Battles raging in Ogaden between ONLF and Woyanne

Elias Kifle | March 11th, 2009

ONLF - Ogaden National Liberation Front (Ogaden Online) – Reports reaching the Ogaden Online service desk indicate raging battles between the Ogaden National Liberation Army (ONLA) and the Woyanne regime militias throughout Ogaden in eastern Ethiopia. All the latest battles took place between March 4th and March 7th. Casualties are reported on both sides.

Our reporters on the ground and eyewitnesses confirmed that most casualties were sustained by the Woyanne militias. Multiple reports put the Woyanne casualties around 400 deaths. The reports add that in some places, entire battalions were overrun, garrisons completely taken over, all military supplies taken, and Woyanne militias captured alive and taken as prisoners.

It is reported that most of the Woyanne militias taking part in the renewed battles are from the battalions that have recently been brought back from the failed military escapades in Somalia by the Woyanne regime in Ethiopia. Some captured prisoners have told some of our reporters that they were misinformed about the strength of the ONLA.

More than one prisoner indicated that they were under the impression that the ONLA was just a ragtag army that could not dig in for battle, let alone wage an offensive or a counter offensive.

The service desk is still in the midst of collecting and corroborating the news from the frontlines. So far we have received confirmations for the following battles.

On March 4th in the town of Uubataale which is 12 kilometers to the major garrison city of Wardheer, the ONLA killed 60 soldiers including a high ranking official of Ethiopia’s Woyanne regime. Among the captured military equipment was satellite telephone identification and tracking system and an advanced military communication radio.

In the same vicinity in a town called Afyaraado, it is reported a counter offensive ONLA force killed 40 Woyanne militias who were attempting to come to the aid of the uprooted force in Uubataale. The remainder of the reinforcements reached their main base in Wardheer. They were reported to have dug more defensive trenches, and they were said to have cut off all contact with the so-called local administration in the city for fear of being spied on.

On March 5th, a fierce firefight took place in the town of Qamuuda which is part of Doolo province. In this battle, it is reported that 20 Woyanne militias were killed, more than a dozen taken prisoner, and military supplies taken.

In Hilla, on March 6th, in Hilla which is closer to Mustaxiil, the ONLA ambushed Woyanne reinforcements. It is reported that 35 Woyane militias were killed, and two military transport vehicle of the type known as Urals were destroyed. Other reinforcements were also ambushed by the ONLA in the vicinity of Abaaqorow and Godey. It is reported that 34 Woyanne militias were killed.

On March 7th, confirmed reports indicate a major battle between the ONLA and the Woyanne militias in the town of Goldhebileey which is closer to Garbo. In this battle, eyewitnesses and reporters on the ground confirmed the death of 38 Woyane militias. They also confirm that the ONLA took all the military supplies from the garrison that was deserted by the Woyane militias. Eyewitnesses in Garbo confirmed that few militias who escaped from Goldhebileey have reached the town of Garbo.

It is also reported that the remnants of the defeated Woyanne militias fought with the so-called local administration militias. Eyewitness confirms the death of about 20 militias from the so-called local administration and the remnants of the defeated Woyane militias.

On March 7th in the town of Baarta Jerar, the death of 33 Woyanne militias was reported. There were many injured Woyane militias many of whom were brought to the city of Awaare.

There are ongoing reports of sustained major military battles between the ONLA and the Woyane militias throughout Ogaden. It appears that the Woyanne militias went on the offensive, but are now on the defensive. In some towns, the ONLA are reportedly in firm control. We are in the process of collecting verifiable information about all the battles and will be filing in future reports.