According to reports, Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Hailemariam Desalegn, visited the Sitti province to meet the president of the Somali National Regional State (SNRS), Abdi Mahmud (Abdi Ilay). SNRS is a movement located in the northern Somalia. SouthFront: Analysis & Intelligence has information that it has been created by the Ethiopian special services as a buffer zone at the Ethiopia’s border. During the visit, Hailemariam Desalegn noted that the SNRS military wing “liyu police” created to oppose Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) militants won’t be disbanded despite the some progress in the peacefull efforts with OLF.
OLF is a Islamist militant group. It has been fighting for the separation from Ethiopia for a long time. Furthermore, OLF is a point of the Saudi Arabia’s interest because of its confession. Since the Mengistu regime’s overthrow, Saudi Arabia has been expanding its influence in Ethiopia with mainly Christian population. Its goal is the Islamization of the Ethiopia’s population. A year ago, the Ethiopian authorities started a campaign to counter the Saudi influence and prevent the expantion of Islamism. Furthermore, the government and the security services started to support the anti-Saudi Islamic movement, “Ahbash” in the country.
A decision to maintain the “liyu police” shows that Addis Ababa is ready to continue its “proxy” efforts to coutner Islamist militant threat at its borders. Now, the “liyu police” will be used to oppose Islamist militants as Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) and Al-Shabaab. For this case, the “liyu police” will grow in a man power. About 1000 recruits have been recieving training at the Ethiopian military base.
The goal to fight ONLF is connected with a fact that its leader claimed a creation of the Peoples’ Alliance for Freedom and Democracy (PAFD) on October 24, 2015. It includes 5 militant groups which oppose to Addis Ababa: the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), the Sheckacho People’s Movement for Democracy and Justice (SHEPMODSOJ), the Sidama Liberation Front (SLF). PAFD claims an aim to create an independent state which will include a part of the Ethiopian territory.
The PAFD’s activity could be easily contected with an ongoing standoff between Eritrea and Ethiopia. Moreover, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates approachуed Eritrea last months. They even agreed to establish a military base in it. Thus, Saudi Arabia is preparing an answer to the Ethiopia’s efforts to coutner its influence in the region.