Ethiopia arrests 8 suspects in oilfield attack

ADDIS ABABA, March 30 Sun Mar 30, 2008 7:50pm BST

ADDIS ABABA, March 30 (Reuters) – Ethiopia said on Sunday security forces had arrested eight men suspected in connection with a deadly rebel raid last year on a Chinese-run oil field.

The state-run Ethiopian News Agency said the detainees belonged to the separatist Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), which killed 74 people during the April 2007 attack in the remote eastern Ogaden region.

It said they were also accused of taking part in a grenade attack in the regional capital, Jijiga, where two people died.

"These suspects in the terror acts had roles ranging from serving as accomplices to coordinating the atrocities committed against civilians," the report said.

It listed eight names and said investigations were continuing, but did not say when or where they were arrested.

The ONLF say they are fighting for autonomy for their ethnically Somali region. Both the government and rebels accuse each other of grave rights abuses, and aid workers say nearly a million people there need humanitarian help. (Reporting by Tsegaye Tadesse; Writing by Daniel Wallis) (For full Reuters Africa coverage and to have your say on the top issues, visit: africa.reuters.com/)