Ethnic Somali separatists have been fighting government forces in the east of Ethiopia for more than 13 years now, but the long-running conflict has been largely invisible as Addis Ababa has restricted access to the region.There have been numerous clashes between the Ogaden National Liberation Army (ONLF) and the military in recent months, with both sides claiming successes.
"The whole world can now see what they are doing to us. Killing and starving us to death"Elyaas, ONLF field commander
The attack left at least 65 Ethiopians and nine Chinese workers dead.
Addis Ababa says the ONLF is a terrorist organisation that it has little support among the people of the Somali region.It also says that regional rival Eritrea is providing the separatists with assistance.However, the ONLF rejects the claims, telling Al Jazeera that rather than being supplied by Asmara, most of their own clothes and weapons were taken from dead soldiers.Aid agencies have said that people are suffering severe food and medical shortages in Ogaden."There is the possibility of a very serious humanitarian crisis in the region as a consequence of the security situation," John Holmes, the UN humanitarian chief, said.