Officials in Ethiopia say they will not prosecute an Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) commander, Gollicha Dhenge, after he defected to the government.This is despite the long-standing reports of human rights violations by the OLA.
"It's the acts of this group that mean it has been designated as a terrorist group. Any one individual who opposes these acts and abandons the group will not be held accountable," spokesman of Oromia state Getachew Balcha told the BBC.
Mr Gollicha, who fought for the the OLA for over 27 years including 10 years leading the southern command, is the biggest name so far to lay down arms following a call from government and traditional leaders.
Both the OLA and the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), in the north of the country, have been designed terrorist groups by the Ethiopian authorities.
They recently formed an alliance to fight against the government despite being former enemies.
Mr Gollicha has called on others to lay down their arms, and told the BBC he disagreed with other OLA leaders over the TPLF alliance and other matters, saying: "I decided not to be part of bad history."
In a statement, the OLA said Mr Gollicha had not been a commander for over a year.