China’s economic growth and its ever-increasing thirsty for energy is the engine that drives the country’s scramble for raw materials across Africa, even in the most remote, unstable and conflict-ravaged corners.

Ogaden, Eastern Ethiopia, and home to ethnic Somali population has been attracting the attention of International Petroleum Corporations, particularly, Chinese-owned Zhogyuan Petroleum Exploration Bureau. Huang Germing, vice-president of another Chinese corporation, Ploy Technology told reporters in Addis Ababa that the production and the pumping of over 40 billion gallons of natural gas is underway, a move likely to reduce the grinding poverty in Ethiopia.


Ethiopia and Ogaden refugees demonstrating at this year’s AU summit in Johannesburg, South Africa.

This prospect of prosperity is hindered by a brutal conflict between Ethiopia and Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), a rebel group fighting for the independence of Ogaden. China seems to value the gallons of gas than the lives of its own citizens.

The Conflict in Ogaden  did not deter China-owned companies from pursuing, what they perceive as lucrative oil and gas industry in the region, often ignoring warnings issued by the ONLF.


?????????????               children waving the Ogaden flag at  AU’s summit earlier this year, in South Africa.

Ethiopia  conducts military crackdown banning independent journalists and the international media from accessing the region. Even Aid Organisations and Doctors Without Borders (MSF) were expelled.

Rights group accuse Ethiopia of heinous crimes and human rights violations in its military operations in the restive Horn of Africa’s Ogaden region.  ONLF in its part claims that it represents the genuine desire of the ethnic Somali population and that the conflict is between an oppressive regime in Addis Ababa and the indigenous population struggling for freedom and independence. Since Ogaden was seceded to Ethiopia in 1945, by the European colonial powers, rebels and successive Ethiopian regimes have been battling over the control of the territory.

The region is impoverished by the conflict and receives little or no development from Addis Ababa, but the Chinese corporations announce their presence in the battle fields, in a bid to extract and export gallons of gas




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