Ethiopia denies carrying out air strikes against ethnic Oromo rebels

Source: Xinhua| 2019-01-16 21:15:35|Editor: xuxin
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ADDIS ABABA, Jan. 16 (Xinhua) -- The Ethiopian government issued a statement on Wednesday denying allegations it has carried out airstrikes against the ethnic armed group, Oromo Liberation Front (OLF).

In a press statement, Ethiopia's Oromia regional state government said allegations government forces have carried out airstrikes in parts of Oromia in the weekend are untrue.

"The Ethiopian government is conducting law enforcement operations with carefulness and precision," said the statement.

The statement further said government forces so far don't feel the need to conduct air strikes to pacify unrest parts of Oromia regional state.

The statement from the Ethiopian government comes among allegations by activists and some local and foreign media outlets that the Ethiopian air force conducted targeted air strikes on OLF positions in the weekend.

So far, there has been no independent confirmation if the air strikes did take place.

OLF is an armed group claiming to fight for the rights of ethnic Oromos who make up about 35 percent of Ethiopia's estimated 105 million population.

It is estimated there are around 2,800 OLF fighters based mainly in the western and southern parts of Oromia regional state, the principal operating ground of OLF.

OLF rebels have in recent months been accused of conducting deadly assaults on military and civilian targets, including the Sept. 26 killing of four government officials.

OLF was designated as a terrorist group by the Ethiopian parliament in 2011. It was removed from the terror list in July to help facilitate negotiations and foster reconciliation.

The Ethiopian government has asked OLF to disarm its fighters unconditionally, while OLF said the Ethiopian government hasn't honored a peace agreement the two signed in August.