In a statement, the group said the historic moment that had fulfilled the dreams of the South Sudanese people was the outcome of their determination and struggle.
“The people of Ogaden have followed closely the legitimate struggle of the people of South Sudan and welcome the birth of the South Sudan Republic as a positive event in Africa’s history. The struggle of the people of South Sudan was not easy. It required patience and sacrifice”, it said.
The group commended the peace process and efforts exerted by the international community to realise the peaceful North – South Sudan split that ended the longest civil war in Africa.
“The International Community particularly donor nations and the African Union played a positive role in facilitating talks that led to the freedom of the people of South Sudan. This investment in peace and justice will no doubt contribute to the stability of Eastern Africa”
The ONLF which has been fighting since 1984 seeking secession of the oil-promising Ogaden region says the Somali-speaking population in the region has been marginalised by Addis Ababa.
In the latest statement, the group which said had closely been following the struggle of South Sudanese, vowed to repeat similar history in Ethiopia.
“It is our hope that a similar investment in peace and justice will be made in Ogaden and that South Sudan will contribute positively as Africa’s newest nation to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement to the long and legitimate struggle of the people of Ogaden for self-determination.”
South Sudan is ruled by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, the political wing of the rebels, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army which first took up arms against the Khartoum government in 1983. Twenty Eight years later the South Sudanese hope they have a better chance of quality under self rule. In January 2011 they voted for secession which was realised on 9 July.
ONLF is one of the five groups Ethiopia recently designated as terror entities. Others included are Oromo Liberation Front, Ginbot 7 and two international groups, Al-shabab and Al-Qaida.
Although secession of the oil-producing South Sudan’s will no doubt bring economic returns to Ethiopia, mainly on investment, trade, oil and electricity, Addis Ababa however is not certain if the new neighbour could endanger state security.
A number of Ethiopia’s anti-government forces and separatist movements like ONLF who are inspired by South Sudan’s secession could make the new state a safe heaven to carrying out attacks against Ethiopia unless the neighbours establish a joint cooperation agreement on state and border security.