Page last updated at 14:28 GMT, Monday, 9 March 2009

Ethiopia ONLF rebels 'seize town'


Rebels in Ethiopia fighting for the independence of the Somali-speaking Ogaden region say they have captured a town in the east of the country.

The Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) said it had seized Mustahil and was also fighting for the towns of Wardheer and Khalavo.

It said at least 80 Ethiopian soldiers had been killed.

An Ethiopian government spokesman told the BBC the reports were absolutely false and the ONLF was on the run.

On Saturday, the Ogaden rebels said they had killed more than 20 Ethiopian troops in recent fighting, a report also denied by the authorities in Addis Ababa.

The ONLF, founded in 1984, says the Somali-speaking population in Ethiopia's oil-rich Ogaden region has been marginalised by Addis Ababa.

Ethiopia's military launched an offensive against the ONLF after its fighters attacked a Chinese-run oil venture in Ogaden in 2007, killing dozens of people, including nine Chinese nationals.

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