On May 8th, the Ethiopian government launched offensives in Jaldu (West Shawa) and Adami Tulu (East Shawa) against the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA), a splinter group of the formerly banned opposition party, Oromo Liberation Front (OLF). According to a tweet from the OLA, both offensives were “routed with over 75 [government] fighters being neutralized”. A picture attached to the tweet shows four captured regime fighters in Adami Tulu.
On the morning of May 8th, the Abiy regime launched offensives in Jaldu (West Shawa) and Adami Tulu (East Shawa). Both offensives were routed with over 75 regime fighters being neutralized.— Oromo Liberation Army OLF-OLA (@OLF_OLA) May 9, 2023
(Pic: 4 regime fighters captured in Adami Tulu)#Oromia #Ethiopia pic.twitter.com/Bt2yvG0du8
The violence in Oromiya, which is home to the country’s largest ethnic group, the Oromos, has been a major security headache for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, following a two-year civil war in the northern Tigray region that ended when the two parties signed a peace deal last November. Rebel groups in Oromia have fought the federal government for decades and accused it of marginalization and neglect.
On May 3rd, the first round of peace talks between the Ethiopian government and Oromo rebels ended with no deal, according to both parties. The talks were mediated by the regional Africa group IGAD, and started last week in Zanzibar, a semi-autonomous region of Tanzania. While the talks were largely constructive, it was not possible to reach an agreement on some issues during this round of the talks, the government said in a statement, adding that the parties had agreed to continue talking.
According to a statement from the Oromo Liberation Army, no agreement was reached on “key issues”. The government confirmed the willingness of the OLA to continue talks, but did not comment on the claims of the rebels.
The conflict has resulted in hundreds of deaths and tens of thousands of displacements. It is a major security challenge for Abiy Ahmed’s government, which is facing growing criticism over its handling of ethnic tensions and the upcoming general election.