Preliminary peace talks between Ethiopia’s federal government and the rebel Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) have opened on Tanzania’s semi-autonomous island of Zanzibar. The confidence-building discussions, mediated by Kenya and Norway, are aimed at paving the way for future negotiations to end the five-year conflict. There have been few details on the dialogue, but the OLA said it welcomed a peaceful resolution to the violence in Oromia, which has included civilian massacres and indiscriminate government crackdowns. The OLA, labelled a “terrorist organization” by Addis Ababa, says it’s fighting for greater autonomy for the Oromo people, Ethiopia’s biggest but historically marginalized ethnic group. Violence has surged in Oromia following a peace deal in November that ended the war in northern Tigray. The OLA is accused of targeting ethnic Amharas who live in Oromia, while militias from the Amhara region—which borders Oromia—have killed Oromo civilians.
From The New Humanitarian, April 28
Photo via Addis Standard