Ethiopian Air Force Hits Terrorist Training Camp, Says Locals Would Be ‘Victims’

Fresh Ethiopian air force strikes hit what officials described as a “terrorist” training camp in the country’s south-central Tigray region, according to Ethiopian state media reports. A general-command center for Ethiopia’s counter-terrorism force, called…

Ethiopian Air Force Hits Terrorist Training Camp, Says Locals Would Be 'Victims'

Fresh Ethiopian air force strikes hit what officials described as a “terrorist” training camp in the country’s south-central Tigray region, according to Ethiopian state media reports.

A general-command center for Ethiopia’s counter-terrorism force, called the IOG, said in a statement on Sunday that an airstrip and rebel base were also hit during the overnight air campaign.

The statement said aerial surveillance revealed the target, which was close to the country’s capital, Addis Ababa, “and had been training some operatives of the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) terrorist group.”

The ONLF is listed as a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department. The rebel group is seeking independence for the country’s far southern region.

On Wednesday, the Ethiopian government said soldiers killed 25,000 members of the ONLF during an operation against rebels. The statement said troops attacked rebel bases in the Ogaden in response to “terrorism-related terrorist incursions,” including by large numbers of foreign fighters.

Ethiopia’s military often rounds up opposition leaders and activists, who are accused of fomenting instability.

There have been many unsuccessful efforts to reach an ONLF leader for comment since a former deputy movement leader was killed in a military operation in July 2016.

Over the past 10 years, troops have fought the ONLF in the Ogaden region, where tens of thousands of people have been forced from their homes, some of them crossing into neighboring Somalia.

Nearly 70,000 people fled to Uganda last month after the government declared a six-month state of emergency. The Ethiopian government says it is using the emergency measures to clamp down on coup attempts, curb youth unrest and fight terrorists.

Ethiopia has been facing down threats from a wide array of rebel groups.

In June, an armed raid on an oil pipeline in Ethiopia’s Ogaden region killed at least 20 people and destroyed oil and gas pipelines.

Authorities said in a statement that “armed terrorists” had been attacked while traveling by road in the Dollo Ado area.

The same area has been prone to attacks by armed groups vying for control over semi-autonomous Ogaden region, a vast desert basin straddling the borders of Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya. Ethiopia shares a border with Kenya and splits Somalia in half.

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