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Ethiopia’s Exploitation of Ogaden’s Resources, Land and People

On behalf of the Ogaden people, Resolve Ogaden Coalition unconditionally condemns the exploitation of the Ogaden region and its natural resources. Furthermore, we urge all foreign oil companies – especially the Chinese oil and gas company PetroTrans – to refrain from undertaking any oil exploration missions in the Ogaden.


It is imperative that PetroTrans and the Government of China know that the Ogaden region has been the center of conflict and government repression for more than a century. Successive Ethiopian governments have undertaken one scorched earth campaign after another in the Ogaden and have thus turned it into a military outpost where respect for human rights and the rule of law do not apply. Currently, government forces and state-sponsored militias known as “Liyuu Police” are indiscriminately targeting civilians.


Atrocities ranging from the destruction and relocation of entire villages, mass rape, torture, and the indiscriminate killings and detention of civilians are widespread in Ogaden. As a result, Ogaden  remains as one of the world’s most underdeveloped and repressed regions.


In April 2007 the Ogaden National Liberation lunched an unprecedented attack on an oil field located in Oble Ogaden operated by a Chinese company, “China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation(Sinopec)”, the attack came after multiple warnings were issued to all oil companies attempting to drill in the Ogaden. Unfortunately, the warnings were not heeded and what followed were the destruction of the oil facility and the deaths of nine Chinese citizens. This was both unfortunate and unintentional but could have been avoided if Sinopec had respected the rights of the Ogaden people. Subsequently the attack led to multiple oil companies such as Petronas, from Malaysia, and Lundin Petroleum, base in Sweden, to abandon their contracts as Ethiopia could not guarantee their security after the Oble incident.


Resolve Ogaden Coalition firmly believes that there can be a political solution to the Ogaden conflict. The Ogaden National Liberation Front, has on numerous occasions stressed the importance of there being dialogue with the Ethiopian government in a neutral country and an objective and neutral third-party mediator. But the current government, led by  Meles Zenawi, has repeatedly refused to engage in peaceful talks with the ONLF opting instead in gimmicks and fake peace deals with entities that do not represent the people of Ogaden.

Ogaden thus remains a battle zone, and until the Ogaden people’s right to self-determination is recognized, we urge PetroTrans to cease all oil exploration operations in the Ogaden and to recognize the plight of the people.

A responsible company like PetroTrans should not let its name to be tarnished with profits they gain from contested and repressed regions such as the Ogaden. We would like to remind PetroTrans that the revenues raised from their oil exploration in Ogaden will be used to enhance the Ethiopian government’s campaign of terror in the Ogaden.

We hope PetroTrans will heed our call and advice before another avoidable catastrophe, like the one in Obole 2007, takes place in Ogaden due to their intransigence which puts profits before human rights.

Resolve Ogaden Coalition

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