Letter to President and CEO of Africa Oil Corporation

By Mohamed Heebaan

Mr. Keith Hill, President and CEO,

Africa Oil Corporation

Suite2000 – 885 West Georgia Street

Vancouver,British Columbia

CanadaV6C 3E8


Dear Mr. Hill,

We are writing to you to express our extreme sadness about your decision to involve your company in oil and gas exploration in the Ogaden.  This was a bad move.  We respect and understand that Africa Oil like any other corporation has every right to invest its capital to make profit for itself and for its shareholders.  However making a profit at the expense of oppressed and terrorized people is unconscionable.


In 1887 the Abyssinian (Ethiopian) forces conquered Harar, the long time capital of the Ogaden.  Within days of their capture of Harar, the invading Ethiopians converted the largest mosque of Harar into church and unleashed one of the worst massacres in modern times, so much so that the blood of the innocent drenched the streets of the historic city.  After more than 120 years of occupation, the mosque turned church still stands as a symbol of oppression and subjugation!

From their new centre in Harar, the Ethiopian rulers sent forays of terror, killing and pillaging throughout the Ogaden region.  Outgunned and outnumbered, the Somalis of Ogaden nevertheless used whatever they could put their hands on, and resisted the occupation in every way possible.

Take for instance the story of a young man named Abdi Koshin who in 1898 witnessed firsthand the Ethiopian terror and destruction in the Ogaden.  Bound by sense of duty to defend his people, but bereft of any form of modern weapon, Abdi Koshin grabbed a  knife, and with a bit planning and sheer audacity attacked the commander of the invading Ethiopians, slashed his belly so ferociously that the commanders stomach and internal organs fell to the ground, killing him instantly!  Being in the midst of the Ethiopian forces, the young man had no way of escaping.  He was therefore quickly apprehended  and killed on the spot.  His bravery however became a legend!  And from that day on, he is simply known by his nickname Uurdoox, the- gut-slasher.  82 years later, Uurdoox’s grandson, Mohmed Diiriye Uurdoox became the General Secretary of the Western Somali Liberation Front, the forerunner of the ONLF.  In other words, the resistance to the Ethiopian occupation remained consistent and unbroken that every generation passed the torch of the resistance to the next.  And today, those who are leading the struggle in the battlefield and in the diaspora are the great, great, great grand children of the first generation that suffered the Ethiopian oppression and subjugation.

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