Zanzibar hosts Ethiopia, Oromiya rebel talks.

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According to a spokesperson for the regional African group IGAD, Zanzibar, a semi-autonomous province of Tanzania, has become the venue of peace negotiations between the Ethiopian government and rebels from the Oromiya area.

Oromiya, Ethiopia’s biggest area, is centered around the country’s capital, Addis Abeba, and has long been home to rebel groups.

The Oromos, the country’s largest ethnic minority, accuse the government of discriminating against them and disregarding their demands, sparking unrest in recent years that have killed hundreds of lives and displaced tens of thousands

The Inter-Governmental Authority on Development’s Executive Secretary, Nuur Mohamud Sheekh, remarked, “The talks are underway in Tanzania as we speak…we hope [it] will lead to a political agreement.”

Since negotiating a peace agreement in November to end a two-year civil war in northern Tigray that claimed tens of thousands of lives, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government has worked to address a variety of security challenges, including the instability in Oromiya.

The Ethiopian government and the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) are both represented in the talks. The Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) was an illegal opposition party, and the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) is a component of that group.

Both sides have acknowledged the discussions, albeit public information is sparse. Tanzanian officials were also hazy about the issue.

According to two people involved with the discussions, Abiy’s national security adviser, Redwan Hussien, will lead the government delegation. One of the sources confirmed that Zanzibar will host the gathering.

Hundreds of individuals have died as a result of the recent increase in violence in Oromiya, which has included both government and rebel conflict, as well as ethnically motivated killings.

Each side in this fight blames the other for the carnage.

The OLF resurfaced from exile after Abiy’s election as president in 2018. Because Abiy’s father is also Oromo, the minority community expected their status to improve. More over a third of Ethiopia’s 110 million people are Oromos.

Many people, however, lost trust in him and started to criticize him for abandoning his city. Following the death of a prominent Oromo artist in June 2020, violent protests erupted throughout the region.

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