Ogaden rebels pledged to issue a report on atrocities committee by Addis Ababa in south-eastern Ethiopia in response to a 47 page government text published this week dismissing accusations of gross rights violation by Human Right Watch.
Ethiopian foreign ministry said on November 26 that an independent investigation team probed the accusations of a HRW report issued last June but they found no evidence to support the allegations of systematic war crimes or crimes against humanity.
In a statement published on November 28, the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) denounced the Ethiopian government report and promised to make public “a detailed report of the Ethiopian atrocities in the Ogaden and a comprehensive response” to Addis Ababa report.
The rebel front called on the government to allow free access to international media and independent fact finding mission to the region in order to conduct impartial investigation.
Ethiopian government which is key ally of Washington in the Horn of Africa said that HRW report is fabricated and it was manipulated by the rebel ONLF.
The government report said that investigators “found villages untouched that HRW alleged were burnt by the ENDF; others, according to former residents, were burnt by the ONLF whose terrorist activities HRW hardly notices.”
But the ONLF said HRW report “has grossly understated the extent of Ethiopian crimes in the Ogaden and not the other way round.” The rebel group further said the government published its report after Mubbai attacks “hoping that it may associate terrorism with ONLF.”
Addis Ababa launched a large scale military operation in Somali region in April 2007 after attack by Ogaden rebels on Chinese-run oil fields killing more then 70 people.
The Ethiopian government accuses the ONLF and the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) of being terrorists supported by arch-foe and neighbour Eritrea. Also Ogaden and Oromo rebels are called “anti-peace forces”.