Abole oil field raid

Infobox terrorist attack
title=Abole oil field raid

caption=Map of Ethiopia highlighting the Somali region.
location=Abole, Somali Region, Ethiopia
target=Abole oil field
date=April 24, 2007
time=6:00 amcite web |url= http://www.china-embassy.org/eng/xw/t314025.htm|title= China strongly condemns attack on Chinese oil company site in Ethiopia|publisher=Embassy of People's Republic of China in the United States of America|date=2007-04-25|accessdate=2007-04-25]
fatalities=65 Ethiopian workers
9 Chinese workers
7 Chinese workers taken hostage.
The Abole oil field raid occurred in the early morning of April 24 2007 when gunmen of the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) attacked a Chinese oil company's premises in the town of Abole, 30 km (18 miles) northwest of Degehabur, in the Somali Region of Ethiopia, killing 74 people, including nine Chinese workers working for the Zhongyuan Petroleum Exploration Bureau under the China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (Sinopec). [cite news|url=http://www.mfa.gov.et/Press_Section/Newsletter.php?Page=Press_Statements/Letter_BBC_May_04_2007.htm |title=A letter sent to BBC by Ministry of Foreign Affairs of FDRE|publisher=Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia|date=2007-04-30|accessdate=2007-06-19] cite news|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/6588055.stm|title=Scores die in Ethiopia oil attack |publisher=BBC News|date=2007-04-24|accessdate=2007-04-25] [cite news|url=http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2007-04/24/content_6022126.htm|title=9 Chinese workers killed by gunmen in Ethiopia's Somali state|publisher=Xinhua News Agency|date=2007-04-24|accessdate=2007-04-24] .

The massacre shocked the public and many became worried it might push away foreign investors from coming to the country. Most of the Ethiopians killed in the massacre were daily laborers, guards and other support staff. Some members of the Ethiopian security officials were also killed during the surprise attack. It was the largest single attack committed by ONLF.cite news|url=http://www.garoweonline.com/artman2/publish/Africa_22/Ethiopia.shtml|title= Ethiopia:Oil companies suspend operations |publisher=Garowe Online|date=2007-04-28|accessdate=2007-04-28]

The Abole attack came just as Ethiopian forces in Mogadishu were involved in fierce fighting with Somali insurgents.cite web |url= http://hrw.org/reports/2008/ethiopia0608/9.htm#_Toc200167135|title= Collective Punishment: War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity in the Ogaden area of Ethiopia's Somali Regional State|publisher=Human Rights Watch|date=June 2008|accessdate=2008-10-01]


A June 2008 Human Rights Watch (HRW) report gave detailed information of the raid. According to it, hundreds of ONLF fighters attacked the oil installation before dawn, quickly overpowering the 50 or so Ethiopian Army troops protecting the site during a 30-minute gunbattle. After routing the soldiers, the ONLF fighters entered the oil installation, willfully killing approximately 65 Ethiopian nationals, most of them laborers, and nine Chinese technicians.

According to eyewitnesses, many of the Ethiopian workers and Chinese technicians were shot at point-blank range, when the fighters entered accommodation tents and found people trying to hide on the ground. Some were lined up outside their quarters and summarily executed. The victims included the camp nurse and three female cooks.


On April 27 2007, an Ethiopian government spokesperson reported that ONLF rebels had detonated a "grenade," killing one person who was attending a funeral of a family member killed during the prior attack. [ [http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/04/27/africa/AF-GEN-Ethiopia-Explosion.php "Ethiopian rebels attack family mourning victim of earlier rebel assault,"] , "Associated Press", April 27, 2007] On April 29, seven Chinese oil workers kidnapped by the ONLF were released and handed to the Red Cross, Red Cross officials and the rebels said. One Somali and an Ethiopian oil worker were also released, an Ogaden National Liberation Front spokesman said, adding all were in good health.cite web |url= http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/6605561.stm|title= Chinese workers freed in Ethiopia|publisher=BBC|date=2007-04-29|accessdate=2007-04-29] The Human Rights Watch reported that a third Ethiopian worker kidnapped by the ONLF, an ethnic Somali, was not released by the ONLF and was feared dead.

In June 2007, the Ethiopian military massed troops in the Ogaden and vowed "to hunt down" the rebels. They began this effort by closing all roads into the region to commercial and humanitarian traffic. [Connors, Will. " [http://www.slate.com/id/2173264 Why we don't hear about the conflict in the Ogaden] ," "Slate Magazine", Sept. 5, 2007.] Prime Minister Meles Zenawi announced on June 9, 2007, that the Ethiopian government had commenced a large-scale offensive to suppress the ONLF rebellion, and brought large numbers of military reinforcements into the Somali region.


*. [cite news
title=O.N.L.F. Statement On Military Operation Against Illegal Oil Facility In Ogaden
publisher=Ogaden Online
*flagicon|Ethiopia The Ethiopian Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi, denounced the attack as "cold-blooded murder". In addition to the ruling party, opposition parties in parliament also condemned it as a massacre. [ [http://uedpmedhin.org/Massacre.pdf UEDP condemns 4/23 Massacre] ]
*flagicon|China The government of the People's Republic of China strongly condemned the attack. "The Chinese government strongly condemns this atrocious armed attack, mourns for the Chinese and Ethiopian victims and expresses deep sympathies to their families and those injured in the attack," said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao.
*flagicon|United Kingdom The UK State Secretary for Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Lord David Triesman, denounced the "indiscriminate massacre of innocent Ethiopians and Chinese who were workers of oil exploration project". [cite news
title=Lord Triesman denounces Abule massacre
publisher=Walta Information Center
*A June 2008 Human Rights Watch report denounced the attack as an example of violation the international humanitarian law, which opposes targeting civilian objects.


External links

*cite web |url= http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/BF30AE5A-EA73-4699-869F-D4AF3F64B58E.htm|title= China oilfield in Ethiopia attacked|accessdate=2007-04-25 |date=2007-04-24|work=Aljazeera.net|publisher=Al Jazeera English
*cite web |url= http://www.onlf.org/pressAug062006.htm|title=ONLF Statement On Military Operatio Against Illegal Oil Facility In Ogaden |accessdate=2007-04-25 |date=2007-04-24|work=Onlf.org |publisher=Ogaden National Liberation Front

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