On August 11, 2021, the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) announced that it has entered into a military alliance with the Tigray Defense Forces (TDF) with OLA’s leader, Kumsa Diriba, expressing their shared goal as “overthrowing this government (GoE) militarily”. OLA and TPLF (which controls TDF) are recognized as terrorist organizations by the Ethiopian constitution, with TDF existing in a legal lacuna that gives it the flexibility to work openly with American, European, and regional organizations.
So far, OLA and TDF have not been able to physically meet in Ethiopia, which means that their agreement was negotiated outside the country, and their combat operations are coordinated by a coordination center outside Ethiopia. This coordination center enables their leaders to communicate with each other, share battlefield plans, strategize together, receive advice, and coordinate their offensives against ENDF without fear of GoE disrupting their communication channels. In fact, Kumsa Diriba acknowledged that OLA and TDF do “share battlefield information and fight in parallel” though they are “not fighting side by side”, and then hinted at an upcoming political alliance to create an armed political coalition against the Government of Abiy Ahmed Ali.
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