NAIROBI, Dec 6 (Reuters) – Ethiopia’s Ogaden rebels warned Malaysia’s Petronas [PETR.UL] on Tuesday they would not tolerate oil exploration in their remote eastern region, saying it would link the company to war crimes by the Ethiopian military.
The Malaysian state-owned company is one of more than a dozen international explorers hunting for oil and gas deposits in different parts of the huge Horn of Africa country.
The Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) rebels said that everyone should know that Ogaden was a war zone and the government had no right to sign contracts there.
“We urge Petronas to exercise corporate responsibility and steer clear of Ogaden so long as our people are victims of genocide and their rights to determine their own future are violently denied,” the guerrillas said in a statement.
“To do anything less would be to act as an accomplice to a regime engaged in yet another African genocide.”
The separatist ONLF has long objected to foreign energy companies prospecting in its region, which borders Somalia.
In April 2007, its fighters killed 74 people in a raid on an Ogaden oil exploration field run by a subsidiary of Sinopec (0386.HK: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), China’s biggest refiner and petrochemicals producer. (Reporting by Daniel Wallis, Editing by Peter Blackburn)