"The Ethiopian government should be held responsible for mass killings, disappearances, rape, arbitrary arrests, torture"

The Ogaden Human Rights Committee
The Front said the government was trying to hide the fact that it had lost control of Ogaden.

"Pursuing oil and natural gas exploration activities in Ogaden at this stage can only be characterised as gross corporate irresponsibility," the the ONLF said in its statement

In the attack on the Chinese-run oilfield, the rebels killed 74 people and kidnapped seven workers.

The rebels says that they are fighting for self-determination for their home region, an arid land of mainly nomadic herders.

Addis Ababa calls the ONLF a terrorist group supported by arch-foe Eritrea, and the army has sent large numbers of troops to the region in an effort to root out the rebels.

Appeal to US, EU

Meanwhile, an Ogaden-based rights group urged the United States and the European Union to intervene to stop what it said were killings, rapes, torture and starvation carried out or caused by Ethiopian troops.

The Ogaden Human Rights Committee, which calls itself independent, urged the United Nations to censure Addis Ababa and to designate a safe haven for those fleeing "senseless carnage."

"The Ethiopian government should be held responsible for mass killings, disappearances, rape, arbitrary arrests, torture," the group said in a report from its Geneva office.

The group claims it had documented 2,395 extra-judicial killings, 1,945 rapes and 3,091 forced disappearances in the region since 1991, when the current government came to power.