An Ethiopian opposition leader, who was sentenced to death while in exile for plotting a coup, has been extradited from Yemen to Ethiopia, his group says.
Andargachew Tsege, who is also a British national, is secretary-general of the banned Ginbot 7 movement.
The Ethiopian government allegedly requested his extradition after he was arrested in Yemen last month.
European MEP Ana Gomes told the BBC the UK needed to use its political leverage to ensure his release.
The Ethiopian government has not commented on the alleged extradition.
US-based Ginbot 7 spokesman Ephrem Madebo told the BBC's Focus on Africa radio programme that Mr Andargachew had been on his way from the United Arab Emirates to Eritrea when he was detained during a stopover at Sanaa airport.
Mr Ephrem said that he had spoken to Mr Andargachew's family who had been contacted by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office on Thursday.
British officials told the family that the Yemeni ambassador to the UK had informed them that Mr Andargachew had been handed over to Ethiopia, Mr Ephrem said.
In a statement the UK Foreign Office said it was aware that Mr Andargachew had been missing in Yemen since 24 June.
"Since then UK officials have pressed the Yemeni authorities at senior levels to establish his whereabouts, including meeting with the Yemeni ambassador in London this week," a Foreign Office spokesman said in a statement.
"We are aware of reports that he may now be in Ethiopia and we are urgently seeking confirmation from the relevant authorities given our deep concerns about the case. We are continuing to provide consular assistance to his family."
Ms Gomes, who led the European Union observer mission to Ethiopia during the 2005 elections, said she had written to UK Foreign Secretary William Hague about the case.
"If the British government is not complicit with this kidnapping and this rendition of Mr Andargachew Tsigue to the Ethiopian regime - [which] will obviously torture him, accuse him of all sorts of things and eventually kill him - then the British government has to get immediately the release of Mr Andargachew," she told BBC Focus on Africa.
"If there is a country that is extremely influential in Ethiopia, it is Britain - it's a major donor and it's a major political backer of the regime in Ethiopia."
Mr Ephrem said that the UK government should have intervened in the case earlier.
"The UK government looks like a collaborator because the UK government never acted," he said, adding that it was ridiculous to consider Mr Andergachew a terrorist.
"To the Ethiopian government even bloggers are terrorists [and] journalists are terrorists," he said.
Ginbot 7 (15 May) was named after the date of the 2005 elections, which were marred by protests over alleged fraud that led to the deaths of about 200 people.
In 2009, the year before the last elections, Mr Andergachew was among a group of Ginbot 7 leaders sentenced to death in absentia for planning to assassinate government officials; they denied the charges.
Looking to borrow some money? We've found you the best person to go to in each state.
The interactive map below from the real estate blog Movoto shows the net worth of the richest resident in each U.S. state. Darker shades of blue reflect those at the richest end of the wealth spectrum, while darker shades of red reflect those at the lower end. As you can see in the map, there's a wide gulf between the fortunes of America's richest.
Washington resident and Microsoft founder Bill Gates' $80 billion net worth makes him the richest person in the country (and the world). The least rich individual on the map is Robert Gillam, founder of McKinley Capital, an Alaska-based institutional investment firm. But don't feel too bad for him -- he's worth a cool $700 million.
Heirs to the Walmart empire dominate three states: Arkansas (Jim Walton, worth $35.7 billion), Texas (Alice Walton, worth $35.3 billion) and Wyoming (Christy Walton, worth $37.9 billion).
According to a damning confidential memo by Dr. Solomon Ungashe, one of the founders of the Oromo Media Network, circulating on Oromo online forums, Jawar Mohammed raised over $300,000 during the Oromo First campaign which was supposed to go to the coffers of OMN. Dr. Solomon Ungashe alleges that because Jawar and his wife Arfase Gamade were not willing to transfer the money only $20,000 was transferred to OMN from Jawar’s account. Apparently, one of the problems causing division in OMN is the issue of this money that melted away in Jawar and Arfase’s pockets. Jawar insisted that all the money raised during the Oromo First campaign was not raised for OMN but for himself. The memo reveals that OMN’s main problems are tied with the corrupt, dictatorial and manipulative tendencies of Jawar Mohammed.
