On August 3rd 2011, Resolve Ogaden Coalition published an open statement warning all oil companies, namely the Chinese Oil and Gas Company PetroTrans, from exploiting the rich natural resources in the disputed and repressed Ogaden region of eastern Ethiopia.
Nearly a year later, we are pleased to learn that yet another oil company has failed to illegally exploit our regions extensive natural gas fields.
Ethiopia’s Mines Minister revealed earlier this week that the government had indeed revoked PetroTrans’ production-sharing agreement due to lack of investment from PetroTrans.
The Ogaden region remains a hotbed for government repression and human rights violations and has been the center of armed conflict for over a century. The region continues to be a site where journalists, human rights advocates and non-governmental organizations have been denied access. Therefore, it is no surprise that PetroTrans could not fulfill its exploration agreement on the ground.
Nevertheless, the Ethiopian government continues to mislead foreign investors into thinking that region is safe to operate in. Multiple human rights organizations, including Human Rights Watch, have published detailed reports of human rights violations ranging from indiscriminate arrest, torture, rape, looting and the burning of entire villages which have been verified by satellite images produced by Human Rights Watch and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
Furthermore, local armed militias created and sponsored by the Ethiopian government have exacerbated the instability and human rights violations in the region. These militias, known by the locals as “Liyuu Police,” are widely known for looting, kidnapping, burning villages’livestock and inciting inner clan violence. Locals, along with international human rights organizations, have compared “Liyuu Police” to the notorious Janjaweed militias in Darfur who have carried out similar genocidal acts.
Resolve Ogaden Coalition