5 July 2011

The Ethiopian regimes claims that 15 ONLF fighters were killed and others captured along with the two Swedish journalists targeted by the regime has no basis in reality. No ONLF forces have been killed in any engagement related to this incident nor are there any ONLF fighters in the regimes custody as a result of their attack on the two Swedish photojournalists.

The fact of the matter is that the Swedish photojournalists accompanied by their guides had not yet reached ONLF forces when they were attacked. Four of the guides are missing and ONLF high command believes that the Ethiopian Army may have summarily executed them. ONLF intelligence have confirmed that none of them are held by the Ethiopian Army or security as prisoners.

The Ethiopian regime knew full well that attacking the journalists and their guides would endanger the lives of those innocent civilians. As such, this attack is nothing less than an act of State sponsored terrorism perpetrated against journalists seeking to expose the atrocities committed against the people of Ogaden by the Ethiopian regime.

The ONLF is fully aware of the fact that the regional authorities in Puntland provided the Ethiopian regime with critical intelligence allowing them to target the transport convoy carrying the two Swedish photojournalists. As such, Puntland is complicit in this attack which resulted in the wounding of these photojournalists. The Swedes were immediately removed from the area by the Ethiopian regime in order to avoid a potential ONLF rescue mission.

The photojournalists have no hope of receiving a fair trial at the hands of the Ethiopian regime and the ONLF has every reason to believe that it is the intention of the Ethiopian regime to make examples of these photojournalists with a mock trial designed to discourage future journalists from seeking to report the war crimes taking place against our people in Ogaden by this regime. An evidence of this evil intention I the false accusing of Johan Persson, claiming that he entered Ethiopia three times, one of which he was deported. The matter of the fact is that the journalist whom they departed was called Jonathan Alpeyrie and is American not Swedish. This is a calculated ruse intended to justify this callous act perpetrated against innocent journalists who only alleged crime is to try to find the truth in Ogaden and use as evidence in coming kangaroo court, in which Ethiopia intends to humiliate the valiant and honourable journalist*.

The ONLF once again calls on the international community to pressure Ethiopia to release these journalists immediately so they can be reunited with their families. We further urge independent journalists to continue to seek the truth and challenge the Ethiopian regimes news and humanitarian blockade of Ogaden.

Finally, ONLF request all international journalists to standby their colleagues and boycott the Ethiopian regime propaganda news until it releases the aggrieved journalists

Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF)


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