Oromo groups agree a common front

Oromo opposition groups have signed a peace agreement in an attempt to try and make action against the Ethiopian government more effective, a spokesman for the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) told IRIN on Friday. Lencho Bati said the agreement, signed 25 July, put an end to conflict between the OLF and the Islamic Front for the Liberation of Oromia (IFLO). "It is very important because we have been fighting with the IFLO for more than 20 years", he said. The United Oromo Liberation Front and the Oromo Liberation Council also signed the agreement, following a joint meeting from 20-25 July. The Statement of Understanding Among Oromo Liberation Fronts said that armed conflict among the different Oromo groups "was a mistaken approach". Bati told IRIN that the OLF had units scattered in 11 provinces in Ethiopia, and had recently stepped up fighting in Babile and Harar areas in the east of the country. The Ethiopian government had failed to respond to a peace proposal put forward by the OLF five months ago, and there had been "no direct contact" between the government and the OLF since, he added.