Petronas Urged by Ethopian Rebels to Avoid Ogaden
Ethiopia's Ogaden rebels warned Malaysia's Petronas [PETR.UL] on Tuesday they would not tolerate oil exploration in Ethopia's Somali region, saying it would link the company to war crimes by the Ethiopian military.
According to Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), it would not allow the exploration of oil and gas as long as their region remains part of Ethiopia. They also added they would not tolerate the resumption of the activities of Petronas in the oil rich region.
“Petronas and similar companies should consider the damage to their reputation if they effectively enter into a regime engaged in war crimes,” the Ogaden National Liberation Front said in a statement e-mailed to reporters today in the capital, Addis Ababa. “We urge Petronas to exercise corporate responsibility and steer clear” of the Ogaden region.
The warning comes after a Jan. 3 article in The Reporter, an Addis Ababa-based newspaper, which said Petronas had hired a United Arab Emirates-based company to resume exploration in the region.
Ethnic Somali rebels from the ONLF are seeking independence for Ethiopia’s Ogaden region, an arid area twice the size of England largely inhabited by nomads. In April 2007, the group attacked a Petronas exploration site operated by China’s Zhongyuan Petroleum Exploration Bureau, killing nine Chinese workers and 65 Ethiopians.