Tag Archives: Ethiopia

Ethiopia death toll rising to 239

The death toll from protests and violence outbreak in Ethiopia last week following the assassination of a popular Oromo singer and and activist Hachalu Hundessa has risen to 239, according to announcement of the authorities.

“Due to the unrest that occurred in the region, nine police officers, five militia members and 215 civilians have lost their lives,” acting police commissioner Mustafa Kedir said on state television on July 8.

Hachalu, 34, was killed on June 29, sparking unrest that spread from Oromia community where he was considered as an emblematic figure.

The motive of the assassins remains unclear. Previously Hachalu had received death threats. His songs focused on the rights of the Oromo people, Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group, and became anthems in a wave of protests that led to the downfall of the previous prime minister in 2018.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, in a televised speech a day after Hachalu assassination, said that “internal and external forces” were responsible. The same forces, he alleged, were trying to prevent the singer from being taken back to his place of birth for burial.

Security forces made a number of arrests after a dispute at Hachalu’s funeral over whether the place of burial should be in the capital Addis Ababa or his birthplace of Ambo, some 100 kilometers to the west of the capital.

The Ethiopian government shut down internet in the entire country on June 30, after protests erupted in capital Addis Ababa and surrounding areas against the assassination of Oromo musician and social activist Haacaaluu Hundeessaa.

Ethiopia: death toll rises to 166

At least 166 people have been killed during violent demonstrations that spontaneouls occured in Ethiopia in the days following the murder of popular singer Hachalu Hundessa, police said July 4.

Pop star and activist Hachalu, a member of the Oromo ethnic group, Ethiopia’s largest, was shot dead by unknown attackers in Addis Ababa on June 29 night, fuelling ethnic tensions threatening the fragile peace and democratic transition.

“In the aftermath of Hachalu’s death, 145 civilians and 11 security forces have lost their lives in the unrest in the region,” said Girma Gelam, deputy police commissioner of Oromia region, in a statement on the state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporate.

Another 10 are known to have died in the capital Addis Ababa.
Girma said that a further 167 had “sustained serious injuries” and that 1,084 people had been arrested.

Officials have attributed the deaths to a combination of lethal force by security officers and inter-ethnic violence.

Girma added that the violent unrest had now “completely stopped”.
Hachalu’s music gave voice to Oromos’ widespread sense of economic and political marginalisation during years of anti-government protests that swept Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to power in 2018.

Ethiopia: EU joins AU calling for violence halt

… Previously I was mentioning how important Africa is for us, the European Union, as a partner, this fully applies to Ethiopia, that is why we are following closely the situation in this country, we are following the rising tensions, and this is something that is worrying us, of course, and we are calling to all sides to refrain from violence. The violence can never be an alternative to a peaceful dialogue when you are trying to reach a sustainable solution in a situation of a political conflict” the European External Action Service (EEAS) spokesperson said, while commenting on the recent dramatic events in Ethiopia.

On the unfortunate events that led to the unrest that cost lives to 80 people, first of all I would like to express our condolences to the families of the victims, and speedy recovery of all those injured, and it is very important that the violence stops. It has to stop immediately, and all sides have to refrain from violent actions in order to appease the tensions” spokesperson continued.

Under current circumstances there is limited internet and phone connection, but we are trying to follow what is going on via our delegation in Ethiopia, we follow in particular the clashes that occurred between the protestors and the police in the capital, and also in the other cities since the death of the singer Hachalu Hundessa, this week, and we also follow the arrests of the journalists, and opposition political party members”.

We allied with the statement issued by our partner the African Union, we are calling those responsible to be brought to justice, conducting transparent and independent investigation” the EU Diplomatic added.

Six people were injured on July 2 in slashes between Ethiopian security forces and mourners attempting to attend the funeral of Oromo singer and activist Hachalu Hundessa, whose assassination earlier this week provoked protests, causing violent death of at least 80 people.

The Chairperson of African Union Commission Moussa Faki calls on the Government of Ethiopia to bring the perpetrators of such heinous act to face justice and encourages all sides to resolve differences through dialogue and peaceful means in order to allow adequate efforts towards preventing and controlling the COVID-19 pandemic.

