Leaders of two factions of the Oromo Liberation Front declare that in spite of a split in the rebel movement leadership, both sides seek the political unity of Oromo people.
Although engaged in a dispute over leadership and tactics of the OLF, General Hailu Gonffa and Dr. Beyene Assoba say they have no ideological differences. While both factions operate as OLF rebels, one group is led by Dawd Ibssa and the other is led by General Kemal Gelchu, who left the Ethiopian military and took an estimated 600 troops with him to Eritrea.
The two leaders operate from separate offices in neighboring Eritrea's capital, Asmara. Both sides told Democracy program broadcaster Tizita Belachew they are committed to armed struggle because, as Hailu said, "the Ethiopian government does not believe in peaceful negotiation." The interviews will be broadcast on the Amharic service at 9 p.m. Saturday.
Following the recent broadcast in Nairobi of a television documentary about the military forces of a faction led by General Hailu Gonffa, "Inside Rebel Territory," Ethiopian government officials charged that the filming of the combatants was staged. Beyene more recently thanked Nation Media for daring to air the four-part television program on the forces of the other OLF faction in spite of diplomatic efforts by the Ethiopian government to prevent the show from airing. A spokesman for Hailu said the film was an accurate and truthful representation.