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Eritrean rebels warn Australian mining firm against gold exploration

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By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

March 28,2015 (ADDIS ABABA) – An Eritrean rebel group on Saturday warned an Australian mining firm against gold, gas and other natural resource exploration in the Red Sea nation.

Eritrea, which borders Sudan and Ethiopia, has been dubbed the North Korea of Africa (HRW)

The Red Sea Afar Democratic Organisation (RSADO) rebel group accused the Australian South Boulder Mines Ltd of partnering with the Eritrean government to illegally exploit resources of the Afar’s region of Danakil, stressing it caused environmental damage on their traditional homeland.

The project “is forcibly removing the indigenous Afar community in Eritrea from their homeland and caused a devastating impact because their economic, social and cultural survival is deeply linked to their traditional land,” said a statement issued by a special committee delegated by RSADO to investigate the alleged humanitarian situation caused by South Boulder Mines.

“For the Red Sea Afar People, land is central to their cultural and social well-being,” the statement added.

The rebel group warned the company to stop its economic partnerships with the Eritrean government and leave the Afar Region (Dankalia) immediately.

Otherwise, the group threatened to launch retaliation attacks against the foreign company.

“Failure to refuse or ignore our call will result in detrimental action against your Project,” the rebels said in a statement also copied to Paul Donaldson, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of the Australian company in Eritrea.
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The rebels said some foreign multinational corporations violate sanctions by the United Nations and the African Union on the Eritrean regime and sign mining exploration agreements with Asmara government which they accused of “systematically killing its people unlawfully and arbitrarily”.

They further accused the South Boulder Mines Company of disrespect for human rights laws and disgraces to the UNSC, AU, EU resolutions and the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights as well as the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

In the past, RSADO has routinely alleged victories against government army in an on and off cross-border attacks it launches from Ethiopian borders where it operates.

But, Asmara repeatedly dismissed those allegations further accusing its long-time arch-foe Ethiopia of harbouring and supporting the exiled rebels.

(ST)

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