The popular Oromo singer Hachalu Hundessa, 36, was shot dead in the capital Addis Ababa on June 29 by unknown gunmen and was laid to rest later at a church in Ambo, his home town about 100 km west of the capital. He leaves behind three daughters, the youngest a month old. The slain singer’s wife, Santu Demisew Diro, gave a short speech after mourners laid wreaths.

Late Haacaaluu’s songs were popluar among a generation of Oromo protesters whose three years of anti-government demonstrations finally forced the unprecedented resignation of the Prime minister, 2018, and the appointment of the Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

The Oromo have long complained of exclusion from political process. In recent months, some Oromo activists who initially supported Abiy have become more critical, accusing ignoring he legitimate interests of the Oromo people.

The singer’s killing sparked protests in Addis and surrounding Oromiya region, leading to violent clashes, which left behind more than 80 people killed.

Ethiopia: urban violence continues

Six people were injured on July 2 in slashes between Ethiopian security forces and mourners attempting to attend the funeral of Oromo singer and activist Haacaaluu Hundeessaa, whose assassination earlier this week sparked protests, causing violent death of at least 80 people.

“…While the country mourns the loss Hachalu Hundesa, the Chairperson appeals for calm, restraint by all sides and calls on all Ethiopians to refrain from acts that could further escalate the current situation” reads the statement of the African Union Chairman H.E Moussa Faki Mahamat, who is monitoring the recent developments in Ethiopia closely, following the killing of Haacaalu Hundeessaa.

The Chairperson calls on the Government of Ethiopia to bring the perpetrators of such heinous act to face justice and encourages all sides to resolve differences through dialogue and peaceful means in order to allow adequate efforts towards preventing and controlling the COVID-19 pandemic.

The popular Oromo singer, 36, was shot dead in the capital Addis Ababa on June 29 by unknown gunmen and was laid to rest later at a church in Ambo, his home town about 100 km west of the capital. He leaves behind three daughters, the youngest a month old. The slain singer’s wife, Santu Demisew Diro, gave a short speech after mourners laid wreaths.

Late Haacaaluu’s songs were popluar among a generation of Oromo protesters whose three years of anti-government demonstrations finally forced the unprecedented resignation of the Prime minister, 2018, and the appointment of the Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

The Oromo have long complained of exclusion from political process. In recent months, some Oromo activists who initially supported Abiy have become more critical, accusing ignoring he legitimate interests of the Oromo people.

The singer’s killing sparked protests in Addis and surrounding Oromiya region, leading to violent clashes, which left behind more than 80 people killed.

Ethiopia Abiy Ahmed mandate extended

Ethiopia’s parliament approved an extra year in office for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed after August elections were postponed due to coronavirus pandemic. The decision was taken two days after a leading opposition politician resigned as speaker of its upper house in apparent protest at the delay.

The upper house voted for a resolution that extends the terms of federal and regional lawmakers and the executive branch of the government for between nine and 12 months, House spokesman Gebru Gebreslassie annnounced.

The elections will tale place within that period, once health authorities determine that the coronavirus is nolonger a threat to public health, Gebru Gebreslassie added.

Ethiopia had recorded a total of 2,336 cases of COVID-19 and 32 deaths by 10 June.

Borrell encourages Millenium dam negociated solution

The dispute between Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt over exploitation of the Millenium Dam is a “matter of stablity” in the region, said the top EU diplomat Josep Borrell while commenting on the situation developing this week in the Horn of Africa.

“… We are following closely the talks, which were facilitated by the United States, and we regret they were not able to solve, or bring any kind of solution, but there are talks facilitated by the United States, and we are not part of this facilitating activity.

“We would be happy to participate if we are called for, but it is not the case, but we are ready to contribute to appease the situation, and to find a pragmatic solution”.

“I have been talking last week with all parties”, – Borrell continued. “And I strongly encourage them to continue the commonly agreed way forward”.

The diplomacy chief also announced plans to organise EU-Sudan partnership conference in Brussels together with Germany, the United Nations on June 22.

“It will be an opportunity for the international community to recall and renew their support to the ongoing political transition in Sudan” Borrell continued, expressing hope that there would be also “concrete pledges”.

