67 Killed In Anti-Abiy Protests, Ethnic Violence In Ethiopia

 

 

Violence in Ethiopia that began with protests against Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and quickly morphed into ethnic clashes has left 67 people dead in Oromia state, a police official said Friday.

The spike in the death toll came as the high-profile activist at the centre of the violence accused Abiy, this year’s Nobel Peace Prize laureate, of acting like a dictator and suggesting he might challenge him in elections planned for next year.

“The total number dead in Oromia is 67,” said Kefyalew Tefera, the regional police chief, adding that five of the dead were police officers.

Violence erupted in Addis Ababa, the capital, and in much of Ethiopia’s Oromia region on Wednesday after the activist, Jawar Mohammed, accused security forces of trying to orchestrate an attack against him — a claim police officials denied.

Kefyalew told AFP that the violence had ended in Oromia but Amnesty International researcher Fisseha Tekle said late Friday that he was still receiving reports of attacks.

The defence ministry said Friday that it was deploying forces to seven hotspots to restore order, according to the state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporate.

Jawar is credited with promoting protests that swept Abiy to power last year but he has recently become critical of some of the premier’s policies.

In an interview at his residence in Addis Ababa, Jawar told AFP that Abiy — named Nobel Peace laureate two weeks ago — seemed to be taking Ethiopia back to “the old ways” of authoritarian rule.

“He has resorted to the early signs of dictatorship, of trying to intimidate people, even his very close allies who helped him come to power who happen to disagree with some of the policies and positions and ideologies he’s advocating,” Jawar said.

“Intimidation is the start of authoritarian rule.”

Both men are members of the Oromo ethnic group, Ethiopia’s largest.

Their feud highlights divisions within Abiy’s Oromo support base that could complicate his bid for a five-year term when Ethiopia votes in elections currently planned for May 2020.

Jawar said that running against Abiy was “one possibility,” though he also said he could be convinced to back Abiy if he changes course.

“I want to have an active role in the coming election. In what capacity I’m not sure but I want to make sure that the influence I have in the country has a positive contribution,” he said.

Religious, ethnic conflict

After two days of violent protests, tensions had cooled Friday in Addis Ababa, although the total damage inflicted by the unrest was still being tallied.

Fisseha of AI said the violence had included instances of security forces opening fire on protesters but was increasingly taking the form of ethnic and religious clashes.

“Some people have lost their lives with sticks, with machetes, some houses have been burned. People have been using even bullets and light arms to kill each other, to fight each other,” he said.

At least six people were killed in the town of Ambo, west of Addis, after security forces opened fire on protesters, Fisseha said.

Ethnic and religious violence has been reported in the towns and cities of Dodola, Harar, Balerobe and Adama.

Property belonging to the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, which some associate with the Amhara ethnic group, has been targeted in several locations, Fisseha said.

Daniel Bekele, head of the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, urged public figures to tamp down virulent rhetoric that could contribute to additional unrest.

“It is extremely depressing that public officials and community leaders don’t appreciate the consequences of their actions and words leading to this senseless loss of lives, destruction of property and disruption of ordinary life,” he said.

“As security forces are struggling to calm the crisis, everyone has a responsibility to do their share and cooperate.”

Two Aid Workers Killed In ‘Ambush’ In Western Ethiopia

 

 

Two staff members with Action Against Hunger have been shot dead by unidentified “armed individuals” in western Ethiopia, the aid group said.

Action Against Hunger said the aid workers were “ambushed” on Thursday while leaving Nguenyyiel Refugee Camp in the Gambella region.

The camp hosts tens of thousands of refugees from neighbouring South Sudan, which has been mired in civil war since 2013.

“Two employees were killed at the scene,” Action Against Hunger said late on Thursday.

“Action Against Hunger has suspended full operations in Gambella, but are maintaining the provision of life-saving assistance.”

READ ALSO: Zimbabwe Ex-President Robert Mugabe Dies Aged 95

The international humanitarian group also said it was “coordinating with the authorities who are investigating this attack.”

