OLA rebels set sugarcane, tractors on fire at Finachaa factory
Nation makes 325,400 tons of sugar a year, uses 700,000 tons
Ethiopian Sugar Corp. said the Horn of Africa nation’s biggest miller of the sweetener has been out of operation since Feb. 9 after an attack by the rebel Oromo Liberation Army.
Finachaa Sugar factory, which has an annual production capacity of 270,000 tons, has seen repeated attacks by the group, according to company spokesperson Reta Demeke. In the latest incident, militia set tractors and sugarcane on fire, forcing operations to be suspended, he added.
“Due to the instability in the area, we were not able to ship fuel to operate the machines,” he said. “We have reported the situation to the relevant government body and are waiting for a response.”
OLA spokesman Odaa Tarbii did not answer several calls to his mobile phone seeking comment.
The factory is located in Horo Guduru Welegga Zone of Oromia Region, 350 kilometers (217 miles) northwest of Addis Ababa, the capital. Since 2020, there have been reports of increased violence in the area along with western Oromia where OLA, which is designated as a terrorist group by the parliament, has been active.
Finachaa is one of the 10 state-run sugar factories undergoing privatization as part of the government’s attempts at opening up the economy to foreign capital. The nation of about 120 million people consumes 700,000 tons of sugar annually, and produces 325,400 tons.
— With assistance by Samuel Gebre