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Cablegate: Ngo Vehicle Hits Landmine in Ogaden Region Of

VZCZCXRO9046
PP RUEHROV
DE RUEHDS #2415 2140944
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 020944Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7272
RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS ADDIS ABABA 002415

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR DS/IP/AF, AF/E, DS/DSS/ITA, CA/OCS/ACS AND PRM
LONDON, PARIS, ROME FOR AFRICA WATCHER
CJTF-HOA AND USCENTCOM FOR POLAD

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ASEC PREF MOPS ET
SUBJECT: NGO VEHICLE HITS LANDMINE IN OGADEN REGION OF
ETHIOPIA - 3 KILLED

REF: ADDIS ABABA 2375 (AND PREVIOUS)

1. (U) SUMMARY: On July 29, a vehicle belonging to a
nongovernmental organization traveling in the Ogaden area
of Ethiopia's Somali Region hit a landmine, resulting in
three killed. The landmine incident occurred in an area
where the Ethiopian military is conducting ongoing military
operations against suspected Ogaden National Liberation
Front (ONLF) rebels. END SUMMARY.

2. (U) On July 29, a vehicle belonging to a local NGO, the
Ogaden Welfare and Development Association (OWDA), hit a
landmine while traveling in the Ogaden area of Ethiopia,
resulting in three passengers killed. OWDA works in the
region as an implementing partner for Save the Children,
and receives some support from USAID. All casualties were
Ethiopian nationals employed by OWDA.

3. (U) This incident occurred in the remote and volatile
Ogaden area of the Ethiopia's Somali Region, in the
proximity of Degehamedo located in Degehabur Zone. This
area is located approximately 250 miles from Addis Ababa.
The vehicle struck the landmine while traveling on an
unpaved road, approximately 35 miles off the main road in
the vicinity of Fik. Additional details regarding this
incident are unknown, and will be reported as they are made
available.

4. (U) Due to the non-permissive security environment
throughout the Ogaden, Post already has a policy
restricting official and personal travel by mission
personnel to the Somali Region. Ethiopia's consular
information sheet also cautions American citizens not to
travel in this region.

5. (SBU) COMMENT: It is difficult to determine who placed
the landmine. NGOs operating in the Ogaden assess that
Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) rebels have been
placing landmines in order to target vehicles belonging to
the Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF), as ENDF
vehicles are currently the primary ones on the roads in the
Ogaden, due to restrictions on commercial vehicular traffic
imposed as part of the ENDF's ongoing counterinsurgency.
The ENDF is currently engaged in military/security
operations throughout the Ogaden in an effort to neutralize
threats posed by the ONLF. The Degehabur and Fik Zones
remain volatile areas, as they are two of the five zones in
the Somali Region where military operations are ongoing
against the ONLF. END COMMENT.

YAMAMOTO

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