The office of the United Nations resident and humanitarian coordinator in Ethiopia condemned the attack.

“Attacks on aid workers in clearly marked humanitarian vehicles constitute a violation of international humanitarian law,” it said in a statement.

Neither Action Against Hunger nor the UN provided details in their statements on the nationalities of the dead or if there were any injured.

Pilot Of Crashed Plane Reported ‘Difficulties’, Asked To Return – Ethiopian Airlines

A man carries a piece of debris on his head at the crash site of a Nairobi-bound Ethiopian Airlines flight near Bishoftu, a town some 60 kilometres southeast of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on March 10, 2019. A Nairobi-bound Ethiopian Airlines Boeing crashed minutes after takeoff from Addis Ababa on March 10, killing all eight crew and 149 passengers on board, including tourists, business travellers, and “at least a dozen” UN staff. Michael TEWELDE / AFP

 

The pilot of a Nairobi-bound Boeing 737 that crashed six minutes after takeoff from Addis Ababa on Sunday, had alerted controllers “he had difficulties” and wanted to turn back the plane carrying 157 people, the head of Ethiopian Airlines said.

The pilot “was given clearance” to return to Addis, Chief Executive Officer Tewolde GebreMariam told journalists in the Ethiopian capital when asked whether there had been a distress call.

Read Also: No Survivors On Crashed Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737

The crash which has claimed the lives of the over 157 persons on board from over 33 countries, came on the eve of a major, annual assembly of the UN Environment Programme opening in Nairobi.

The plane had taken off at 8:38 am (0538 GMT) from Bole International Airport and “lost contact” six minutes later near Bishoftu, a town some 60 kilometres (37 miles) southeast of Addis Ababa by road.

It came down near the village of Tulu Fara outside Bishoftu.

Below is a list of the number victims and their countries. The count, however, is not final.

Africa 

Kenya     32

Ethiopia   9

Egypt      6

Morocco    2

Djibouti   1

Mozambique 1

Rwanda     1

Sudan      1

Somalia    1

Togo       1

Uganda     1

Nigeria    1

 Americas 

Canada        18

United States  8

 Asia 

China     8

India     4

Indonesia 1

Nepal     1

 Europe 

Italy    8

France   7

Britain  7

Germany  5

Slovakia 4

Russia   3

Austria  3

Sweden   3

Spain    2

Poland   2

Belgium  1

Ireland  1

Norway   1

Serbia   1

 Middle East 

Israel       2

Saudi Arabia 1

Yemen        1

 Other 

UN passport  1

 TOTAL 

150

Buhari Departs Addis Ababa For Abuja After AU Summit

PHOTOS: President Buhari Travels To Addis Ababa
file photo

After spending about four days meeting with African leaders at the just concluded African Union Summit which held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, President Muhammadu Buhari has left for Nigeria.

While at the summit, Buhari joined 14 other members of the Peace and Security Council (PSC), a standing organ of the AU for the prevention, management and resolution of conflicts.

Some of the areas of discussions were corruption, the persistence of violent conflicts and crisis situations in some parts of the continent, an upsurge of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and refugees, climate change and its consequences as well as the issue of the derailment of national development programmes.

The security situation in Somalia, South Sudan, Libya, Guinea Bissau, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

President Buhari left Abuja for the summit in Ethiopia on Friday, January 26, 2018. he travelled in the company of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama; Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami; and the Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Danbazau, amongst others.

As the President arrives the country today, Nigerians and Africans are hoping that there will be less talk and more of actions in matters concerning harnessing the potentials of the people and its continent.

Buhari Calls For Global Support To Fight Boko Haram

President Muhammadu Buhari at the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council meeting in Addis Ababa on Saturday called for support from the global community to tackle insurgency in Nigeria.

While addressing African leaders at the 30th AU Summit, President Buhari condemned in strong terms terrorism and terrorist activities in Africa and around the world. He acknowledged the achievements recorded in the insurgency fight and called for more international support to fight Boko Haram.

