Ethiopians say Ogaden rebels did not capture towns

By Incorrect Author 17 November 2009

Ethiopia has denied that rebels of the Ogaden National Liberation Front have seized seven towns near the border with neighbouring Somalia. The militant group, which has been fighting since 1984 for autonomy for the ethnic Somali Ogaden region, said earlier it had taken the towns after fierce battles with the Ethiopian army. The Ethiopian government now says the ONLF was repelled by local militias and that no Ethiopian soldiers had been killed. Various international companies are exploring the Ogaden for oil, but in 2007 rebels attacked a field explored by a subsidiary of Sinopec, China's biggest refiner and petrochemicals producer, killing 74 people. Somalia and Ethiopia have fought several wars over the Ogaden, so with the region being Ethiopia's most promising for mineral resources, and with Somalia in chaos, it looks set to become a focal point of conflict. Read more: Reuters, afrol News

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