Nairobi — An Ethiopian rebel group, the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) welcomed the release of two delegates allegedly abducted in Nairobi by the Ethiopian government.
Sulub Ahmed and Ali Hussein were senior negotiators for the ONLF in the peace talks being brokered by the Kenyan government.
In a statement extended to Sudan Tribune on Saturday, ONLF said two negotiators are now freed and reunited with their families living in Kenya.
The rebel group previously said that the two rebel delegates were abducted on 26 January, 2014 in Nairobi and brought in to Ethiopia’s Moyale town, near the Kenyan border.
Two Kenyan officers were then accused of abducting and forcing the two to the Ethiopian border and handing them over to the Ethiopian security officials, an accusation the officers denied.
The rebels then accused the Ethiopian government of being behind the kidnapping and later pulled out of the peace talks.
“After their abduction on January 26, 2014, they were taken to Ethiopia and detained in an undisclosed facility for one year and four months,” the group said.
The group added the two rebel officials were freed on June 1, 2015 following sustained diplomatic efforts by the Kenyan government and members of the international community in support of calls by the ONLF for their release.
The Kenyan government had for years been facilitating the peace dialogue aimed to end the rebel’s over two decades-long insurgency in the Ogaden region.
In the latest statement, the Ogaden rebels said they are committed to continuing the peace process in pursuit of a just and durable political solution to the crises in Ogaden, an ethnic Somali region in Ethiopia.
The rebel group further said the move taken by the Ethiopian government is a positive development that removes an important obstacle to progress to the stalled peace talks.
A splinter faction of the ONLF has signed a peace deal with the Ethiopian government in 2010 but the other one has continued its armed struggle.
Since the 1970s, the ONLF rebels have been fighting for independence to the troubled Ogaden region.
Ethiopia has long designated the ONLF group as a terrorist entity along with the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and Ginbot-7 movement.
Source: Sudan Tribune