Indians Say They’re Being Held Hostage in Ethiopia Over Unpaid Wages

  • Indian employees plead for help in letter to management

  • Unpaid local staff put expatriate workers under house arrest

By Nizar Manek, 22 November 2018
(Bloomberg) --
India’s foreign ministry is investigating claims by expatriates in Ethiopia who say they are being held hostage by local staff that haven’t been paid after the financier Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Ltd. began defaulting on $12.6 billion in debt.
Seven Indian workers from the shadow lender, which rocked financial markets after it began missing debt payments earlier this year, have been detained since Nov. 25 at three sites in Ethiopia’s Oromia and Amhara states by unpaid local staff, according to an emailed letter from the employees.
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Ethiopia Plans Census That May Fuel Regional Autonomy Bids

  • Advisory council chosen for first population survey since 2007

  • African nation facing rebalancing of multi-ethnic federation

By Nizar Manek, 22 November 2018
(Bloomberg) --
Ethiopia will hold its first population census in more than a decade, a step that could have far-reaching consequences for the Horn of Africa nation that’s grappling with multi-ethnic representation and rippling demands for self-determination.
The census’ advisory council will have 20 members, including nine ministers and officials from all nine of Ethiopia’s ethnically based regional states, the ruling party-funded Fana Broadcasting Corp. reported Tuesday. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said in a meeting with previously outlawed opposition groups it’ll be before the 2020 election.
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Mass Grave in Ethiopia Contained 200 Protesters, Police Say

  • Victims had opposed regional government since 2012: police

  • Discovery is the latest bombshell in gas-rich Somali region

By Nizar Manek, 22 November 2018
(Bloomberg) --
Ethiopian police said a mass grave uncovered this month contained 200 people who’d protested against the Somali regional government over the past six years, as the Horn of Africa nation grapples with a historic political opening.
Police said Nov. 8 they were starting a court-ordered investigation into the grave found between the borders of the country’s troubled Oromia and Somali states. They presented their findings Thursday ahead of a trial for the Somali region’s ex-president, Abdi Mohamoud Omar, who’s accused of involvement in human-rights abuses, according to Fana Broadcasting Corp., which is funded by Ethiopia’s ruling party.
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Ethiopia's New Leaders Are Clearing House

(Bloomberg) --

  • Ex-officials probed as premier promises crackdown on ‘cancer’

  • Premier spearheading redistribution of power in African nation

By Nizar Manek, 22 November 2018
(Bloomberg) --
Ethiopia’s new leaders are clearing house as the nation’s political transformation gathers pace. Among the targets: officials at a military-linked conglomerate once in charge of building Africa’s biggest hydro power plant, former spy chiefs and northern and eastern elites.
Touting a crackdown on the “cancer” of corruption and rights abuses, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has vowed to usher in greater accountability and political freedom for the continent’s second-most populous nation. His recent confrontation with military officers shows not everyone may welcome the shakeup.
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Ethiopia Appoints Opposition Politician to Lead Vote Body

  • Ex-judge Birtukan’s appointment follows nomination by premier

  • Birtukan was freed in 2010 from life sentence imposed in 2008

By Nizar Manek, 22 November 2018
(Bloomberg) --
Ethiopian lawmakers appointed Birtukan Mideksa, an ex-judge and once-jailed opposition leader, as chairwoman of the electoral authority.
The appointment signifies Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s commitment to introducing multiparty democracy in a nation that’s been ruled by the same party since it overthrew a military dictatorship more than a quarter of a century ago. The Horn of Africa country is scheduled to hold elections in 2020.
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UN Lifts Decade-Old Sanctions on Eritrea After Peace Deal

  • Embargo’s end may boost once-isolated African nation’s economy

  • Country is restoring relations with former enemy Ethiopia

By Nizar Manek, 15 November 2018
(Bloomberg) --
The United Nations lifted almost decade-old sanctions on Eritrea, potentially boosting the once-isolated Red Sea nation’s economy as it rebuilds relations with giant neighbor and long-time foe Ethiopia.
The UN Security Council’s move ends restrictions first imposed in 2009 on accusations Eritrea backed armed groups including al-Shabaab in Somalia. Eritrea has long decried the claims as baseless and politically motivated, while UN investigators said they’ve found no evidence of support for the Somali al-Qaeda affiliate over the past five years.
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Ethiopia Arrests Dozens in Graft Probe at Key Conglomerate

  • Premier has set about reducing military’s role in economy

  • Police detain 63 people, including 27 suspected of graft

By Nizar Manek, 13 November 2018
(Bloomberg) --
Ethiopian police arrested dozens of people in an investigation into suspected corruption at Metal & Engineering Corp., a key industrial conglomerate linked to the country’s military.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is enacting a pledge he made after coming to power in April to reduce the security forces’ role in the state-planned economy, part of sweeping reforms he’s initiated. Three months ago, the government ended MeTEC’s involvement in a $4.6 billion hydropower project.
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Ethiopia Arrests Officials at Military-Linked Firm, AMMA Says