“Once money was generated from Oromo communities, Arfase and I were assigned to see to it that the money was transferred to OMN account. This proved very difficult and OMN problem started at this point. Unbeknownst to us, Jawar Mohammed had created a parallel committee called Principal Coordinating Committee, PCC for short. Jawar and his wife Arfase were members of this committee. Mohammed Ademo asked Jawar what the role of the PCC was. He assured us its role is simply to collect the fund and transfer it to OMN. That proved to be false. Week after week and month after month Arfasse and Jawar who were supposed to talk to PCC members and transfer the money to OMN kept giving one reason after another for failing to do so. Out of more than $300,000 collected by Oromo community only $20,000 was transferred to OMN account. We were very frustrated,” Solomon wrote. Read full text of memo below.
1. In mid 2012, I convinced myself it was time to start a sustainable Oromo media. I reached at that conclusion because I observed that a handful of Internet radio programs and a few TV broadcasts had started in the Diaspora. This hinted to me there was sufficient manpower and expertise to establish a strong media. I discussed the proposal with some people including Abraham Mosisa, Israe’l Soboqaa, and Abdi Fixee; they all encouraged me to push the idea forward.
2. I next contacted Jawar Mohammed and Mohammed Ademo separately. Jawar was unhappy that I shared the idea with Mohammed Ademo but I did not understand the reason at the time.
3. Soon after that OMN core committee of nine members was established.
The members were: 1) Jawar Mohammed, 2) Arfase Gamada, 3)Girma Tadesse, 4) Micah Cirri, 5) Abdi Fiixee, 6) Ayyaantuu Tibeesso, 7) Mohammed Ademo, 8) Tigist Geme, and 9) Solomon Ungashe. Of these 9 members Ayyantuu Tibeesso was unable to take and we did not fill her place. We conducted once or twice weekly teleconferences to move the project forward.
4. In late 2012, I went to Oromia and one of my responsibilities was to establish OMN on the ground there. I was tasked to recruit journalists who will work for us as reporters either on a permanent basis or as part time freelancers. I was working very closely with Mohammed Ademo on this matter.
5. In Mid-2013 Mohammed Ademo told us at our weekly teleconference that there was an opportunity to get Oromo issue aired on Aljazeera. We discussed about it and delegated Mohammed Ademo and Jawar Mohammed to take part in it. That led to Jawar declaring, “I am Oromo First” on TV and that as we know became controversial
6. Shortly after that incident, Jawar suggested we should use Oromo First campaign to raise fund for OMN.
We all agreed and decided that other committee members must take part in the campaign too. The idea of me coming back to the US to take part in it was raised by Jawar himself but we decided against it because there were other things I was doing there and I also personal matters to attend to. So everybody else took part in the Oromo First campaign and we decided to end it in September 2013.
7. Once money was generated from Oromo communities, Arfase and I were assigned to see to it that the money was transferred to OMN account. This proved very difficult and OMN problem started at this point. Unbeknownst to us, Jawar Mohammed had created a parallel committee called Principal Coordinating Committee, PCC for short. Jawar and his wife Arfasse were members of this committee. Mohammed Ademo asked Jawar what the role of the PCC was. He assured us its role is simply to collect the fund and transfer it to OMN. That proved to be false. Week after week and month after month Arfasse and Jawar who were supposed to talk to PCC members and transfer the money to OMN kept giving one reason after another for failing to do so. Out of more than $300,000 collected by Oromo community only $20,000 was transferred to OMN account.We were very frustrated. ￼￼
8. Meanwhile, Mohammed Ademo drafted bylaws and code of conduct for OMN. They were all excellent. I suggested a minor change that was accepted. Only Jawar Mohammed disagreed on a clause pertaining to politics and media and promised he will write an alternative clause instead. We agreed. We waited for more than 6 six weeks but he never produced the alternative clause he had promised.
9. Then it was time to nominate people to be on Board of Trustees. Jawar Mohammed suggested that members of the PCC should take part in the nomination and we all agreed. A joint OMN-PCC teleconference was called. The PCC had 11 members including Jawar and Arfase.
The number of effective OMN members was hence 6. The discussion became the discussion of 6 against 11. The first topic to be discussed was criteria for selection of board members. A proposal was made by OMN founding member that those elected to be on board of trustees must not have a high level active participation in a political organization. All PCC members disagreed very strongly. There was no listening at all. The PCC did not come to discuss, they came to dictate and they had the vote to do whatever they wanted. They therefore handpicked Board members without participation from us.
