Unflinching Anti-Terrorism Stand Remains a Core Policy of the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA)
By Worku Burayu (PhD), November 26, 2020
Let the Ethiopian peoples, AU, US, EU, UK, UN, Humanitarian Institutions, Politicians, Lawyers, International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank (WB) and any other concerned institutions renew their understanding that the unwavering anti-terrorism stand remains a core policy of the Oromo liberation army. As an illegitimate Abiy government continue doing desperate movements and accusing others of his own behavior, it is time to restate, the principles OLA faithfully follows, OLA’s objective, its stand on religion and minorities in Oromia, and its unwavering anti-terrorism stand.
Thinking big and striving for more, the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) struggles in compassion for the bright future of the Oromo people. Based on the conditions under which it uses its army force and an ethical manner how it behaves a war in, OLA conducts a just war in self-defense with vision and mission of a reasonable opportunity of success following the five law of war. OLA follows the two central principles: The principle of discrimination that concerns who are legitimate targets in war, and the principle of proportionality that concerns how much force is morally appropriate. The law of war relies on five fundamental principles that are inherent to all targeting decisions: military necessity, unnecessary suffering, proportionality, distinction (discrimination), and honor. OLA conducts a war against a tyrant successive suppressive regime with determination and great values: Peace, Human Dignity, Human Rights, Freedom, Equality and Liberty. With this principles and values in mind and in action OLA believes extremism and terrorism as act of desperation and opposes terrorism as means of struggle to achieve the right of the Oromo people. Therefore, OLA has an unflinching anti-terrorism stand and it remains a core policy of the army.
The fundamental objective of the Oromo liberation movement is to exercise the Oromo peoples’ inalienable right to national self-determination to terminate oppression and exploitation, and to form, where possible, a political union with other nations on the basis of equality, respect for mutual interests and the principle of voluntary associations. The OLA is bonded to this objective. Hence, the fundamental OLA objective is to struggle for the fulfilment of the national self-determination of the Oromo people so that Oromo can decide its destiny: whether Oromo wants Independent Oromia or co-exist with neighboring states on the basis of self-rule, equality, democracy and liberty for all. The objective of the people to reclaim their essential freedom is in line with the principle enshrined in the charter of the UNO. The OLA is fighting to enable the Oromo people to realize this fundamental right and bring an end to any kind of oppression. OLA’s commitment to this objective is based on a democratic principle, that the Oromo people 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.
OLA’s View on Religion and Religious Radicalism:
Ethiopian government medias and government affiliated media such as the Ethiopian Satellite Television & Radio (ESAT), and some activists wanted to label any Oromo’s movement including OLA undertakings as a religious extremism. They propagated as if OLA is against Christianity in general and Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido in particular. However, here are the realities: (1) The source and pool of OLA is the Oromo people. The Oromo people are followers of three major religions: Christianity, Islam, and Traditional Oromo religions. So, does OLA. In OLF policy, it is clearly indicated that OLF respects religious equality and pursues secular policy. So, does OLA. This composition of its members and supporters among the Oromo people, irrespective of religious divides, is a clear testimony to the army’s correct policy on religion. It prohibits religious discrimination and specifies the OLF/OLA shall not interfere in the practice of any individual religion, nor shall the religion interfere in OLA affairs.
Unlike Ethiopian medias propaganda, Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church bishop aired what he has had witnessed in Western Oromia including OLA controlled areas. There is the root cause that brings believers in various religions together at one point under OLF/OLA. OLA considers Ethiopia an empire and believes the root cause of political problems in Ethiopia is refusal by the state to respect the rights of peoples to self-determination. The Oromo people’s quest for their right to self-determination is just and legitimate. In line to this justice and legitimacy, the motive drive is the objective of OLF/OLA, not the religion someone belongs to, that brings Oromo from all walks of life together to be members of OLF/OLA. Finally, OLA opposes religious domination and religious extremism of any kind.