By Nizar Manek, 10 November 2018
(Bloomberg) --
Ethiopian authorities arrested about 20 senior representatives and other employees of Metals & Engineering Corp., the Amhara Mass Media Agency reported, citing people it didn’t identify.
Detentions are continuing, the agency said on its Facebook page, without specifying why they are being arrested. Further details will be announced on Monday, it said.
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Space Force Mooted as Ethiopia Overhauls Defense Capabilities

  • Landlocked nation in talks with nations to build naval base

  • Ethiopia to rewrite part of foreign, national security policy

By Nizar Manek, 24 August 2018
(Bloomberg) --
Ethiopia is considering adding a space force to its defense capabilities in a process to modernize the country’s military.
The changes are part of broader political and economic reforms Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed began implementing after coming to power in April. The landlocked Horn of Africa nation, which hasn’t had direct access to the sea since Eritrea seceded a quarter of a century ago, also plans to build a naval base.
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U.A.E. Military Base in Breakaway Somaliland to Open by June

  • Facility will help monitor strategic trade route to Suez Canal

  • Surveillance system to help protect area targeted by pirates

By Nizar Manek, 6 November 2018
(Bloomberg) --
A United Arab Emirates military base in the self-declared republic of Somaliland will begin operating by June and include a coastal-surveillance system, according to a diplomat involved in talks for the facility.
The U.A.E. is growing its military presence in the Horn of Africa to help protect trade flows through the Bab el-Mandeb strait, a key shipping lane used by oil tankers and other cargo vessels en route to the Suez Canal. Emirati footholds in Somaliland and Eritrea provide strategic locations as the U.A.E. supports the Saudi Arabia-led war against Houthi rebels in Yemen.
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Breakaway Somaliland Proposes Energy Pipeline for Ethiopia

  • Somaliland presents challenge to Djibouti’s plan for conduit

  • Government leveraging its strategic location in Horn of Africa

By Nizar Manek, 28 October 2018
(Bloomberg) --
A self-declared republic in Somalia asked Ethiopia to reroute its nascent oil and gas exports via a proposed new pipeline, challenging Djibouti’s long-held plans for a conduit.
The overture from Somaliland comes as Ethiopia begins exploiting an estimated 8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and test-drilling for oil in its restive east. It’s the latest bid by the Somali territory, which has sought statehood for almost three decades and plans its own crude output, to leverage its strategic location near the Red Sea to attract major foreign infrastructure projects.
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DP World Sees Key Role for Once-Isolated State in Ports Plan

  • Eritrea may provide trade route amid dispute with Djibouti

  • Company sees as many as 12 ports needed in Horn of Africa

By Nizar Manek, 19 October 2018
(Bloomberg) --
The Red Sea state of Eritrea may play a key role in DP World Ltd.’s plans in the Horn of Africa, where a dozen ports could be needed to service the region, Chief Executive Officer Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem said.
The Dubai-based state-controlled harbor operator is evaluating its strategy in the region after having its stake in a port in Djibouti -- the main trade route for Ethiopia, Africa’s fastest-growing economy -- nationalized by the government. Developing more ports in the Horn, including one it’s already building at Berbera in the self-declared republic of Somaliland, will help boost trade flows to Dubai, Bin Sulayem said in an interview.
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‘Mafia’ State Shows Worst of System Ethiopia Is Racing to Reform

  • Somali region’s chief was ousted by federal forces in August

  • Local authorities accused by rights groups of years of abuse

By Nizar Manek, 1 October 2018
(Bloomberg) --
Roving militias killing civilians. Prisoners stripped naked and rolled in hot ashes. “Mafia”-style murders and violence that forced more than a million people from their homes.
That’s the legacy that Mustafa Omer, the new president of Ethiopia’s gas-rich Somali region in the east, will have to overcome following the ouster after 11 years of the previous administration. His success could prove a crucial bellwether for efforts to usher in political freedom and reform the powerful security services across the entire Horn of Africa nation.
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Mob killings split Ethiopians as political fault lines test Abiy’s big tent

By Nizar Manek and Ermias Tesfaye, 26 September 2018
(Ethiopia Insight)--
Fatal attacks in Addis Ababa area represent only the tip of recent violence, as local disputes flare during transition, and an ideological struggle heats up
Between two popular celebratory rallies by contrasting opposition movements, Ethiopia’s deadly communal violence spread to the heart of the federation, shocking Addis Ababa, and fueling recriminations.
Local competition over resources and representation, as well an ethnically charged ideological struggle over the federal system, present major challenges for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed as he encourages all peaceful parties to participate in a newly open political environment.
On Sep. 13, as residents rigged up Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) flags in preparation for the return to Ethiopia of the group’s main faction two days later, individuals from the Oromo and Dorze ethnicities fought in and around Burayu, a town in Oromia state near the northwest boundary of Addis Ababa, the federal capital.
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