Ethiopia Expels Red Cross

July 25th, 2007 Print Print Email Email

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia – Ethiopia on Tuesday gave the Red Cross one week to leave the Ogaden region in the country’s volatile east, accusing the aid group of talking to rebels operating in the area. (more…)

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia – Ethiopia on Tuesday gave the Red Cross one week to leave the Ogaden region in the country’s volatile east, accusing the aid group of talking to rebels operating in the area.


The Red Cross workers “are interfering with the political situation,” said Jama Ahmed, a vice president of the Somali region. “They are talking to the rebel groups. We have many kinds of evidence. If they review their actions and they apologize and they promise only to stick to humanitarian activities, they are welcome (to come back).”

Calls to the Addid Ababa office of the Red Cross, which has been conducting water and sanitation projects in eastern Ethiopia, were not immediately returned.

The Ogaden National Liberation Front rebels, ethnic Somalis who have been fighting the government for more than a decade, earlier accused Ethiopia of blockading aid to their region near the Somali border for nearly two months and called for a U.N. investigation.

Ethiopia announced a crackdown on the rebels in June, two months after the ONLF attacked a Chinese-run oil exploration field, killing 74 people.

The U.N. World Food Program said Tuesday that the military operations are hampering the delivery of humanitarian aid, but the government is not blockading shipments.

The ONLF is fighting to overthrow the government for what it says are human rights abuses in the eastern Ogaden region of Ethiopia and to establish greater autonomy.

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