromo Liberation Front mission
  7. ^ OLF's past military activities in Ethiopia
  8. ^ Bagalla Massacre
  9. ^ Massacre of Kenyans
  10. ^ [1]
  11. ^ [2]
  12. ^ OLF imprisoning Oromos
  13. ^ OLF torturing Oromos
  14. ^ OLF admitted the massacre
  15. ^ Human Rights development pg 3
  16. ^ Human Rights watch describes OLF's Arba Guugu massacre
  17. ^ OLF massacres 400 Oromos
  18. ^ United States House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs regarding OLF attacks
  19. ^ OLF role in Bodeno massacrel
  20. ^ OLF and Bodeno Massacre- AI archive Archive n° 530 - 06/06/1992
  21. ^ Bodeno Massacre
  22. ^ Massacre of Amhara civilians by OLF
  23. ^ Bodeno Massacre report
  24. ^ a b [3]
  25. ^ [4]
  26. ^ [5]
  27. ^ [6]
  28. ^ [7]
  29. ^ [8]
  30. ^ [9]
  31. ^ [10]
  32. ^ [11]
  33. ^ OLF with Arab fighters
  34. ^ U.S. criminal finances Oromo Liberation Front
  35. ^ OLF and Asmara
  36. ^ OLF in Mogadishu
  37. ^ training center, Qorioli, Somalia
  38. ^ OLF attacks in Ethiopia
  39. ^ Kenya arrests OLF oromos
  40. ^ OLF rebels caught in Somalia
  41. ^ 270 OLF militants in Mogadishu
  42. ^ OLF's work in Somalia
  43. ^ OLF fighers arrested by Kenyan authorities
  44. ^ OLF propaganda radio said to influence foreign based Oromos
  45. ^ OLF kills citizens of Netherlands, Germany and France
  46. ^ Ethiopian police accuses OLF for bomb blast
  47. ^ Ababiya Abajobir, former OLF External Relations head: Dejazmatch Balcha and Ras Gobena Dachew expanded the territory through military actions and created the unity
  48. ^ "Former OLF leader exposes OLF and TPLF propaganda"
  49. ^ References on the belief of OLF
  50. ^ Takkele Taddese "Do the Amhara Exist as a Distinct Ethnic Group?" in Marcus, Harold G. ed., Papers of the 12th International Conference of Ethiopian Studies, 1994, pp.168-186.
  51. ^ OROMIA Region Elders’Conference held in March 2006, condemns the anti-development and anti-peace role of OLF in the region [12]
  52. ^ Explosions in Educational institutions caused by OLF
  53. ^ Ethnic roadblocks against development missions in Ethiopia Roadblocks on development in southern Ethiopia
  54. ^ OLF claims of attacks
  55. ^ [13]
  56. ^ ISS on OLF's transformation into a terrorist movement
  57. ^ OLF rebels murder two Kenyan women in their bed
  58. ^ war against Ethiopians
  59. ^ Plan to make Ethiopia a radical Islamic nation
  60. ^ Hit and run raids in Ethiopia
  61. ^ Some western nations urged not to tolerate OLF
  62. ^ Marsabit Massacre and OLF
  63. ^ OLF massacres in other places
  64. ^ OLF kills four Kenyan civilians Dehai News
  65. ^ OLF rebels arrested in Kenya
  66. ^ OLF members defect and help Kenyan army
  67. ^ OLF, Borana and the Marsabit massacres
  68. ^ Other massacre allegedly committed by OLF
  69. ^ OLF violence in Kenya Sudan Times
  70. ^ Northern Kenyans living in a state of fear
  71. ^ OLF killing 142 civilians in northern Kenyan Wajir district
  72. ^ Humanitarian crisis in north Kenya
  73. ^ OLF says Kenya is committing human rights violations
  74. ^ International list of terrorist organizations Terrorism Knowledge Base (TKB)
  75. ^ Dr. Negaso Gidado about OLF
  76. ^ Dr. Negaso Gidado speaking against OLF
  77. ^ Oromos condemn OLF propaganda Walta Information Center (WIC)
  78. ^ problems and OLF radio (WIC)
  79. ^ [14]
  80. ^ [15]
  81. ^ [16]
  82. ^ [17]
  83. ^ . PMC 1448304. http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?tool=pmcentrez&artid=1448304. 
  84. ^ [18]

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