READ ALSO: President Buhari To Discuss Peace, Security Matters At AU Summit

“We acknowledge that in spite of the achievements so far recorded, there are still some packets of terrorist activities within the Lake Chad Basin Region, particularly North-Eastern part of Nigeria.

“I call on International Community for more support in addressing the menace of Boko Haram and humanitarian crisis. We must also take resolute and coordinative initiatives by developing an African Union database of persons or groups and entities involved terrorist acts for use by law enforcement agents such as borders security officers, customs, military, and intelligence officers.

“Nigeria believes that the timely establishment of this tool at the continental level will be strategic in this fight,” he said.

The President also explained that the Lake Chad has shrunk by over eight percent, impacting negatively on livelihoods of millions of people living in countries that have ties with the basin.

President Buhari left Abuja for Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Friday, joining 14 other members of the Peace and Security Council (PSC), a standing organ of the AU for the prevention, management and resolution of conflicts.

A statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President, Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu said the meeting will address issues regarding the “persistence of violent conflicts and crisis situations in some parts of the continent, upsurge of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and refugees, climate change and its consequences as well as the issue of the derailment of national development programmes.

President Buhari Arrives Addis Ababa For AU Summit

President Buhari Arrives In Addis Ababa

President Muhammadu Buhari has arrived in Addis Ababa for the 30th summit of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU).

The President arrived at the Ethiopian capital a few hours after he left Abuja on Friday evening.

Part of his engagement at the summit is the flag off of a continent-wide campaign against corruption.

On the sidelines of the event, President Buhari is expected to hold bilateral meetings with some of his colleagues on issues of common interests.

He is accompanied on the trip by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama; Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami; and the Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Danbazau, among others.

See photos of the President’s arrival below;

PHOTOS: President Buhari Travels To Addis Ababa

PHOTOS: President Buhari Travels To Addis Ababa

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has departed the country to participate in the 30th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU).

The President left Abuja on Friday evening, shortly after signing the National Senior Citizens Centre and seven other bills passed by the National Assembly.

President Buhari is expected to speak on the fight against corruption at the summit and to also hold bilateral meetings with some of his colleagues on issues of common interests on the sidelines of the event.

His spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina, had hinted that the President would be accompanied on the trip by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama; Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami; and the Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Danbazau, among others.

See photos of Buhari’s departure below;

Buhari Departs Abuja For Addis Ababa

President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday departed Abuja for Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. 

The President left the Presidential Villa in Abuja, hours after observing the weekly Friday Juma’at prayer, to attend the 30th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU).

Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, had earlier disclosed the highlight of the President’s engagements at the Summit themed, “Winning the Fight against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation.”

This is the first time in the 54-year history of the AU that anti-corruption will be made a theme of the gathering of the regional leaders.

On July 4, 2017, African leaders unanimously endorsed President Buhari to champion the fight against corruption on the continent. The endorsement, which took place during the 29th Session of the AU, was in recognition of his personal commitment and acclaimed anti-graft drive at the domestic level.

Pinnick’s CAF Victory A Big Success For Nigeria – Dalung

Pinnick's CAF Victory A Big Success For Nigeria - DalungThe Federal Government has congratulated the President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick, on his success at the just concluded Confederation of African Football (CAF) Executive Committee elections held on Thursday in Addis Ababa.

Pinnick defeated the incumbent Benin Republic’s Moucharafou Anjorin by 32 votes to 17 to emerge the third Nigerian to serve on the executive seat of CAF.

Nigeria’s Minister of Sports, Solomon Dalung, in a statement expressed delight that a Nigerian has joined the inner caucus of CAF after many years.

A Big Achievement

“When I became Minister, I asked why there was no Nigerian representative in the Executive Committee of CAF. With a population of over 170 million people, there was no way the CAF Executive Committee will be constituted without Nigerians as stakeholders.

“I encouraged the Federation to try and ensure that they are represented hence our support for the President of the NFF. This is a big achievement for Nigeria and our re-entry into African football politics,” Dalung said.