Minorities Right in Oromia:
From the very beginning of its foundation the Oromo Liberation Front and its Army wing OLA knew that there are peoples of various backgrounds, minorities and individuals who have distinct identity and culture of their own in Oromia. It is a natural process that those peoples or minorities in Oromia tend to identify first with their nation and nationalities or ethnic kin. OLA believes peoples, nation and nationalities, ethnic groups and religious groups in Oromia have right and honored to exercise their democratic right. OLA recognizes and respects the right of national minorities in accordance with internationally accepted principles to develop their culture, administer their own affairs, and enjoy equal rights in every field of activity. Peoples in Oromia have very strong bond beyond the understanding of politicians. Minorities in Oromia are economically, culturally, and politically closely linked with the Oromo people. Most importantly, OLA believes that this strong bonding of the society minimizes clashes and unnecessary occurrence in Oromia, in spite of the daily evil activities of an illegal Abiy administration to incite clashes among those societies. OLA has undertaken the vigorous work for the full realization of these rights and will take necessary measures to strengthen the bond of network between the Oromo people and minorities in Oromia. The Oromo liberation army is aware of what an evil act of desperate and unlawful Abiy administration is doing.
OLA has repeatedly alerted that the mafia groups created by security forces are equipped with full of arm and logistics and wear braided wigs to disguise themselves as OLA. The Prosperity Party (PP) that is currently ruling Ethiopia illegally send this mafia group to different areas in Oromia to incite conflict among religions and ethnic groups and falsely blaming the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA). Recent happenings in Western Oromia around Gulisoo is a fresh example that doing awful things and blaming others has become a daily an illegal Ethiopian government activity. Previous happenings such as the abducted university students by this mafia groups in Western Oromia; burning of many Mosques in Amhara Regional State after Daniel Kibret’s radical statement regarding Islam and Muslim in his aired voice; and burning of Churches in Somali and Oromia regions are additional examples of such actions. It is clear for the peoples of Ethiopia that more than any other entities, the Abiy administration mafia group is creating and conducting terrorism and genocide that become a tool and a key source of various terrorism in Ethiopia. OLA targets the government’s coercive machinery, enemy’s active military units and security forces that haunt OLA (legitimate targets) not innocent civilians. The protracted armed resistance is an act of self-defense exercised by the Oromo people against successive Ethiopian governments, including the current one, who forcibly deny their right to self-determination. While foiling the terrorist action in Oromia, once again, let peace loving peoples and nations know that OLA has persistent anti-terrorism stand and opposes terrorism as means of struggle to achieve the right of the Oromo people. It considers terrorism as act of desperation. Therefore, anti-terrorism remains a core policy of the Oromo Liberation Army.
Harmony and Collaboration with other Peoples:
As an awareness of shared interests, objectives, values, and understandings, OLA believes that solidarity and cooperation among the peoples is essential for realization of their common goals of liberation. Centuries of Abyssinian system of domination ruined, smeared and disgraced the glorious Gadaa system resulting to the diminishing of liberty, democracy, equality and development. To regain the past magnificence of Gadaa democracy and nation and nationalities original strength and glory, the Oromo and that of other nations have been striving through liberation struggles. OLF/OLA is committed and prepared to have mutual understandings or to revitalize and strengthen supportive agreements concluded with organizations of 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. OLA will continue in its efforts to secure peace, safety, and liberty for the Oromo people and the other nations and nationalities.
The main conflict in Ethiopia is political but not like political controversies in many Western countries, which can occur in mono-national state, such as class struggle, but it is a conflict between different national groups within multinational state. In Oromo case, it is a result of conflict between two main political ideologies or systems: Abyssinian-Habeshanism (masked with Ethiopianism) and Oromianism. OLA considers Ethiopia an Abyssinian empire, however, it is ready to contribute towards any meaningful peace effort, as it did in the past, to reach at a comprehensive settlement to bring peace to all peoples of the empire. The main question is, however: can the conflict in the Ethiopian empire be solved in approaches like negotiation, mediation, diplomacy and creative peacebuilding? Were there any genuine talk and agreement in the past even in the present to resolve conflict? experiences have been telling us the reverse. It is OLA’s persistent stand to go further in search of peaceful resolution of the political crisis through political means in Ethiopia and beyond. Unflinching Anti-Terrorism Stand Remains a Core Policy of the Oromo Liberation Army.