Mr. Uhuru Kenyatta
President, The Republic of Kenya
Re: The Announcement of Security Operations in the Marsabit County of Kenya
In early April 2022, Abiy Ahmed’s regime declared a thirty-day military campaign against the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) by deploying a coalition of the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF), Federal Police, Oromia Special Forces, Oromia Police, local militia and Special Forces from other regional states. The campaign declared to “eliminate” the OLA throughout the Oromia region is coming to a close not only in the utter defeat of the coalition forces of Abiy Ahmed, but also by providing additional resources and support for our forces. To cover up its defeat as the thirty-day mark approached, the regime, first, began an inter- religious violence in Gondar by utilizing a part of the Fanno vigilante group that it controls to divert attention from its defeat in Oromia, and, now, it is trying to drag yet another neighboring country into the Ethiopian civil war.
We are certain that the government of Kenya knows full well that criminal activities, illicit trades, terrorism and terrorist methods were never part of the lexicon with which the world describes the OLA except for the Ethiopian regimes. There are also no such problems and other security concerns in the border areas where the OLA operates. As evidenced on the ground, we are a popular liberation movement with a strong public support throughout Oromia. PM Abiy himself did testify to our broad public backing in one his addresses to the Ethiopian parliament where he said “we should ask ourselves ‘why have the people housed them’ ‘why have the people provided food to them” although his remarks were not inspired by the intent to testify to our strong position among the Oromo people.
That is precisely the reason that, when defeated in battles against our forces, the retreating soldiers of the Ethiopian regime target our people in mass. In the past three weeks alone, the regime has committed atrocities against civilians in West Guji Zone, Fantale district of East Shewa Zone, Wollo Special Zone, Warra Jaarsoo of North Shewa Zone, Adea Berga and Abuna Gindeberet of West Shewa Zone using drones/ air strikes.
The Republic of Kenya has always had a strong relationship with the Oromo people and its liberation movement for liberty, democracy, and dignified existence in the Horn of Africa. Kenya is home to the largest Oromo-speaking population anywhere in the world outside of the Oromia region. For decades, Kenya has been a second home and passage for our persecuted intellectuals and broader Oromo public fleeing from successive dictators in Ethiopia. In short, peoples and governments have such sustained and close ties with the Oromo people and its national movement as the Republic of Kenya. While juggling an uneasy delicate balance between the needs of the Oromo people, the interests of the government in Finfinnee (Addis Ababa), geostrategic interests of the West in the Horn, the Kenyan people and government has mostly maintained a neutral position in the internal affairs of the Ethiopian state.
It is against this background that we, at the OLF-OLA, have been optimist when your Excellency, as a leader, and the government of Kenya, as a neighbor, proactively engaged to support the International Community’s efforts to create a peace process meant to put an end to the ongoing civil war in Ethiopia showing regional leadership.
We are, however, alarmed by the mention of the name ‘OLF’ in relation to internal security operations in the Marsabit County of northern Kenya. While all operations to arrest peace and security concerns and criminal issues in Marsabit and other counties is a sovereign prerogative of the Kenyan people, such operations should not include any crack-down against the Oromo people in southern Oromia and its liberation movement led by the OLA. We cannot over emphasize the importance of neutrality on the part of the Kenyan government when it comes to the Ethiopian civil war. Several reasons merit Kenya’s neutrality:
a) All OLA operations are conducted with due regard to Kenya’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. All our forces in the southern command of the OLA are now across the border inside the Oromia region.
b) Such operations severely damage the relationship between our peoples and the good name of the Republic of Kenya among the Oromo people.
c) Engaging our forces adversely affects Kenya’s vital role as a neutral interlocutor between the warring parties in Ethiopia and jeopardize its important task in ensuring sustainable peace throughout the region.
Finally, we would like to reiterate that the Ethiopian regime wishes to externalize its failures into the neighboring countries and drag neighboring states into the Ethiopian civil war. The regime first did so by inviting Eritrean forces into Ethiopian territory. Now, the Abiy regime is inviting Kenya into the civil war. We trust in the wisdom of the Kenyan people and government that they won’t be dragged into the quagmire that the Abiy regime and his cheerleaders put themselves in.
To the causes of justice, neutrality, and sustainable peace in the Horn of Africa!
OLF-OLA High Command
May 11, 2022