Ethiopia1) Political parties or liberation movements active in Southern Ethiopia in the province of Bale, village of Goba; composition and goals of the movements. [ETH5924]

The Oromo Liberation Front (OLF),a major liberation movement active in southern Ethiopia, reportedly claims to operate throughout Bale province ["Ethiopia: The Oromo Factor", Africa Confidential, Vol. 14, No. 15, 18 July 1984, p. 2.] Formed in 1976, The OLF's main objective is to form an independent Oromo state for the Oromos, Ethiopia's largest ethnic group. However, it is claimed that the OLF does not want to break up the Ethiopian state but would like to draw up a democratic constitution with other Ethiopian nationals ["Ethiopia: Opposition Widens", Africa Confidential, Vol. 21,
No. 10, p. 2.] Originally, the leadership of the OLF was reported to compose of former landlords, disgruntled government officials, and a large number of peasants. Apparently it now includes a group of young intellectuals and former members of the All-Ethiopian Socialist Movement (Meison) [Ibid., p. 2.]. The OLF draws support from the Oromo tribesmen across western, central and southern Ethiopia. The OLF is reportedly opposed to "the government's policy of resettlement and villagization of the Oromo communities." [Legum, Colin. "Ethiopia's Support Among Masses Erodes as State Turns Communist", The Christian Science Monitor, 13 July 1984, p. 73.] Other political parties in the area included the Western Somalia Liberation Front (WSLF) and the Somali Abo Liberation Front (SALF). The latter was dissolved by the OLF with agreement from the Somali government.["Obscure Rebel Group Claims Western Ethiopian Town", The Associated Press, 5 January 1990.] In 1980 the OLF opened an office in Mogadishu which enabled it to cooperate more closely with the WSLF. [Degenhardt, Henry, W., ed. Revolutionary and Dissident Movements: An International guide, Burnt Mill, Essex: Longman Group UK Ltd., 1988] However, relations between the OLF and WSLF reportedly deteriorated after four of the OLF's supreme commanders were allegedly killed by the WSLF squads. Relations between the Somali government allegedly "went into irretrievable decline" leading to the 1982 closure of the OLF office in Mogadishu.["Ethiopia: The Oromo Factor", Africa Confidential, Vol.25, No.15, p.3].

In 1977, the OLF claimed its forces had killed 1,500 Ethiopian soldiers in Bale province. ["Addis Ababa, Ethiopia", The Associated Press, 12 September 1977, p. 88] In 1984, OLF units in Wollega were reported to comprise 500 guerrillas. The OLF launched offensive action in Asosa, an administrative area in western Ethiopia and claimed to have killed 65 enemy soldiers in February 1990.["Ethiopia Oromo Rebels Claim "heavy losses" Inflicted on Government Forces", The British Broadcasting Corporation, 3 March 1990].