Ethiopia Millenium Dam causes tensions

Government of Sudan rejected Ethiopia’s proposal to sign an initial agreement on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) and now expressed readiness to resume U.S.-led talks on the project.

According to a statement on May 12, Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok sent a letter to his Ethiopian counterpart Abiy Ahmed disapproving of an Addis Ababa proposal on an agreement over the dam’s first filling water, which is a crucial issue for agriculture in Sudan and Egypt, risking to lose up to 50% of arable land due to lack of irrigation.

Any signing of a partial agreement for the first filling could not be approved due to “technical and legal aspects that should be included in the agreement,” Hamdok said.

The agreement must incorporate a mechanism of coordination, an exchange of information and the safety of the dam and its environmental and social impacts, he insisted.

Prime minister of Sudan stressed that the path to reach a comprehensive agreement is an immediate resumption of negotiations which he underlined experienced a significant progress in the last four months.

Sudan believes that the current circumstances do not allow for talks through normal diplomatic channels, he said, in reference to the coronavirus pandemic, arguing that teleconferences are suitable means to complete negotiations and agree on outstanding issues.

Lead Sudanese negotiator Saleh Hamad said that most of the issues being negotiated are inextricably linked, not only to the first filling but to all phases of filling.

The statement on May 12 comes a day after Ethiopia announced it is to start filling its mega-dam in July, despite opposition from Egypt and Sudan as they stand by a 2015 declaration that stipulates an agreement on the guidelines governing the filling and annual operation of the dam should be reached.

Director of the Egyptian Center for Strategic Studies Khaled Okasha said the Sudanese move brings the matter to its proper path, which relies on cooperation and negotiation.

Mr.Okasha explained that Ethiopia took advantage of the coronavirus pandemic to cancel all agreements, and according to point zero it was announced through its “populist” mechanisms that it pursued from the beginning.

Okasha has affirmed that the move by the Sudanese Prime Minister came after Ethiopia’s intentions to go on with the project solely without consulting with Khartoum and Cairo became clear, threatening the interests of both countries.

This is in addition to the dangers related to the safety requirements of the dam, which the Ethiopian side has been ignoring, constantly pushing for the filling stage with an aim to aid internal and political conflicts through the construction of the dam, completely disregarding the sovereignty and authentic rights of Egypt and Sudan.

He added that Ethiopia is also seeking from this to blame the issue on both Cairo and Khartoum, according to flawed and outdated Ethiopian theories that claim disagreements between Egypt and Sudan.

Okasha further stressed that the new Sudanese government is now correcting many of the faults of the previous regime, which had been performing in contradiction with the Sudanese national interests.

Neighbouring Sudan and Egypt dependent on Nile flow fear the dam will trap their essential water supplies once the giant reservoir starts being filled in July as planned.

Ethiopia hopes the massive $4.8 billion megaproject will allow it to become Africa’s largest power exporter.

The dispute is over the Millenium Dam being built on the Blue Nile. Ethiopia announced it will begin part filling it in July this year in order to test two turbines next year during the rainy season. The dam is 71% complete and when finished in 2023 will be the largest hydroelectric dam in Africa providing much needed power to the second populous country on continent with 100 million inhabitants.

The reservoir will be able to hold more than 70 billion cubic metres (bcm) of water, but Egypt says if it operates according to Ethiopian intentions, 100 million Egyptians will then be deprived of much of their lifeline – the waters of the river.

EU committed to stablity of Ethiopia

“The EU is a committed and reliable partner of Ethiopia, and we attach great importance to the stability and unity of the country, which is crucial for the whole of Horn of Africa the European External Action Service (EEAS) spokesperson said, commenting on the recent political events in the country in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. On May 7 the Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali made an announcement that the ruling party will stay in charge until next elections, while the election calendar was postponed due to sanitary conditions, and Tigray region refused to follow.

Africa’s second most populous (115M) country was due to hold national elections in August 29, and the incumbent Prime minister Abiy Ahmed Ali hoped would give him a mandate for wide-ranging political and economic reforms people are awaiting for long.

However the election board announced in late March that it would be impossible to organise the polls on time because of the pandemic.