The Federal Government also congratulated Mr Ahmad Ahmad, following his election as the CAF President, but maintained it support for regional interest.

“Nigeria’s position remains in favour of our national interest but the will of the people has prevailed and we congratulate them all,” the statement said.

Mr Dalung advised the newly elected board to be magnanimous in victory and run an all-inclusive government.

Rubbish Landslide Kills 48 In Addis Ababa

Rubbish Landslide Kills 48 In Addis AbabaAt least 48 people have been killed in a landslide at a vast rubbish dump on the outskirts of Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital.

Officials say dozens of people are still missing since the landslide which occurred on Saturday night at the Koshe landfill.

The area has been a dumping ground for Addis Ababa’s wastes for more than five decades.

According to the BBC, a city spokeswoman told AP news agency that many children were among the dead.

Meanwhile, there are fears that the death toll could rise further, as a resident said 150 people were there at the time.

Hundreds of people attempt to make a living by scavenging at the landfill site, sifting through the rubbish for items they can sell, the BBC’s Emmanuel Igunza in Addis Ababa reported.

Morocco Rejoins African Union

Morocco Rejoins African UnionThe African Union has re-admitted the Kingdom of Morocco into the continental body, more than 30 years since it pulled out.

The North African kingdom quit the AU’s predecessor, the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), in 1984 amid a dispute over the body’s recognition of Western Sahara, most of which has been controlled by Morocco since 1976.

In 2014, Morocco rejected the AU’s decision to appoint a special envoy for the Western Sahara, saying the body had no legal authority to intervene.

However, King Mohammed VI has been making diplomatic efforts over the last year to try to win Rabat’s readmission.

Meanwhile, the Moroccan leader addressed the continental body on Tuesday for the first time since his country was re-admitted.

King Mohammed VI said the kingdom’s readmission is not intended to divide it, but to benefit Africa.

“Africa is my home and I am coming back home,” King Mohammed said, to applause from other heads of state. “I have missed you all.”

It is expected that the readmission to the AU would ease Morocco’s entry into fast-growing African economies to the south and help reduce its reliance on stagnant European markets to the north.

In the last few years, Moroccan firms have made significant investments across Africa in areas from financial services to housing projects to fertilizer plants.

King Mohammed promised more of this would follow the readmission. “Africa is indispensable to Morocco and Morocco is indispensable to Africa,” he said.

Several countries, led by South Africa, Algeria and Zimbabwe, had been concerned about the re-admittance, but lost the debate at the summit in Addis Ababa.

Nigeria, Egypt Tie: Match Officials To Arrive On Wednesday

Nigeria super EaglesOfficials for Friday’s 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier between Nigeria and Egypt in Kaduna are scheduled to arrive in Nigeria on Wednesday.

Referee Janny Sikazwe, Assistant Referee two, Romeo Kasengele and Reserve Referee Wisdom Chewe are all expected to arrive in Abuja aboard an Ethiopian Airline flight from Addis Ababa, alongside the match commissioner, Abbasi Ssendyowa from Uganda.

Assistant referee one, Arsenio Chadreque Marengula, from Mozambique, will arrive on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Football Federation has appealed to fans, who will be at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium on Friday, to ensure they are law abiding and orderly.

The NFF General Secretary, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi, made the appeal in Abuja on Tuesday, as the NFF continued the countdown to the big match.

“We are specially appealing to our football fans not to come with any item that might be seen as a weapon, because security will be very tight on the day. We also appeal passionately to the fans to co-operate fully with the security agents to make for hitch-free entry into the venue.

“Similarly, we are appealing to the fans to come to the stadium wearing green and white colours. We want the venue proudly adorned in our national colours,” he said.

Players and officials of the Super Eagles arrived in Kaduna on Tuesday afternoon, led by Head Coach Samson Siasia.

The Super Eagles will clash with the Pharaohs of Egypt in a 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium on Friday, from 5:00pm local time and both teams will battle again in Alexandria on Tuesday, March 29.