- East Africa
Ethiopian court throws OLF members into jail for life
Three Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) leaders have been imprisoned for life by the Ethiopian High Court after they were found guilty of carrying out terrorist attacks on innocent Ethiopians.
Three members of the Oromo Liberation Fron (OLF) identified as "rebel commanders" were on Thursday February 3, 2011 sentenced to life prison terms by the third criminal bench of the Ethiopian High Court, read a statement released by the Ethiopian Ministry of Justice after the court ruling.
The court convicted Jateni Keno Tuda, Godana Teye Goda, and Liben Wariyo Guyu for killing 13 people who they had branded as spies of the ruling government. They were also found guilty for planting bombs and murdering innocent civilians.
The statement further indicated that the convicts were also found to have trained and organized members of the OLF in Sololo Training Center in Kenya. The court also indicted them for supplying logistical support to people in order to commit terrorist attacks in Ethiopia.
Official sources claim that rebels have ofttimes used Kenyan and Ethiopian border towns as their main base to organize themselves with the aim of launching attacks on Ethiopia in order to remove the current Meles Zenawi-led government.
Late February, a joint force made up of Ethiopian and Kenyan security forces cracked-down on rebels operating in border towns in Kenya. According to a recent report by The Daily Nation, an attack launched three months ago in Northern Kenya by the two-nation joint force saw the capture of 120 OLF members.
Some of the arrested OLF members are believed to have acquired their Kenyan nationality illegally, notwithstanding their ability to speak the local dialect which makes it difficult to distinguish them from the locals. “These people speak the local dialect and it may be hard to distinguish them from the locals,” Upper Eastern Deputy Provincial Commissioner Wenslas Ong’wayo, was quoted by The Daily Nation as saying.
However, according to the official "the locals themselves are volunteering information that will lead to their arrest." And according to media reports, grenades, guns and missiles were recovered during the operation. 30 members of the group have been, reportedly, deported to Ethiopia.