From: Berhane Habtemariam (Berhane.Habtemariam@gmx.de)
Date: Tue May 18 2010 - 14:37:50 EDT
Ethiopia Ogaden rebels claim major victory
ADDIS ABABA - Ethiopia's main rebel group on Tuesday claimed to have
captured an army garrison town and killed 94 government soldiers in a major
The statement by the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) comes five days
ahead of general elections in Ethiopia. It did not specify the date of the
It said that rebel units captured the garrison at Malqaqa, situated on the
road between Jijiga and Harar in eastern Ethiopia.
"The Ethiopian regime's forces lost 94 soldiers and the casualties of the
ONLF were minimal given that our forces had the advantage of the element of
surprise," it added.
There was no immediate reaction by the government, which generally claims
that the ONLF is on its last legs and dismisses its statements as
fabrication and propaganda.
The ONLF has repeatedly denied allegations that its fighting capacity has
been decimated since Ethiopia launched a crackdown in 2008, after the rebels
attacked a Chinese oil venture the previous year killing 77 people.
The group said in November that it had launched a broad offensive on several
fronts and recaptured seven towns from government forces, a claim swiftly
refuted by authorities.
Formed in 1984, the ONLF is fighting for independence for ethnic Somalis in
the Ogaden, whom they say have been marginalised by the government in Addis
Copyright C 2010 AFP.
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