Saturday, January 30, 2016

At least seven people die in Gambella prison attack

Gambella 3Eye witnesses told that a fierce clash between the Nuer and Anywaa ethnic groups also left scores wounded when hundreds of Nuers attacked a prison called Gambella regional state correctional facility and located in an area locally known as “4 Kilo” in Gambella town.
At least seven people were killed yesterday in Gambella town, south of Ethiopia, during an attempted prison break.
A victim who was stroke by an iron bar on his eye and is admitted to Blue Vision hospital here in Addis Abeba told Addis Standard that the prison cell was “completely overpowered” by dozens of Nuers armed to “their teeth.” “The area feels like it’s stateless,” he said speaking from his hospital bed.
Another eye witness from the town said that currently members of “The federal police & the national defense force are the ones who are in control of the region. The state police are disarmed except [for] a few.”
Clashes started around ten days ago after two individuals belonging to the two tribes quarreled over land. Dozens of Nuers were arrested following the clash that tensions spiraling out of control.
After heavy gun fires that lasted for hours yesterday, calm has returned to the town today, the eye witness said.
Several embassies and foreign organizations based in Ethiopia have issued travel warnings to their staffs following the clashes.

Friday, January 22, 2016

‪#‎OromoProtests‬ today in Addis Ababa during Timket Celebration

‪#‎OromoProtests‬ today in Addis Ababa during Timket Celebration

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Why Ethiopia is making a historic ‘master plan’ U-turn - BBC News

By Mathias Muindi

  • 18 January 2016
  • From the sectionAfrica

Oromo mourners in Ethiopia - December 2015Image copyrightAFP
Image captionRights groups say more than 100 Oromo protesters have been killed November

A controversial plan by the Ethiopian government to expand the capital, Addis Ababa, is set to be scrapped after a key member of the ruling coalition withdrew its support.
The expansion plan sparked deadly violence in the central-southern state of Oromia, which surrounds Addis Ababa.
Rights groups say that at least 150 protesters have died and another 5,000 have been arrested by security forces. Similar protests in May 2014 left dozens of protesters dead.
Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn had vowed on 16 December that his government would be "merciless" towards the protesters, who he described as "anti-peace forces".
However in a surprising move, the Oromo People's Democratic Organisation (OPDO) said on 12 January that it had resolved to "fully terminate" the plan after a three-day meeting.
Rejection of official plans by government members is unprecedented in Ethiopia.
It is also historic, as it could be seen as acknowledging the legitimacy of the protests.


Any form of development the world over is going to upset someone, and the Ethiopian authorities have always said they would consult communities before bulldozing ahead.
But many Oromos, especially in the rural areas, view the expansion as a ploy by other ethnic groups, especially the Tigray and Amhara, to uproot them from their fertile lands under the guise of development.
The Oromo, who constitute about 40% of Ethiopia's 100 million inhabitants, frequently complain that the government is dominated by the Tigray and Amhara who hail from north of the capital.
The governing coalition - the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) - has not yet issued an official statement on the future of its so-called "master plan" for Addis Ababa's expansion.
But the extensive coverage of the OPDO statement by the tightly controlled state TV and pro-government websites indicates that the authorities will abandon it.

Ten armed rebellions

It is also surprising that the OPDO publicly expressed its condolences to bereaved families and pledged to assist those who lost property in the protests.

Someone waves the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front flag in front of a large crowd during an election rally in May 2015, Addis AbabaImage copyrightAFP
Image captionThe ruling EPRDF coalition has been in power since 1991 and brooks little dissent

Such promises signal the depth of concern within the OPDO over the long-term impact of the protests.
The country's political stability is fragile and it faces numerous domestic and international disputes.
Ethiopia has up to 10 domestic armed rebellions, mainly in the regions of Oromia, Tigray and Amhara and Gambella to the west.
There is also long-standing rebel activity in the south-eastern state of Somali, also known as Ogaden.
Besides the border dispute with Eritrea, which sparked a 1999-2000 war, the country shares volatile borders with Somalia and South Sudan.
Pacification of the country's largest ethnic group removes one headache for the authorities.
Continuing the crackdown might have spurred Oromos to join rebel groups active in their region.
As long ago as 2002, late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said Oromo students and opposition activists presented the most serious threat to his government.
So in the face of the large Oromo constituency, the OPDO realised that supporting the master plan undermined its grassroots support and influence within the EPRDF.

Political maturity

It is unclear what impact the move will have on the economy, which is one of the fastest growing in Africa.

