Wednesday, December 13, 2017

US Embassy Troubled by Recent Violence in Ethiopia

December 13, 2017 - In a statement sent to, the US Embassy expressed concern about the recent unrest and deaths in some parts of the country and univeristies. Here is the full statement sent by the US Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia:
"We are troubled and saddened by reports of violence that has resulted in deaths and injuries in the town of Chelenko and at several universities over the past two days. We extend our condolences to the families and friends of the victims."
"It is important that the Ethiopian government ensure the safety of all Ethiopian citizens, and hold accountable those responsible for violence."
"We encourage the people of Ethiopia to uphold their admirable and longstanding tradition of respect for their country’s ethnic diversity and its tradition of peaceful co-existence, and to seek constructive means to raise concerns and resolve their differences."
Source: US Embassy

Ethiopia restricts internet access amidst new protests

Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban

Reports indicate that authorities in Ethiopia have restricted access to social media in the wake of renewed clashes that have led to deaths in the Oromia region.
A popular news portal, Addis Standard, said access to regular internet was impossible in the affected areas which included the capital, Addis Ababa.

According to the portal, the restriction “came amidst increasing reports of student protests in various university campuses against the killing of a student in Adigrat Univ & at least 15 civilians in Chelenko.
Access is however possible via the use of Virtual Private Networks (VPN) connections. More often than not when internet cuts are imposed, people are advised to switch to VPNs for access.
VPNs are basically network setup for use by a limited number of individuals, such as employees of a company and are often encrypted for security.

It is not the first time the country has resorted to internet cuts for political reasons. But the most recent case was in June this year, when access was cut during a national examination.
The move was defended at the time by authorities as a means of securing the integrity of the Grade 10 and 12 university entrance examinations.
“The shutdown is aimed at preventing a repeat of leaks that occurred last year,” one Mohammed Seid, public relations director of Ethiopia’s Office for Government Communications Affairs, told Reuters.
The recent protests have been blamed partly on federal forces and a paramilitary unit of the neighbouring Ethiopian-Somali regional state, the Liyu Police.

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Thursday, December 7, 2017

Why Ethiopians are nostalgic for a murderous Marxist regime

“Come, come Mengistu!” have been heard among the demonstrators".... This is telling the world the TPLF regime is miserably fail and need radical reform or leave the country peacefully

IN AMBO, a town in central Ethiopia, a teenage boy pulls a tatty photo from his wallet. “I love him,” he says of the soldier glaring menacingly at the camera. “And I love socialism,” he adds. In the picture is a young Mengistu Haile Mariam, the dictator whose Marxist regime, the Derg, oversaw the “Red Terror” of the 1970s and the famine-inducing collapse of Ethiopia’s economy in the 1980s. Mr Mengistu was toppled by rebels in 1991 before fleeing to Zimbabwe, where he still lives. He was later sentenced to death, in absentia, for genocide.

But the octogenarian war criminal seems to be growing in popularity back home, especially in towns and among those too young to remember the misery of his rule. When Meles Zenawi, then prime minister, died in 2012, a social-media campaign called for Mr Mengistu to return. In the protests that have swept through towns like Ambo since 2014, chants of “Come, come Mengistu!” have been heard among the demonstrators.

Asked by Afrobarometer, a pollster, how democratic their country is, Ethiopians give it 7.4 out of 10. They give the Derg regime a 1. Yet even some of those old enough to remember life under Marxism are giving in to nostalgia, admits a middle-aged professor at Addis Ababa University. The coalition that ousted the Derg, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), introduced a system of ethnically based federalism in 1995 that critics say favours the Tigrayan minority. After bouts of ethnic violence, most alarmingly this year, many now look back fondly on Mr Mengistu’s pan-Ethiopian nationalism.

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Ethiopia Deployed Israeli-Made Spyware Against Dissidents

Ethiopian dissidents living overseas had their devices infected with spyware made by an Israeli defense company, Canadian researchers allege. Their findings again raise questions about whether surveillance tools should be supplied to governments with shaky human rights records.

Dissidents living in Australia, India, Japan, Norway, the United Kingdom, the United States and beyond received emails with links purported to be to videos or news content. But the links actually tried to deliver a spying program disguised as Adobe Systems software updates or PDF plug-ins, say the researchers at Citizen Lab, which is based at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto.

The targeted spying campaigns began in 2016, but so many operational security errors were made that Citizen Lab researchers were able to unravel them. And their findings have been seized on by privacy and human rights watchers.

"Ethiopia continues to be one of the sloppiest state actors in the nation-state spyware game, and Israeli companies continue to be gleeful enablers," says Eva Galperin, director of cybersecurity for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, who was not involved in the research.

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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Sudan initiates effort to bridge gap between Egypt, Ethiopia over GERD

Sudan suggested an initiative for settling the disagreements between Egypt and Ethiopia regarding their dispute about the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), by suggesting French consultancy firms BRL and Artlia conduct environmental studies on the impact of the dam, sources told Al-Masry Al-Youm on Tuesday.

