‘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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Rebels in Gas-Rich Ethiopian Region in Talks With Government

  • Meeting may help end three-decade insurgency by rebel group

  • Leaders discussed ‘modalities’ for more substantive talks

By Nizar Manek, 19 September 2018
(Bloomberg) --
A rebel group in eastern Ethiopia’s gas-rich Somali region began landmark peace talks with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government.
The talks may lead to a referendum on self-determination after a three-decade insurgency by the Ogaden National Liberation Front in an area where gas extraction could generate $7 billion of state revenue a year. They’re the latest step toward a political thaw in the Horn of Africa country in the wake of sweeping political reforms initiated under Abiy since he came to power in April.
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Eritrea Must Free Ex-Minister Critical of President, Group Says

  • Former finance chief arrested this week after publishing book

  • Detention comes as Africa nation faces new calls for democracy

By Nizar Manek, September 19 2018
(Bloomberg) --
Eritrea’s government must release a former finance minister who was arrested this week after publishing a book criticizing President Isaias Afwerki and then challenging him to a debate, Amnesty International said.
Berhane Abrehe should be given an immediate and unconditional release, the London-based rights group said Wednesday in an emailed statement, describing his Sept. 17 detention as “disappointing.” Eritrean Information Minister Yemane Gebremeskel didn’t immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.
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Chinese Entrepreneur Trying to Bring Shenzhen Miracle to Africa

  • Helen Hai opening shoe, clothing factories in Ethiopia, Rwanda

  • Aim is to attract $1 billion in investment to Rwanda

By Bloomberg News, 18 September 2018
(Bloomberg) --
The Ethiopian officials visiting Shenzhen saw how it was transformed from a tiny, southern fishing village into a manufacturing powerhouse within 35 years, spawning China’s economic miracle. The message was clear: Ethiopia can do this, too.
Yet one minister on the 2013 trip didn’t believe that was enough and sought out his host, Helen Hai, telling her he had plenty of nice reports from American and European advisers showing him a vision of the future. He wanted specifics.
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Saudi Brokers Ethiopia-Eritrea Deal to Aid Regional Security

  • Jeddah Peace Accord signed in presence of Saudi king, UN chief

  • Saudi Arabia seeking greater influence in Horn of Africa

By Nizar Manek, 17 September 2018
(Bloomberg) --
Saudi Arabia brokered a new peace agreement between Ethiopia and Eritrea aimed at stabilizing the Horn of Africa region, Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki signed the so-called Jeddah Peace Accord on Sunday in the presence of King Salman bin Abdulaziz and United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. It’s the second peace deal the two states have made since they ended decades of enmity in July.
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Ethiopian Police Detain 700 After Weekend Attacks, Fana Says

By Nizar Manek, 17 September 2018
(Bloomberg) --
Police in Ethiopia’s restive Oromia region detained about 700 people in connection with weekend attacks and looting on the outskirts of the capital, Addis Ababa, Fana Broadcasting Corp. reported.
Twenty-three people were killed in the attacks on Saturday during the homecoming from neighboring Eritrea of leaders of the opposition Oromo Liberation Front, the ruling party-funded broadcaster cited Oromia Police Commissioner Alemayehu Ejigu as saying. About 300 of those held are in Addis Ababa and the rest in Burayu, on the outskirts of the capital, Fana reported, quoting the Horn of Africa nation’s Federal Police Commissioner Zeinu Jemal.
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Rebels in Eastern Ethiopia to Seek Self-Determination Vote

  • Group to make the demand at historic talks with government

  • Autonomy bid may intensify a tussle over energy resources

By Nizar Manek, 17 September 2018
(Bloomberg) --
A rebel group in Ethiopia said it will demand a referendum on self-determination for the country’s troubled, gas-rich Somali region during landmark peace talks with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government.
The plan by the Ogaden National Liberation Front, which has staged a low-level insurgency in Ethiopia’s east for more than three decades, comes as Abiy invites once-banned opponents to take part in elections. The demands may aggravate a scramble for the region’s energy resources, including natural gas reserves the government estimates will eventually earn it $7 billion a year.
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Eritrea Seeks Regional Role as It Casts Off Hermit-State Tag