10. Early on we had discussed we will hire a media professional for short term to help us lay the foundation in Minneapolis. We wanted that person to be someone who has TV background and practical experience and we were looking for such a person.
11. Immediately after the first PCC-OMN joint meeting, Jawar convened PCC meeting and they decided that he will quit his studies at Columbia and move to Minneapolis to lead the founding effort. That meant they have overturned our earlier decision to hire an expert in media affairs. Mohammed Ademo and I said we should instead hire an experienced person. We also argued because Jawar is a prominent person in Ethiopian politics, the idea of him running OMN, a supposedly independent media, does not sound right. The PCC members all agreed with what Jawar said and Mohammed Ademo and I resigned the next morning. Tigist Geme followed us shortly after that.
12. It is important to grasp this chain of events. Jawar Mohammed established a separate committee called PCC that his wife chaired. This committee controlled the fund raised from Oromo communities. Because of good will we never objected to PCC joining OMN committee in the selection of board of directors. That turned out to be a fatal mistake on our part. With that action, Jawar put himself in a position to single handedly pick OMN board and executive committee members.
13. Dr. Birhanu Dirbaba is supposedly the editor-in-chief for OMN. But in reality Jawar has been acting as the editor-in-chief as well. Dr. Birhanu had resigned once over disagreement with what Jawar has been doing. He was rehired again after a prolonged intense plea by OMN board members. There is no guarantee that he will not leave again.
14. Micah Cirrii, one of the founding members resigned from OMN less than two months ago protesting Jawar Mohammed’s dictatorial actions.
15. Girma Tadese, Arafase and Jawar have agreed to make Jawar the editor-in-chief of OMN. The few people remaining with OMN rejected this idea and that is why it has not been announced yet.
16. Contrary to what OMN has announced, Ahmed Yasin and Kadiro Elemo quit protesting Jawar Mohammed’s dictatorial behavior. It surprises me why people do not call them and ask what the truth is.
17. The exodus from OMN will continue unless solution is found immediately. The following actions are desperately needed. a. OMN board must appoint independent investigators. The investigators must speak to all parties concerned. b. Jawar’s role in the organization, and the pay he deserves must be decided and made public. c. A new executive director must be appointed in a transparent manner. Appointing someone hand picked by Jawar again is not going to solve the problem. d. The members of the Board of directors of a company are elected by people who invested in it. Oromo communities around the world are the investors in OMN. They should be the ones who can nominate and elect board of directors. This has to be codified in the OMN bylaws and implemented immediately.
Addis Ababa — The capital of Ethiopia's northern Tigray region, Mekelle, has banned smoking in public areas, making it the first Ethiopian city to implement a tobacco control proclamation bill passed by parliament last year.
Ethiopian lawmakers last year unanimously passed a law prohibiting smoking in public as part of national efforts to discourage the practice and curb tobacco-related illnesses.
The ban, which has been welcomed by the wider public, also intends to help reduce exposure to secondhand smoke.
The new law restricts smoking in public areas, including bars and restaurants and will also be banned in open-air spaces, including sports venues, schools, hospitals, health centres, and other areas where cultural and religious events take place.
The law requires all public and private institutions to post a "No Smoking" sign within full view of patrons and also forbids media from advertising or promoting of tobacco products.
According to sources in Mekelle, individuals caught violating the regulations will be fined $50, while bar owners who fail to enforce the new laws will face a $150 fine.
Approached by Sudan Tribune, residents in Addis Ababa commended the move taken by the city and called on authorities in the capital and elsewhere to follow Mekelle's lead and introduce similar restrictions.
Young Ethiopians usually start smoking while still in high school due to peer pressure among friends, although the prevalence significantly increasing among students at colleges and universities.
"Most students begin smoking cigarettes and chewing Chat a few months after joining college and I sometimes feel like the colleges are turning into addiction-teaching institutions," said Kifle lemma, a third-year student at Addis Ababa university.
Another student, who is himself a smoker, said he believes the new law will push him and other smokers to cut their daily consumption of tobacco, while also helping curb passive smoking and discourage those intending to take up the habit.
With a population of some 94 million, Ethiopia, which is Africa's second most populous nation, is considered to have one of the lowest smoking rates globally.