Sources reported that the head of the Sudanese technical team, Saif al-Din Hamad, is in tripartite talks saying that the initiative is based on the amount of River Nile water (55.5 billion cubic meters) that Egypt receives, and that the Ethiopian side has agreed to it in principle.
Sources added that consulting firms could conduct studies on the amount of water which flows through the river, and the use of water by countries along which the river runs. Accordingly, they would then apply models for filling and storing the dam, which is governed by The Helsinki Rules on the Uses of the Waters of International Rivers and The 1997 United Nations Convention on the law of the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses.

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Saturday, November 18, 2017

Egypt warns Ethiopia Nile dam dispute is ‘life or death’

El-Sissi! you must know by now, there is nothing much you can do by force if you try it is going to be worse on you, we have every right to use our resource..PERIOD

CAIRO (AP) — Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, for the second time in as many days, delivered on Saturday a stern warning to Ethiopia over a dam it is building after the two countries along with Sudan failed to approve a study on its potential effects.
Ethiopia is finalizing construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, its first major dam on the Blue Nile, and will eventually start filling the giant reservoir behind it to power the Africa’s largest hydroelectric dam.

Egypt fears that will cut into its water supply, destroying parts of its precious farmland and squeezing its population of 94 million people, who already face water shortages.
Dam construction on international rivers often causes disputes over the downstream impact.
Cairo said last week that the three countries had failed to approve an initial study by a consultancy firm on the dam’s potential effects on Egypt and Sudan.
Ethiopia says the dam is essential to its development and has repeatedly sought to reassure Egypt. But Cairo’s efforts to persuade Addis Ababa to engage in closer coordination over the dam appear to have made little headway.

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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

'We fear for our lives': how rumours over sugar saw Ethiopian troops kill 10 people

'We fear for our lives': how rumours over sugar saw Ethiopian troops kill 10 people

It began with a rumour. On 25 October, residents of Ambo, 120km west of the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, heard word on social media that a shipment of smuggled sugar was due to pass through town.
“Sugar is so expensive now, the price has tripled,” explains 18-year-old Israel, a first-year undergraduate at Ambo University. “And they’re exporting it to other parts of the country but the people here don’t have any. It’s not fair.”
So Israel joined the large crowd of young men and women that erupted in protest as three trucks rolled down the high street later that day, seizing hold of the vehicles and setting up roadblocks. He threw stones in the ensuing confrontation with police and covered his face with a scarf to avoid the teargas launched in his direction. And he watched in fear as the national military entered the town that evening and, the next morning, began firing live bullets, killing 10 people and injuring more.

Uneasy peace and simmering conflict: the Ethiopian town where three flags fly
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“They were shooting at us with silencers on,” he says. “One of the boys killed was only 15. They killed girls too – one was my friend. A lot of my friends have died.”
The sugar rumour and the tragic events it sparked exposed the bitter web of grievance felt by many in Ambo and the surrounding region of Oromia, home to Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group: anger at what is perceived to be an unequal distribution of the country’s wealth, a pervasive sense of ethnic marginalisation, frustration with the endemic corruption that facilitates crime and contraband, and, above all, a deep mistrust of the authoritarian federal government in Addis Ababa.

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Friday, October 27, 2017

30 London MPs call for Boris Johnson to bring back Islington dad on death row in Ethiopia(The Standard)

26-10-2017- (The Standard)
Boris Johnson is facing pressure from 30 London MPs to help free Islington resident and Arsenal fan Andy Tsege, who has languished for three years on death row in Ethiopia.
Mr Tsege, a British citizen who lived solely in the UK after being granted political asylum in 1979, has been held since June 2014 after being convicted of terrorism offences in absentia five years earlier and being given a sentence of death. He had been a prominent dissident.

When he was Mayor of London, Mr Johnson wrote to Mr Tsege’s partner to say he regretted that “with no foreign policy remit” he could not directly intervene – but lawmakers said that he must now do more to help.
A letter to Mr Johnson, signed by 30 MPs including Sir  Vince Cable, Diane Abbott, and Harriet Harman, said: “In your role as Foreign Secretary, you are now in a position to help achieve the goal you yourself endorsed as

Mayor: bringing Andy back home to his family.”
Mr Tsege, a British citizen who lived solely in the UK after being granted political asylum in 1979, was abducted from Yemen’s Sana’a International Airport on his way to visit Eritrea in June 2014. A prominent dissident, the Islington resident was convicted of terrorism offences in absentia by the Ethiopian regime in 2009 and handed a death sentence.

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10 Dead in Ethiopia After Security Forces Fire on Protesters

At least 10 people have been killed and 20 others wounded during violent protests Thursday in the town of Ambo, in Ethiopia's Oromia region, after federal security forces fired on the demonstrators.
The latest protest — which follows on more than a year of deadly protests in the region between November 2015 and December 2016 — was triggered by recent shortages of sugar.

The local head of communications, Gadisa Desalenge, told VOA that the federal and special elite "Agazi" forces, who were deployed to the area early Thursday, were responsible for the deaths.
Desalenge also told VOA that some of the protesters, "infuriated by the killings," set several trucks on fire.

VOA Horn of Africa service contacted the Ethiopian government for comment, but so far has not received a reply.
Meanwhile, the U.S. embassy in Ethiopia issued a statement acknowledging "deeply disturbing reports of violence and deaths in Ambo."

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