Sunday July 1, 2018
The rebel Ogaden National Liberation Front repeated its pledge to interrupt oil and gas extraction in Ethiopia’s Somali region after the Government announced plans to test crude deposits.The Ogaden has been disputed for decades. In 2007, ONLF attacked a Chinese-run oilfield in the area, killing 71 Chinese and Ethiopians workers. ONLF was established in August 1984 with its headquarters in Kuwait.
“As long as the Somali region people don’t get autonomy and the long-standing dispute between the Somali people and the Ethiopian government is not resolved, the oil extraction is like exploitation of the people’s resource,” ONLF spokesperson Abdulkadir Hassan Adani told BBC Somali.
China’s POLY-GCL Petroleum Group Holdings Ltd was set to start oil tests on June 28 and gas reserves are estimated to be 6 to 8 trillion cubic feet. There is a $4-billion plan to build a pipeline to a liquefaction plant in Djibouti.
The latest round of talks between Ethiopian officials and ONLF leaders were held as recently as February. ONLF welcomes Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s call for inclusive dialogue, the spokesperson said. Rebel commander Abdikarim Muse Qalbi Dhagah, arrested by the Government in August, was freed last week as part of a general amnesty for political prisoners. The Government is preparing a law to end the designation of the OLF and other groups as terrorist organizations, according to Fana Broadcasting Corporation.