by Engidu Woldie
ESAT News (November 17, 2017)
Residents of towns near a gold mine in Shakiso, Southern Ethiopia, took to the streets in tens of thousands opposing the extension of a contract to a billionaire digging gold on their turf.
One of the organizers of the demonstration who spoke to ESAT said the locals object the 10 year extension of contracts to Mohammed Hussein Al Amoudi, an Ethiopian born Saudi billionaire, saying the gold mine did not benefit the impoverished community in its 20 years of operation.
Al Amoudi, whose worth is 10.3 billion, is one of Saudi businessmen who were put under arrest in the Kingdom’s crackdown on corruption. Several princes, ministers and businessmen were arrested and detained at the Ritz Carlton hotel in Riyadh two weeks ago as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman began taking swift measures following King’s Salman’s order to combat corruption and the establishment of anti-corruption commission.
Al Amoudi owns Ethiopia’s biggest gold fields for the last 20 years. On top of gold, he was granted vast agricultural land and bought publicly owned enterprises which was attributed to his close relationship with TPLF tyrants and oligarchs who control the politics and the economy of the country for nearly three decades.
Students and residents from all walks of life in these rural towns of Didola, Abalo, Dila, and those who reside near the MIDROC gold fields came out in tens of thousands for their voices to be heard. They said that the Sheik, who has dug out tons of gold, has done nothing to help the destitute community. An organizer told ESAT that not a single project has been done by the Sheik to benefit the community.
The demonstrators also denounce the TPLF regime which they blamed for the sorry state of affairs they are in.
A representative said the residents have submitted their demands to the powers that be and would move to the next step if they did not get a favorable response.