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Sale of PETRONAS assets to South West Energy

Press Release

October 7, 2010

The Ogaden national Liberation Front sees the so-called sale of “PETRONAS” concessions in the Ogaden to South West Energy (a Tigray TPLF owned enterprise) as a face-saving measure intended to hide Ethiopia’s incapacity to resolve the conflict in the Ogaden in a just way, peacefully through a negotiated settlement.

First, this act is a continuation of the previous practices of concessions granted to oil companies while systematically subjecting the ogaden people to deprivation and inhuman crimes in order to force them to forgo any rights to their land and resources. However, the difference now is that multinationals from abroad had seen through Ethiopia false claims of controlling the Ogaden and had opted out of the Ogaden. Therefore, the regime had been forced to hide behind its own company in order to cover up its inability to guarantee to companies access to what it does not own or control. Ethiopia’s plan was to resort to scorched earth policy and mass transgression of the Human Rights of the Ogaden people, in order to loot and usurp the Ogaden Somali people of their land and natural resources.

Ethiopia sliced the whole Somali territory into 21 blocks and auctioned it without regard to the wishes and wellbeing of Ogaden people or the precarious ecology of the land. No other part of the so-called Ethiopia was subjected to such an inhuman and avaricious practice.

Secondly, South West Energy is a company owned by the TPLF regime and its presence in the Ogaden is considered as an extension of the regime in the Ogaden and will not be tolerated. This regime has previously massacred innocent people civilians in the Ogaden in order to facilitate for South West Energy to exploit Fossil fuel resources in the Ogaden and the Ogaden people hold this company equally responsible for the crimes committed against them.

Thirdly, the Ethiopian regime has closed all doors for a negotiated settlement of the Ogaden conflict, by engaging in deceitful practices, and claiming reaching meaningless peace deals with forged ONLF faction and other irrelevant groups. Consequently, the Ogaden will remain a war zone until Ethiopia changes its intransigent stand and accepts a genuine peace process under the auspices of a third credible international party. Therefore, companies that engage in oil exploration in the Ogaden are putting themselves in harm’s way, since collateral damages from the warring parties or other forms of insecurity are highly probable.

Finally, ONLF calls upon all interested parties in exploiting the natural resources of the Ogaden to invest in just efforts that could encourage the international community to take decisive actions that will protect the rights of the Ogaden people and bring peace instead of fuelling the conflict by replenishing the coffers of the aggressor, the Ethiopian regime.

Ogaden National Liberation Front

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