However, the country still sees tobacco as a growing public health concern.
Recent figures show that the Horn of Africa's nation has an estimated 2.5 million smokers.
According to a 2012 study by the World Lung Foundation, the number of cigarettes smoked per adult per year in Ethiopia is only 62 cigarettes, well down on those in heavy smoking countries such as Serbia, which consumes more than 2,800.
A top Ethiopian government official has claimed the International Court of Arbitration Chamber of Commerce has dismissed a claim by PetroTrans that the Horn of Africa nation had unlawfully revoked its contracts.
Ethiopian authorities revoked the company’s exploration and development contracts, signed in 2011, saying PetroTrans had failed to carry out its contractual obligations.
The ministry of Mines, Petroleum and Natural Gas said the company had failed to commence work within the initial contractual timeframe. Minister Tolosa Shagi said after revising the date of commencement, the company still failed to start developing the gas project in time.
The Geneva Tribunal decided in favour of the Ethiopian ministry, rejecting PetroTrans’ request either to be reinstated or paid a compensation of $1.4 billion. Tolosa said the court passed its ruling on December 2015, but notified the litigants about the decision only last week. The case, which also resulted in the termination of other four agreements between the ministry and the Hong Kong-based firm, took three years to finalise. Tolosa said the verdict would set a precedent in the future in dealing with companies that flout contract regulations. The agreement, signed in July 2011 between the Ministry and PetroTrans gave the latter the right to explore and develop petroleum and natural gas in five blocks in the eastern part of the country. After revoking the agreement following the company’s failure to carry out its contractual obligations, the Ethiopian government awarded the project to a Chinese company, Poly-GCL in November 2013. Source: theafricareport
Sudanese national shouting ‘Allah Akhbar’ reportedly attempted to strangle the Israeli on a flight from Chad to Ethiopia.
Barak Ravid, haaretz.com
An Israeli citizen was attacked by a Sudanese Muslim on an Ethiopian Airlines flight from Chad to Ethiopia last week, the Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday night. “The Sudanese attacker was detained by the Ethiopian police when the plane landed in Addis Ababa and remains in custody,” the ministry said. Ethiopian Airlines identified the attacker in a statement as Ahmed Alsheikhidris Mohamed
The Israeli embassy in Addis Ababa has been notified by the local authorities. The incident was first reported by the Ynet website. The 54-year-old Israeli, who was identified as Arik Zenouda, said that the Sudanese national attacked from behind and tried to strangle him when the plane began its descent into Addis Ababa “He hit me on the head with a metal tray, shouting ‘Allah Akhbar’ amd ‘Itbach al Yehud,'” Arik told Ynet. “In the beginning I was unable to make a sound or call for help. It was only after a few seconds, when I was on the verge of losing consciousness, that I managed to scream. A stewardess saw what was going on and called other members of the cabin crew. “Even after they distanced him from me, he tried to hit me and shouted in Arabic. Some of the cabin crew took me to the back of the plane while others guarded him in the front.” Ethiopian Airlines said in a statement that the attacker didn’t show any signs of violence prior to boarding the flight. “He didn’t only attack the Israeli passenger, but other passengers and crew members as well,” the statement said, adding that the attacker has been banned from flying with the company again. Ethiopian Airlines apologized for the incident, and noted that since it started its activities in Israel, no Israeli passengers have been subject to violence on its flights. read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.684041
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (CNN)In Addis Ababa, a city of over 4 million people, the more traditional way of getting around has been in mini vans -- a cross between a bus and a taxi, that picks people up and drops them wherever they want to go.
But now, a newly opened urban metro service is set to transform the way people in Ethiopia's capital get to work.
The $475 million Light Rail Project is a joint venture between Ethiopia and China and the first of its kind for the city and sub-Saharan Africa..
"There has been a lot of positive economic development in the last 20 years," Dr Getachew Betru, CEO of Ethiopian Railways Corporation, told CNN.
At the moment that means taking 60,000 people who live in the suburbs and bringing them towards the center to work: "You would not imagine to have that in a sub-Saharan city".
Now passengers can hop aboard two lines that connect the east and west and north and south.
Tickets cost up to 6 bir, around $0.27, and trains run between 6AM and midnight.