Media captionAddis Ababa's new light railway opened in 2015 and about one million people will use it daily when fully operational

Part of this growth is fuelled by state investment in large infrastructural projects.
Despite the impressive development, Ethiopia is ranked 173 out of the 187 nations surveyed in the last UN Human Development Index and has high poverty indexes, mainly related to the rising population.
This has put immense pressure on Ethiopia's natural resources, including land, which has become a flashpoint.
Most of Ethiopia's population is based in the rural areas and engaged in subsistence farming.
The state owns the land, leaving little incentive for farmers to engage in economically viable farming.
Some of the best land has also been leased to foreigners, further fuelling the tensions.
While shelving the plan would be a major retreat for the government, it is a sign of political maturity of the EPRDF, which has consistently been accused by rights groups of being heavy-handed towards dissent since coming to power in 1991.
The step, even if temporary, also removes the rug from under the feet of its numerous critics and will earn it political goodwill from Ethiopia's international supporters, including Western donors.

BBC Monitoring reports and analyses news from TV, radio, web and print media around the world. You can follow BBC Monitoring on Twitter and Facebook.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Geothermal energy an important part of Ethiopia's energy future | Think GeoEnergy - Geothermal Energy News

Geothermal energy development will be a crucial element in Ethiopia’s energy goals to become carbon neutral by 2025.

To achieve its ambitions target to become carbon neutral by 2025, geothermal energy will play a future role in the energy future for Ethiopia, so the International Finance Corporation (IFC).

In a recent news piece, IFC reports that “Ethiopia’s government aims to tap more than 5,000 megawatts of operational geothermal capacity in the coming decades, which will require approximately $20 billion of investment.
IFC is working with Ethiopia’s Ministry of Water, Irrigation, and Electricity and the Ethiopian Electricity Agency to create an investor friendly regulatory environment. IFC is lending support to government to enact regulations to facilitate private developers to engage in geothermal projects. The goal is to harness the private sector’s financial and technical expertise, while ensuring that Ethiopia’s geothermal resources result in broad benefits. Over the coming months, IFC and the Ministry will be reaching out to the private sector and civil society stakeholders for input in the drafting these regulations.
New energy sources are vital as demand for affordable energy rises in Ethiopia. Ethiopia has 2,300 megawatts of already installed power capacity for a population of 90 million. Only 24 percent of the population has access to electricity. Determined to increase access, the government has undertaken bold programs to develop renewables. Recent power projects include the 1,870 megawatt Gibe III hydropower plant on the Omo River, which is expected to expand further.
Still, most of Ethiopia’s energy is generated from hydropower, where supply is threatened during periods of drought. Geothermal energy has the added advantage of being baseload power, meaning it does not depend on wind, sun or water, and is constantly available. In 2015, Ethiopia kick-started its geothermal exploration by signing a 500 megawatt power purchase agreement for the Corbetti project, a joint undertaking between the government and Reykjavik Geothermal, a U.S.-Icelandic private developer.
Awakening the sleeping furnaces underground will be an arduous process. But with the right reforms, and partnership between the public and private sector, Ethiopia will be on its way to becoming East Africa’s geothermal hub.”

Monday, January 18, 2016

Sudan, Ethiopia to complete border demarcation this year - Sudan Tribune: Plural news and views on Sudan

JPEG - 45.1 kb The technical committee tasked with redrawing the border between Sudan and Ethiopia said it would complete its work on the ground during this year.

A road leading to Ethiopia-Sudan border (Photo
In November 2014, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and Sudan’s President Omer al-Bashir instructed their foreign ministers to set up a date for resuming borders demarcation after it had stopped following the death of Ethiopia’s former Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi.

The head of the technical committee Abdalla al-Sadig told the semi-official Sudan Media Center (SMC) that the border demarcation between Sudan and Ethiopia doesn’t face any problems.

He pointed out that the length of the border with Ethiopia is about 725 km, saying the process of demarcation is proceeding properly.

Farmers from two sides of the border between Sudan and Ethiopia used to dispute the ownership of land in the Al-Fashaga area located in the south-eastern part of Sudan’s eastern state of Gedaref.

Al-Fashaga covers an area of about 250 square kilometers and it has about 600.000 acres of fertile lands. Also there are river systems flowing across the area including Atbara, Setait and Baslam rivers.

On Saturday, Sudan’s foreign minister Ibrahim Ghandour told the Qatar-based Aljazeera TV that Sudan and Ethiopia are working together to curb the activities of Ethiopian gangs inside Sudanese territory.

He stressed that Al-Fashaga is a Sudanese territory, saying the government allowed Ethiopia farmers to cultivate its land as part of the cooperation between the two countries.

