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Thursday, August 19, 1999 Published at 14:35 GMT 15:35 UK

World: Africa

Ethiopia says Oromo rebels crushed

The Ethiopians claim they have killed OLF leader

The Ethiopian Government says it has crushed a key group of Oromo rebels in the east of the country and killed a senior commander.

Battle in the horn
The defence ministry in Addis Ababa said Ethiopian forces had "annihilated" a group from the Oromo Liberation Front which had been launching attacks from Somalia.

The government statement said that since 10 August, 180 rebels had been captured and more than 300 killed, including OLF commander Boreda Birru.

OLF spokesman Abiju Geleta: "The claim is just a wild dream"
There has been no independent confirmation of these statements.

The OLF spokesman in Washington, Abiju Geleta told the BBC the claim was just "a wild dream".

Ethiopia says the OLF has been supported by Eritrea and backed by Somali faction leader Hussein Aideed.

There have also been reports that Ethiopian troops have been sent into Somalia in pursuit of groups hostile to Addis Ababa.

Ethiopia and Eritrea have been involved in a fierce border conflict since May last year.

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