Monday, October 18, 2010

Ethiopia releases rebel prisoners

Muhyadin Ahmed Roble, AfricaNews reporter in Nairobi, Kenya

Ethiopia released rebel prisoners captured from the country's most active group, the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF). The Somali regional state prison commission said that the prisoners were freed in accordance with the recent peace agreement signed between the Ethiopian government and the ONLF.

Last week, some leaders of a breakaway Ethiopia rebel group of ONLF met with government officials in Addis Ababa to sign a peace deal.

The Ethiopian government claims that the breakaway group represents around 80 percent of the main group but the spokesman of the main group dismissed it as Addis Ababa's propaganda.

State prison commissioner Abdi Bedi Ousman said human rights of the prisoners were respected as per the constitution of the country during their stay in prison.

The commissioner said academic and vocational training was also offered to the prisoners during their prison terms.

Abdi called on the leaders and members of the ONLF freed from jail to actively participate in development activities being carried out in the region.

The ONLF has been fighting for the independence of the remote southeastern Ogaden -- a region rich in oil -- claiming they have been marginalized by the ruling regime.

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