NEWS: OROMO LIBERATION ARMY SAYS IT DETAINED TWO AFGHANI EMPLOYEES OF A MINING COMPANY IN WEST WOLLEGA; ZONAL ADMIN REFUTES CLAIMS
Addis Abeba, June 17/2021 –(addisstandard)— The Oromo Liberation Army, OLA, said in a statement that its forces have “detained two Afghani nationals working for Moon Rock Mining and Marble Development PLC in western Oromia.” The statement didn’t specify as of when the two were detained, but it said “they are all in safe hands and in good health.” OLA identified two Afghani nationals as “Said Hashim and Said Abubaker.”
ጉድ ነው ዘንድሮ! Where is the government @ShimelisAbdisa are there any laws? What right does the OLA group have to arrest anyone! Shouldn’t any armed group be defined as terrorist?
— Nigat Ashenafi (@AshenafiNigat) May 15, 2021
This is the second round of announcement made by the OLA about detaining foreign nationals who work for mining companies in the area. Three Chinese nationals who were later reportedly released and handed over to representatives of ICRC were similarly detained for “their involvement in mining operations around Mendi, West Wollega.” In the statement released in May, the OLA accused mining companies operating in this area of being “responsible for the displacement of many farming communities that were not adequately compensated,” adding that “the environmental impact of these mining operations has been very costly and that there has been no effort put into mitigating the effects these operations have had on the health of surrounding communities.”
“WE WILL CONTINUE TO ENFORCE A BAN ON THESE OPERATIONS UNTIL SUCH A TIME THAT A GOVERNMENT WITH A LEGITIMATE MANDATE FROM THE PEOPLE CAN THOROUGHLY REFORM THIS SECTOR.”
“The OLA will not permit the continued state-sanctioned exploitation of natural resources at the cost of local communities in Oromia.” it recapitulated, further accusing the mining companies of inflicting negative environmental and health impact on surrounding communities. “We will continue to enforce a ban on these operations until such a time that a government with a legitimate mandate from the people can thoroughly reform this sector.” the OLA said.
The OLA said it detained the Afghani nationals in Mana Sibu district of West Oromia. However, the Zonal Administrator of Wollega Zone told Addis Standard that “There are no OLA activities in our zone. There is no mining company by that name and there are no Afghani nationals in our zone.” Addis Standard’s attempt to reach out to Moon Rock Mining and Marble Development PLC was to no avail. The Spokesperson’s office of Ethiopia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs told Addis Standard over the phone that the ministry has no knowledge of the incident. AS