Ethiopia: News Alert - Oromo Liberation Army Says It Detained Three Chinese Nationals "Involved in Mining Operations" in West Wellega

Addis Abeba — The Oromo Liberation Army, OLA, said in a statement that its forces have "detained three Chinese nationals involved in mining operations around Mendi, West Wellega."

There are no reports so far of missing Chinese nationals in the area, and the statement sent to several media outlets this afternoon didn't specify as of when the three were detained, nor the name of the mining company they are affiliated with, but it said "they are all in safe hands and in good health." OLA identified the three Chinese as "Mr Huang, Mr He, Mr Wang."

The statement was also tweeted by Odaa Tarbii, OLA spokesperson.

On May 06 the House of People's Representatives (HoPR) approved a bill presented to it by the council of ministers to designate Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF) and "Shene" as terrorist organizations. Later on the Federal Attorney General Gedion Timotios (PhD) explained to the local media that "Shene" was in reference to the OLA.

In response to the earlier designation by the Council of Ministers , OLA released a statement accusing the federal government of declaring "war on the Oromo people" and vowed to "engage in total war."

In the statement released this afternoon, 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."

The rebel group operating in Oromia also referred to a statement it released on "September 3rd, 2020", in which it said "any contract entered with the Abiy regime became null and void after October 10th, [2020]. Therefore, these mining companies are illegal and must immediately cease their operations." OLA's "October 10" is an apparent reference to the constitutional end of term for the incumbent, which was extended by a year after a recommendation by the Council of Constitutional Inquiry was approved by the House of Federation.

On October 05/2020, President Sahle-Work Zewde announced the start of the incumbent's mandate to govern in her speech delivered to the joint session of the House of People's Representatives (HoPR) and the House of Federation (HoF).

"While we are not anti-development, we are vehemently anti-exploitation and therefore have taken action against this unfair exploitation of natural resources that is being enabled by Ethiopia's ruling tyrannical clique", OLA's statement concluded. AS

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