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The Insurgency in Ogaden

Located in between Ethiopia and Somalia, the Ogaden region is an economically and politically marginalized area and the home to just over 4 million ethnic Somalis, who are more than determined to continue struggling for their independence. A conflict waged by the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) allegedly supported by the Eritrean and the Somali government against the government of Ethiopia since 1995 is still ravaging the region.

For a great while, the insurgency has remained unknown to the rest of the world because of the restriction of access to the region imposed by Addis Ababa.  However, ONLF guerrilla groups successfully perpetrated some attacks, including the unprecedented attack on the Chinese oil production facility near Abole known as the “Abole Raid” in April 2007 during which the insurgents killed 65 Ethiopians, 9 Chinese workers and took another 7 Chinese hostages.

In an attempt to retaliate and crack down on rebel groups, the Ethiopian military launched a campaign that was widely criticized and condemned by human rights watchdogs for its abusive human rights violations.  Although the military campaign ended in 2008 due to international pressures, the region is still unstable and media access is still extremely restricted.