Monday, May 6, 2013
Ethiopia frees detained rebels on pardon grant
The Ethiopian government said that it released 74 leaders and members of little known rebel group, the Benshangul People’s Liberation Movement (BPLM) this week.
The move was part of a peace agreement signed last year between the Ethiopian government and the Benishangul rebels after more than two years of negotiations.
Kalayu Gebrehiwot, general director of conflict prevention and management within the federal affairs ministry said other remaining exiled members of the group are also expected to return home.
The group has in the past carried out a number of attacks in different parts of the Benishangul region bordering neighboring Sudan.
It has been reported that the released rebel members have expressed remorse for their previous actions and promised to actively engage in developmental activities.
According to the peace pact, the BPLM faction agreed to lay down their arms and end their armed struggle.
The rebel group had been active in the Benishanguel region for the past 17 years.
The agreement is believed to relieve the fears of possible attacks from the rebel group against the massive power plant, the grand renaissance dam, which Ethiopia is building on the Blue Nile River.
In recent years the Ethiopian government has reached a peace agreement with a faction of separatist group, Ogaden Peoples Liberation Front, as well as with the United Western Somali Liberation Front (UWSLF)