  • Country emerging from isolation after Ethiopia rapprochement

  • Closer ties being forged with U.A.E., Russia, Saudi Arabia

By Nizar Manek, 14 September 2018
(Bloomberg) --
Eritrea is casting off its reputation as a hermit state and pushing to become a key player in one of the world’s most strategically important regions.
Decades of eschewing international cooperation by the Red Sea state are giving way to renewed ties. Relations with Ethiopia, its sworn enemy since a border war at the end of last century, are blossoming after the two states agreed a rapprochement in July. Somalia signed a trilateral cooperation accord with the two countries that includes an initiative to seek peace with Djibouti, which in turn has welcomed the move.
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Djibouti Nationalizes Port Company Stake in DP World Dispute

  • Government canceled DP World’s management contract in February

  • U.K. tribunal ruled last month that cancelation was unlawful

By Nizar Manek 10 September 2018
(Bloomberg) --
Djibouti’s government nationalized the national port company’s stake in the Doraleh Container Terminal, escalating its battle with DP World Ltd. for control of the harbor.
The step comes a month after a U.K. tribunal ruled that Djibouti’s cancellation in February of DP World’s contract to run DCT was unlawful. It also follows the High Court of England & Wales’ granting of an injunctionlast week restraining Port de Djibouti SA, or PDSA, from treating its joint-venture agreement with DP World as terminated.
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`Season of Peace' Blooms as Red Sea States to Rebuild Ties

  • Eritrea, Djibouti may draw line under dispute dating to 2008

  • Latest rapprochement in African region on key shipping route

By Nizar Manek, 7 September 2018
(Bloomberg) --
The Red Sea states of Eritrea and Djibouti agreed to normalize relations, a further sign of what Eritrea’s president called a “season of peace” in the strategically important Horn of Africa region that has been riven by rivalries.
The agreement may draw a line under a border dispute between the countries whose troops clashed in 2008 and may help once-isolated Eritrea secure the removal of near-decade-old United Nations sanctions. It’s the latest movement toward harmony in an area that’s on a key shipping route to the Suez Canal, following an historic peace deal between Eritrea and regional giant Ethiopia in July that’s ending 20 years of tensions.
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Ethiopian Airlines Flight in Near Collision, Flightradar 24 Says

  • ET585 almost crashed with NO252 last week, website says

  • Ethiopian air-traffic controllers had been on strike in August

By Nizar Manek, 6 September 2018
(Bloomberg) --
An Ethiopian Airlines Group flight almost had a mid-air collision with a Neos SpA plane in Kenyan airspace last week, according to tracking website Flightradar 24.
ET858 “narrowly avoided” NO252 at 37,000 feet, the flight tracker said on Twitter. NO252 is the flight between Zanzibar in Tanzania, Kenya’s resort city of Mombasa and Verona, while ET858 is Ethiopian Airline’s route from Johannesburg, South Africa, to Addis Ababa, the Horn of African nation’s capital.
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Ethiopian Air-Traffic Controllers End Strike, Fana Reports

By Nizar Manek, 5 September 2018
(Bloomberg) --
Air-traffic controllers in Ethiopia have ended their strike and returned to work, Fana Broadcasting Corp. reported, citing the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority.
The authority will conduct a study about increasing pay for the controllers, the Addis Ababa-based broadcaster said on its website.
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Exim Bank China, Ethiopia Discuss Loan Restructuring, Fana Says

By Nizar Manek, 3 September 2018
(Bloomberg) --
Ethiopia and the Export-Import Bank of China agreed to consider restructuring the Horn of Africa nation’s loans, Fana Broadcasting Corp. reported, citing Chief of Staff at the Prime Minister’s Office Fitsum Arega.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed met with Hu Xiaolian, Exim’s chairwoman, in Beijing, the broadcaster said on its website. China is Ethiopia’s biggest trading partner and provides the most foreign direct investment, it said. There are about 400 Chinese investment projects with a combined capital of $4 billion operating in Ethiopia, Fana reported, citing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
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Eritrea May Alter Army Draft That Forced Thousands to Europe

  • End of war-footing may lead to reform in national services

  • Program sparked exodus from Horn of Africa country, UN says

By Nizar Manek, 3 September 2018
(Bloomberg) --
Eritrea says it will cut the size of its army as part of changes to a system of mandatory national service that the United Nations blames for propelling tens of thousands of people to flee to Europe and neighboring countries.
The official end to a two-decade war with neighboring Ethiopia means the country that sits on a key shipping route to the Suez Canal may be able to place some working-age people in industries such as infrastructure and agribusiness, and spur self-employment, according to government officials.
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