Thursday, 24 February 2011
Crackdown nets 120 Ethiopian rebels
By Nation correspondentPosted Thursday, February 24 2011 at 21:38
Some 120 Oromo Liberation Front rebels have been arrested in a crackdown in northern Kenya.
The operation was launched three months ago by Kenyan and Ethiopian forces to mop up illegal arms and secure the border.
Upper Eastern deputy provincial commissioner Wenslas Ong’wayo said the operation would continue following reports that some members of the rebel group had acquired Kenyan citizenship illegally.
“These people speak the local dialect and it may be hard to distinguish them from the locals but the locals themselves are volunteering information that will lead to their arrest,” said the deputy PC.
He named the most affected areas as Bandatelo, Sololo, Moyale and Korondille.
Mr Ong’wayo said those arrested included 45 rebel commanders, adding that 30 members had been deported.
Grenades, guns and missiles had been recovered.
Security agents were also following reports that some of the OLF members were hiding in Nairobi to escape arrest.
The operation has been helped by the ongoing drought, which has flushed the rebels from their hiding to look for water and food.
The country started witnessing a massive influx of the remnants of the OLF rebels following the passing of a new constitution that empowered regions in Ethiopia and made them semi-autonomous.
The Ethiopian regime also incorporated some of the OLF leaders in government, weakening the rebel movement.
Those members who did not approve of the changes, which also included amnesty for the rebels, crossed into Kenya where they have been planning new attacks.
But a combined security operation by Kenyan and Ethiopian security forces has thwarted any such efforts.
Sources privy to the operation said it would continue to ensure the rebel movement was completely dismantled.