"It's really exciting" says Behailu Sintayehu, Manager of the Light Rail Project. "Recalling the situation 3 years ago, it didn't feel like it would happen like this. We are in a hurry to open up the other line as soon as possible."
For Sintayehu, the best part was the cooperation between the governments and the citizens: "The railway project came into the picture just after 100 years."
The energy used for the metro service is generated from big dams, located all over the country: "We do not share the power from the city of Addis and also we will not have continuous interruptions or power shortage problems" adds Sintayehu.
The initial stage of the operation is being overseen by the Chinese company Shenzen, as an exchange of skills and culture between Chinese and Ethiopian workers.
Once completed, the light rail will connect up with the national train system of Ethiopia, and by 2025 there will be 5 thousand kilometers of track across the whole of the country.
The long term goal is not just to connect Ethiopia, but to see the country connected to Djibouti, Sudan and Gabon.
ETHIOPIA— Witnesses in Durban, South Africa, say six people of Ethiopian origin have been killed in alleged xenophobic attacks over the past week.
Yonas Fikru, an Ethiopian businessman in Durban, says he knew all six victims, all of them men in their 20s who he says used to hang out at his shop.
He says they were killed in separate incidents, mostly during daylight hours, by South Africans.
“They just come, steal and attack. In fact, the body of one of the victims is about to be sent to back home … they doused his body in kerosene and killed him. But there were two others who were killed before him,” Fikru told VOA’s Horn of Africa Service in an interview Friday. “[The attackers] didn’t steal anything from them. They just came and killed them.”
Tegegne Aboye, another member of the Ethiopian community in Durban, said locals have tried multiple times to report incidents to the police but “it always falls on deaf ears.”
“The killer vigilante mobs are thinking that it is their right to do what they are doing,” he said. “Even when they are caught or when someone point out criminals, we see them released shortly. Some of them steal and we see them coming out the next day and committing more crime.”
Aboye said the Ethiopian embassy has not given enough help.
“We see our brothers getting killed, doused with a three-liter jerrican of kerosene, and no one is helping us when this happens,” he said. “We haven’t seen anyone sticking up for Ethiopian citizens here.”
VOA attempts to contact South African police about the cases received no response by the time of publication.
South Africa has experienced recurring bouts of attacks against foreigners in recent years. Poor South Africans blame the immigrants for taking jobs and contributing to crime.
Local media reported that BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank and JP Morgan have been selected to manage the bond sales.
World Bulletin/News Desk
Ethiopia is planning to build two more hydro-electric dams over the southern Omo River on border with Kenya for generating electricity, an Ethiopian spokesman said Saturday.
"Gilgel Gibe IV and V hydro-electric dams will be part of Ethiopia's next big projects during the next five-year national plan," Bizuneh Tolcha, spokesman for the Water Ministry, told Anadolu Agency.
He said the two dams will have the capacity to generate 2,050 megawatts of electricity.
"Some 1450 megawatts of the total electric power will be produced by Gilgel Gibe IV while Gilgel Gibe V will generate the remaining," he said.
Tolcha said that the cost of the two dams will be announced "when the assessment is completed".
Ethiopia has begun to sell bonds in the capital market as to generate funds for its mega-projects.
Local media reported Friday that BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank and JP Morgan have been selected to manage the bond sales.
Ethiopia built the Gilgel Gibe I on the Omo River in 2004. The dam has an electric output of 184 megawatts.
Gilgel Gibe II was inaugurated in 2010 and 80 percent of the construction has been finalized.
Kenyan activists have been lobbying against the construction of Gilgel Gibe dams on the ground that it will significantly impact the lives of communities around Lake Turkana – a claim denied by Ethiopian government.
Ethiopia has the potential to produce more than 45,000 megawatts of electricity from hydro-power.
“There are other hydro-electric projects being considered," Tolcha said.
Ethiopia is planning to build a number of dams for electricity generation, including a controversial hydroelectric dam on the Nile's upper reaches, which has strained relations with Egypt.
Ethiopia says it needs the dam to generate badly-needed energy. Egypt, for its part, fears the dam will reduce its traditional share of the Nile River – its main source of water.
Addis Ababa insists the new dam will benefit downstream states Egypt and Sudan, both of which will be invited to purchase the electricity thus generated.
Ethiopian authorities also commenced the construction of the Geba dam in September of this year in western Ethiopia at a cost of $583 million.