• Statement by the U.S. Embassy

    Addis Ababa, October 18, 2017:- The United States sees peaceful demonstrations as a legitimate means of expression and political participation.

    We note with appreciation a number of recent events during which demonstrators expressed themselves peacefully, and during which security forces exercised restraint in allowing them to do so.

    We are saddened by reports that several recent protests ended in violence and deaths. All such reports merit transparent investigation that allows those responsible for violence to be held accountable.

    We encourage all Ethiopians to continue to express their views peacefully, and encourage Ethiopian authorities to permit peaceful expression of views. More generally, we encourage constructive, peaceful, and inclusive national discourse on matters of importance to Ethiopian citizens.

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  • Somalia hands over ONLF rebel leader to Ethiopia

    ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - Somali authorities have handed over to Ethiopia a senior official of the ONLF rebel group, which is fighting for the secession of Ogaden from Ethiopia, the group said.

    Abdikarin Sheikh Muse, an executive committee member who lived in the Somali capital Mogadishu, was detained by security in Galkayo in Somalia’s semi-autonomous Galmudug state on August 23, the ONLF said in a statement.

    Quoting sources close to the Somali cabinet, it said the Somali government had “forcefully” handed over Abdikarin Sheikh Muse to Ethiopia without his consent in violation of U.N. convention relating to the status of refugees.

    Ethiopian officials were not available for comment.

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  • Spain Attacks: Terrorists Planned to Use Explosives


    The perpetrators of the terror attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils originally planned to use explosive devices to wreak greater devastation but were apparently thwarted because their materials detonated prematurely, police said Friday.

    A house in Alcanar, south of Barcelona, was destroyed in a blast Wednesday night -- hours before one attacker mowed down dozens of people in the heart of Barcelona, killing 13. A group of five attackers then drove into pedestrians in the town of Cambrils, killing one, in the early hours of Friday.

    Catalan police chief Jose Lluis Trapero told reporters that explosives were found in the Alcanar property and that police "are working on the hypothesis that these attacks were being prepared in that house."

    The explosion meant the attackers were unable to use material they were planning to deploy in attacks in Barcelona, Cambrils and perhaps elsewhere, he said. The attack in Barcelona was therefore "more rudimentary than they originally planned," Trapero said.

    The revelations pointed to an alarming conclusion: that a highly organized terror cell had gone undetected until their explosives accidentally blew up the house where they were based -- and despite the setback they still managed to carry out two further improvised attacks without impediment.

    Key developments

    -- Four people have been arrested: one of them in Alcanar and three in Ripoll. Three were Moroccan citizens and another was Spanish and ranged in age from 21 to 34. None was on the radar for terrorism.

    -- People from at least 34 countries are among the injured in the attacks, Catalan authorities said. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said an American citizen was among the dead. The first to be identified was an Italian.

    -- Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy labeled the Barcelona attack "jihadi terrorism." Rajoy's government has declared three days of mourning across Spain.

    -- Rajoy, the Catalan regional president Carles Puigdemont and other officials held a crisis cabinet meeting in Barcelona.

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  • Board to hold Amhara-Kimant Referendum


    The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) is poised to hold a referendum at 12 different Kebeles where the Amhara and Kimant ethnicities who have been living together for long.

    That referendum will be hold based on the decision passed by the House of Federation, the state-affiliated FBC reported on Thursday.

    Amhara region’s cabinet, recently, has agreed a self-administration of the Kimant society. Also, the two (Amhara and Kimant) can delimit an administrative territory according to their wish, the region decided.

    NEBE’s Public Relations Director, Tesfalem Abay was quoted by FBC as saying, “The Board, as a responsible organ to deal with the referendum, has already sent a technical team to those Kebeles”.

    A temporary action plan, which is expected to be endorsed “soon” is also installed following a consultation between NEBE and the Amhara region.

    According to their expectations, 25 thousand people is going to be voted on the referendum.

    Although the Kimant was mentioned in the 18th century, the question of ‘who are the Kimant people?’ has been one of the contentious issues since 1991. Their early history is more obscured and hence it becomes a puzzle for scholars interested to study this people.

    Kimant political movement has largely been a post 1991 phenomenon. Beside their shared experience of marginalization and exclusion, and the new politico-legal environment emerged for mobilizing ethnic identities, their struggle has mainly grown- out of the wider conditions of discontent in the federal arrangement that denied and marginalized their existence as a distinct ‘nationality’.

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  • Egypt is always associated with Nile dam discussions between Ethiopia and Sudan: Ghandour


    The Sudanese Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour Tuesday praised the exemplary relationship between Ethiopia and Sudan but was keen to underscore that the talks on Renaissance Dame and Nile Water are always done with the Egyptian participation.

    The Sudanese top diplomat was speaking at a press conference held in Khartoum after the arrival of the Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn in an official three-day visit where the two neighbors will sign a number of bilateral agreements in various fields.

    "Sudan’s relationship with Ethiopia goes beyond water issues. The water is a national security issue for Sudan, Ethiopia and the rest of the Nile Basin countries. Also, it is one of the most important issues under the Nile Basin Initiative, the Technical Committee of the Nile Basin and the water agreement between the three countries.(Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan), particularly about the Renaissance Dam," he said.

    The issue of water has always been present when two of the three parties meet, but the concern is always "how to have tripartite cooperation between the three countries," he further stressed.

    The Ethiopian multi-billion dollar Renaissance Dam is being constructed on the Blue Nile, about 20 kilometers from the Sudanese border, and has a capacity of 74 billion cubic meters, and is expected to generate electrical power of up to 6,000 megawatts.

    Sudan backs the project because its water will be used to develop the eastern Sudan region while Ethiopia says it intends to produce only electricity and has no interest in the water or any intention to harm Egypt.

    However, Cairo is openly opposed to the project and requests more guarantees that the project will not affect its share of the Nile water.

    Ghandour who held a joint press conference with State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mrs. Hirut Zemene told reports that bilateral meetings would be held between the respective ministers in the two countries to discuss issues of security, water, economic cooperation, etc.

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  • Ethiopia: Capital of Amhara region shut down in memory of 2016 protest deaths

    Bahir Dar, capital of Ethiopia’s Amhara region was almost shutdown on Monday but police and residents accounts seem to differ on the cause of the shutdown.

    According to local media reports, the shutdown was in commemoration of deadly security crackdown on protesters last year. It affected businesses and the transport system in the otherwise bustling city.

    Photos shared on social media showed deserted streets with most small businesses closed. Reports also indicate that some businesses in the other region hit by the protests, Oromia, also closed in solidarity.

    Police chief of Amhara State Walelegn Dagnew, also confirmed a bomb blast in the region had occured on Sunday, but he blamed ‘anti-peace elements’ for both situations – the blast and closure of some businesses.

    Spreading anti-government protests reached the city on August 7, 2016 after it had taken place in Addis Ababa and in the Oromia region.

    The protesters at the time accused regime affiliated to the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) of marginalising the poor largest northern regions of Amhara and Oromia. They also demanded the release of arrested activists.

    “This is a mass civil disobedience movement that is not being organized by political parties. People are tired of this regime and express their anger everywhere,” chairman of the Oromo People’s Congress, Merera Gudina, told AFP. Gudina is currently being held on charges of terrorism.

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