“However, Ethiopia is committed and acknowledges that [Al-Fashaga] is a Sudanese territory,” he said.

Ghandour pointed to joint meetings between the two countries at the level of the presidency to discuss borders issues.

Sudan’s Gadarif and Blue Nile states border Ethiopia’s Amhara region. The borders between Sudan and Ethiopia were drawn by the British and Italian colonisers in 1908.

The two governments have agreed in the past to redraw the borders, and to promote joint projects between people from both sides for the benefit of local population.

However, the Ethiopian opposition accuses the ruling party of abandoning Ethiopian territory to Sudan.


Regarding the dispute with Egypt over Halayeb triangle, al-Sadig said Khartoum has documents clearly proving that the area is a Sudanese territory.

He pointed that Sudan has not engaged in meetings with the Egyptian side on Halayeb, saying the issue could be referred to international arbitration as was the case during the dispute between Egypt and Israel over Taba area.

“We don’t oppose [referral of the case to the] international arbitration to resolve the issue particularly as Sudan has maps as well as legal and historical documents proving that Halayeb and Shalateen are part of the Sudanese territory,” he said.

The Halayeb triangle overlooks the Red Sea and has been a contentious issue between Egypt and Sudan since 1958, shortly after Sudan gained independence from British-Egyptian rule.

The contested border area has been under de facto Egyptian administration since the mid-1990s, but both countries have jockeyed for its control for over a century.
Egypt brushed aside Sudan’s repeated calls for referring the dispute to international arbitration.

Earlier this month, Sudan’s foreign minister Ibrahim Ghandour told a group of Egyptian politicians in Cairo that the dispute over Halayeb area can’t be resolved by “imposing a fait accompli” but through dialogue or by referring the case to the concerned international institutions."

'via Blog this'

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Amid Protests, Ethiopia Cancels Plan to Expand the Capital - The New York Times

Amid Protests, Ethiopia Cancels Plan to Expand the Capital - The New York Times: "Amid Protests, Ethiopia Cancels Plan to Expand the Capital
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESSJAN. 13, 2016, 11:03 A.M. E.S.T.

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ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — An Ethiopian official says plans to integrate the capital with surrounding towns have been cancelled following deadly protests by locals who opposed the move.

Getachew Reda, the minister for government communication affairs, told the Associated Press on Wednesday that officials in the Oromia region decided to stop the plan and that the federal government will respect their decision.

He added, however, that those who participated in protests against the plan face criminal prosecution.

Human Rights Watch said last week that at least 140 people had been killed over two months in a government crackdown targeting protesters who opposed what they believed to be a government plan to expand Addis Ababa, the capital. The government has denies this, saying it only seeks to link Addis Ababa with nearby towns.

The protesters were led by students who said the expansion plan would lead to the displacement of thousands of farmers.

Amid the protests, the U.S. urged the Ethiopian government to exercise restraint."

'via Blog this'

Saturday, January 9, 2016

140 protesters killed by Ethiopia security forces

140 protesters killed by Ethiopia security forces

[JURIST] Ethiopian government security forces have killed 140 protesters [text] in the Oromia region despite December reports of only five deaths, Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] said Thursday. The protesters began demonstrations in November against the government's plan to expand the country's capitol, Addis Ababa, onto farmland and property occupied by approximately 2 million Oromia people. HRW also claims that the government has been arbitrarily arresting politicians, like Bekele Gerba [Reuters report], and ordinary citizens who support the movement. The group also raised concerns over how excessive force and arrests impact the "long-term stability" of the country. HRW called for the release of those detained and that the government take responsibility for its use of force and allow for peaceful protests.
In December HRW reported that activists had witnessed security forces firing into throngs of protesters [HRW report]. That report came a day after Ethiopia's Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn [BBC profile], warned[IBT report] of "merciless legitimate action against any force bent on destabilising the area." Ethiopian officials have been claiming that the demonstrations are a front for those involved in the protests to insight violence and threaten the stability of the nation. The government labeled the primarily peaceful activists as "terrorists" as a means to justify the call for force. Ethiopia has used its broad anti-terrorism laws to detain political opposition before. In October five Ethiopian bloggers were acquitted of terrorism charges relating to publications on their website [Zone9, in Amharic]. The publications, critical of the government, landed nine bloggers in jail [JURIST report], and one charged in absentia, in April 2014, for violation of the laws. That same month UN Special Rapporteur on counter-terrorism and human rights Ben Emmerson [official profile] expressed concern [press release] over the rising use of counter-terrorism measures around the world[JURIST report]. Many nations have used counter-terrorism as an excuse to restrict public assembly and stop the activities of public interest groups, Emmerson said.