The EU have been following closely the recent political developments in the country, and has “taken note” of the swift decision of the House of People’s Representatives to ask the Constitutional explanations of the postponement of the elections, the EEAS spokesperson ensured.

“We encourage and support the inclusive and comprehensive dialogue of all political parties at federal and regional level in order to organise the next elections in a coordinated way” the spokesperson of the EU diplomacy continued. She also underlined that the EU intended to deploy the EU Election observation mission (EUEOM) for the general elections, “in this context we pay special attention to the conditions of the organisation of elections throughout the electoral process”.

The events in Tigray region became a matter of concern after the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) announced plans to conduct elextions in Tigray region despite of the federal government decision of postponemet. In relation to this decision of Tigray region leading political force the EU diplomacy “have taken note of the declaration of the Tigray’s People Liberation Front (TPLF) to hold elections in the region, the EU delegation of the ground in Addis Abeba has regular contacts with TPLF, and is seeking the clarifications on this declaration” the spokesperson underlined.

The EU diplomacy is also fully aware that the decision to hold regional elections separately from the general election has been debated in the country by legal and constiutuional experts, and the “European Union is encouraging and supporting the inclusive and comprehensive dialogue of political parties of both level – national and regional” the spokesperson underlined.

Citing the CVOID-19 pandemic as the reason for the calendar change, last month on March 31 the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) postponed indefinitely the legislative elections scheduled for August 29. The supporters of the decision, mostly from the incumbent government, have expressed consent, while the opposition condemned the decision defining it as a “power-grab“. They also indicated that the later date would not take into account poor rain season weather conditions and agricultural activities, complicating electoral campaign.

Tigray region elections controversy

Ethiopia’s Tigray region plans to hold elections, its leading party announced, setting it on a collision course with the federal government in Addis Ababa and imposing strain on the country’s fragile unity.

On May 4 the Executive Committee of Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) has passed a decision to hold the upcoming elections at the regional level after the decision of the election board to postpone the elections “indefinitely” the context of the pandemic.

The end of March Ethiopian electoral board postponed parliamentary and regional elections scheduled for August 29 due to the novel coronavirus outbreak. A new date has yet to be set but the opposition has already questioned the move.

The Tigray People’s Liberation Front, the region’s governing party, split acrimoniously from the national Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) coalition last year when its three other parties merged to form the new Prosperity Party.

The TPLF said it would proceed with elections in Tigray region despite the nationwide postponement of voting due to COVID-19.

We are making preparations including the holding of a regional election in order to safeguard the rights of our people from chaos,” a TPLF statement said. It did not mention a date for the vote.

Addis Alem Balema, an expert and a prominent Tigray politician has criticised Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government in connection with the change of the election schedule.

Government was working half-heartedly on the next election. Now the Coronavirus complicated it,” the expert said.  Moreover, he criticized Prime minister’s administration pointing that the rule of law in the country is “messy“.

Concerning the strategy to address the situation, Alem Balema added the measures to be taken need to ensure the “rights of nations and nationalities, and foster the federal system.” 

Consultation has to continue and the upcoming election has to be free, fair, and credible” he added.

Borrell heads to Darfur

The EU top diplomat Josep Borrell will travel to Ethiopia on February 27 to attend the 10th meeting of the African Union – European Union. His visit will continue with bilateral discussions with Ethiopian authorities on Friday, 28 February. Further he will then travel to Sudan, on Saturday, 29 February and Sunday, 1st March.

On Friday, Feburary 27 Borrell will meet the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed to reiterate the EU’s support to his political and economic reform agenda. He will also visit an EU-funded project that aims at Stemming Irregular Migration in Northern and Central Ethiopia (SINCE), as part of the EU’s concrete support in addressing economic and social challenges in the country.

On Saturday Borrell will travel to Sudan, where he is going to meet Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and the Chairman of the Sovereign Council Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan. There the EU dilomat will bring a message of support to the civilian transition. He will deliver a speech at the University of Khartoum, and meet with Foreign Ministers from member countries of the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD). On Sunday Borrell will visit a camp for Internally Displaced People (IDPs) in Darfur.

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