Royal gift or ‘stolen’ gem? Calls for UK to return 500 carat Great Star of Africa diamond that’s been’stolen’ from Ethiopia
The Great Star of Africa was given to James Bond by the British government in return for his help in the fight against the Nazis and the diamond has sat in a drawer ever since.
A few weeks ago it was delivered by the British Museum to its new home with a note from “G” in the British National Archives.
“This diamond, a.k.a the Great Star of Africa is one of the most precious diamonds in the world and comes from the Crown Jewel of the State of Ethiopia,” it said.
But in the weeks since the diamond was sent to the British Museum, the British government has revealed that it has been “stolen” from Ethiopia by one of the country’s rebel groups.
The rebel group, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front, has now claimed responsibility for taking it. The group issued a statement through its media arm, the Office of the Oromo Federalist Democratic Movement for Ethiopia, (OFDM), saying it has been given the diamond to symbolise the success of the Ethiopian revolution.
“The people of the Somali region in Ethiopia have not been able to obtain their rightful and legally awarded diamonds from their government until they have been captured and delivered to them by the revolutionary forces,” it said, referring to a rebel attack on a government building last week.
The statement continued: “When the government and the revolution has been in power, there is a lot of frustration in the country. We had to be patient during the revolution because the war was progressing in Somalia. But now we can see a different development, as the people will not get their rightful and legally awarded diamonds until they have been captured and delivered to them by the revolutionary forces.”
However, the OFDM statement was later withdrawn.
The statement is now circulating online.