Arbegnoch Ginbot 7 movement is one of the leading Ethiopian opposition groups. It has been struggling to bring about democratic change in Ethiopia and has been employing both armed and non-violent strategies to achieve its goal.
Berhanu Nega, chairman of the movement, and Andargachew Tsige, secretary, were sentenced to death in absentia. In 2014, the secretary of the movement was abducted from Yemen on his way to Eritrea, where the base of the armed wing of the movement was training and operating from and was put on death row and in solitary confinement at least for a year.
This year, Andargachew was released from prison following major leadership change within the ruling party – a process which brought the current prime minister Abiy Ahmed to the front stage to undertake major political reforms in terms of broadening the political space in the country.
It started with releasing political prisoners and Andargachew Tsige was released, though his release specifically caused acute controversy from within the ruling party.
Then, prime minister Abiy Ahmed called on all armed opposition groups to end their armed struggle and return to Ethiopia for a peaceful and legal struggle.
Arbegnoch Ginbot 7(AG7) responded positively, like three other armed opposition groups, to the call for peaceful struggle after evaluating that the political situation in Ethiopia is conducive for a peaceful struggle.
When prime minister Abiy Ahmed visited the United States in late July and early August, he and his team had a closed meeting with leaders of AG7( Berhanu Nega and Andargachew Tsige among others).That is when leaders of the movement reportedly negotiated with government on conditions of ending their armed struggle; one of which was support for the reintegration of armed rebel groups based in Eritrea after closure of military camp.
Last week, AG7 fighters returned to Ethiopia after laying down their arms and closing military camp in Eritrea and the Ethiopian government unveiled a project in the office of the prime minister to reintegrate and demobilize rebel fighter forces.