Addis Ababa, May 15, 2021 – (EthioHeadlines) – The Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) has detained three Chinese nationals. OLA released a statement through its spokesperson, Odaa Tarbi. The statement in part reads, “we have detained three Chinese nationals involved in mining operations around Mendi, West Welega.”
OLA statement is posted on twitter and is said to have been sent to media groups. The statement blames mining companies as having been culprits “for the displacement of many farming communities” without “adequate” compensation. OLA alleges that while the “environmental impacts” of these mining were “costly”, mining companies made “no effort” to mitigate health problems of the local population.
The statement, further, refers to a September 3, 2020 statement issued by the OLA warning the mining companies that any contract agreed with the Abiy government is “null and void” after October 10, 2020. According to OLA, that previous statement renders any company operating in the mining fields after the said date “illegal.”
Detention of the said Chinese nationals has not be confirmed by a neutral body. No verifiable source has reported of any missing Chinese nationals in Oromia. The OLA statement assures that the detained Chinese nationals “are all in safe hands and in good health.”
It should be noted that controversies surrounding mining fields in Western and Southern Oromia abound. Verified reports have previously indicated that the local population benefits nothing from the mining fields. On the contrary, local populations reportedly “suffered from an inexplicably high frequency of debilitating diseases and illnesses.” Repeated miscarriages, stillbirth, inability to walk, and other severe health issues are reported.
It is to be recalled that “nine … Chinese oil workers were killed, seven Chinese workers were kidnapped and 65 Ethiopians were killed” in April 2007 when the Ogaden National Liberation Front stormed a Chinese operated oilfield in Abole, Somali regional state. The detained Chinese workers were released to the International Committee of the Red Cross on April 29, 2007, five days after they were captured.