British National Killed in Restive Ethiopian Region

Ogaden region
Ogaden region in Ethiopia

By Jason McLure

April 9 (Bloomberg) — A British national working for IMC Geophysics International Ltd. was killed in Ethiopia’s restive Ogaden region earlier this week, the British Embassy said.

“We can confirm a British national was killed on April 5 near Danot town in the Warder area of the Somali region,” Gavin Cook, a spokesman for the embassy, said in a phone interview today from Addis Ababa, the capital. He declined to identify the person, who he said was killed on April 5.

The killing was an “act of banditry,” Deutsche Presse- Agentur reported, citing Ethiopian Communications Minister Bereket Simon. Bereket didn’t answer calls to his mobile phone when Bloomberg News rang him seeking comment.

In April 2007, the Ogaden National Liberation Front, an ethnic Somali separatist group known as the ONLF, attacked a Chinese-run oil exploration site in the Ogaden, killing 65 Ethiopian and nine Chinese workers.

Ethiopia claimed the Ogaden region in the late 19th century through a series of agreements with Italy and the U.K., which colonized much of modern-day Somalia. Ethnic Somalis from the Ogaden clan have opposed Ethiopian rule.

The ONLF denied it was involved in the attack on the Briton.

“We are not responsible,” Abdi Rahman Abdi, a spokesman for the group, said in a phone interview today from London. “Our liberation army has got clear instructions they should not target expatriates in the Ogaden.”