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  • Ethiopia: Kenenisa Bekele falls at start, drops out of Dubai

     

    DUBAI, Jan 20 – Kenenisa Bekele’s target of breaking Dennis Kimetto’s world record was thwarted after the Ethiopian star failed to finish at the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon on Friday.

    The world’s richest prize money marathon, happened at the start. Bekele, the world record holder at 5,000m and 10,000m and the second fastest man in a record eligible marathon, fell.

    Bekele’s fall was not picked up on the race broadcast, but the runners were not given an advance countdown and were crammed close together with the entire field right up on the professional runners.

    After the race, Bekele’s manager Jos Hermens said on the broadcast, that Bekele’s arm was bloodied in the fall and he injured his calf, but the details were not totally known.

    To viewers watching the race there was little evidence early on Bekele was injured because he soon caught the leaders and they were on a suicidal pace.

    Bekele and the leading pack started out the first 5k (14:26) very fast, perhaps too fast, as they were on 2:01:48 pace in 69 degree weather.

    By 10k (28:58) Bekele was 5 seconds back of the leaders, but they were still on world record pace. At 15k he was 36 back of the leaders and no longer on world record pace, although the leaders were still on world record pace.

    Bekele was clearly slowing and he’d reach halfway in 1:02:48 and soon after drop out grabbing his left calf.

    He’s still scheduled to run the Virgin London Marathon in April.

    Olympic 10,000-meter bronze medallist Tamirat Tola of Ethiopia won the race in 2:04:10 by an amazing 2 minutes and 36 seconds as the rest of the field fell apart due to the fast opening pace.

    Source: LetsRun

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  • Diplomatic row breaks out between South Sudan and Ethiopia

    A diplomatic row has broken out between South Sudan and neighbouring Ethiopia following rumours on social media that President Salva Kiir accepted to allow Ethiopian rebels to open their office in the capital Juba.

    “Rumours have been circulating on social media that when President Kiir visited Egypt, he discussed import issues with the Egyptian officials so that Ethiopian rebels can open an office in Juba, “a senior government official who preferred anonymity told Radio Tamazuj today.

    “The rumours circulated that the President has accepted to allow the Ethiopian rebels to open their office in Juba and Egypt will support the Ethiopian rebels with guns, because Egypt is having differences with Ethiopia over the issue of Renaissance Dam, so this is what happened on social media,” he added.

    The official accused the SPLM-IO faction allied to former First Vice President Riek Machar of circulating the rumour in neighbouring Ethiopia.”The rebels now took advantage of that, and this information has already reached the government of Ethiopia,” he said.

    He pointed out that the government of Ethiopia has decided to cut diplomatic ties with the government of South Sudan and expel South Sudan’s Ambassador to Addis Ababa.

    “Even if there are differences between us, Ethiopia cannot expel our ambassador, because the ambassador is the ambassador of South Sudan to Ethiopia and at the same time he is representing us in the African Union. So, Ethiopia cannot expel our ambassador,” he said.

    According to the official, South Sudan government will issue a statement to deny the rumour.

     

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  • Ethiopia: Arbitrary killings continue unabated, State Dep’t report says

    Ethiopian regime security forces used excessive force against protesters throughout the year in 2016, killing hundreds and injuring many more, the U.S. Department of State said in its annual report.

    Quoting Human Rights Watch (HRW) 2016 report the Department recalled  security forces killed more than 500 protesters. The protests were mainly in Oromia and Amhara regions. At year’s end more than 10,000 persons were believed still to be detained, the report said.

    According to the report, the most significant human rights problems were security forces’ use of excessive force and arbitrary arrest in response to the protests, politically motivated prosecutions, and continued restrictions on activities of civil society and NGOs.

    “There were numerous reports the government and its agents committed arbitrary and unlawful killings. Security forces used excessive force against protesters throughout the year, killing hundreds,” the report said.

    “Mistreatment reportedly occurred at Maekelawi, official detention centers, unofficial detention centers, police stations, and in Kilinto federal prison. There were reports police investigators used physical and psychological abuse to extract confessions in Maekelawi, the federal crime investigation center in Addis Ababa that often held high-profile political prisoners. Interrogators reportedly administered beatings and electric shocks to extract information and confessions from detainees.”

    Torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment of political prisoners have continued in the year while hundreds, including children, have disappeared.

    The report also recalled that calls for an independent investigations into the atrocities were rejected by the regime

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  • Ethiopia: Grenade thrown into residence of Gondar mayor

     

    A grenade was thrown into the residence of the mayor of the city of Gondar in northern Ethiopia early Sunday.

    The mayor, Tekeba Tebabal, was not at his residence at the time of the explosion and no one was injured, according to a source who spoke to ESAT.

    No party took responsibility for the attack but the source said the mayor might have been targeted by groups opposing the Ethiopian regime due to his ties to the authorities. The source also said opposition groups hold the mayor responsible for the death and incarceration of several people opposing the regime.

    This is the third grenade attack in the year. A bomb was thrown at the Entasol hotel in Gondar in January killing one person and injuring 18 others. An explosion hit the Grand Hotel in Bahir Dar but there were no casualties from that attack.

    Security has been tight in the city and security forces have been searching residences following the attack.

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  • As political repression intensifies, peace and stability become more elusive in Ethiopia -

    The year 2016 was one of the most climactic in recent history of Ethiopia. After two decades of political repression and economic exclusion, millions of citizens across the four corners of the country decided to engage in a peaceful rebellion demanding fundamental change in the country. Tragically, but not unexpectedly, the TPLF/EPRDF-led regime decided to use brute force against peaceful demonstrators, killing hundreds and throwing into jail tens of thousands who still languish in identified and unidentified prisons scattered across the country.

    The suffocating political environment, exacerbated by economic marginalization and exclusion, has created a social atmosphere of hopelessness and desperation for the majority of citizens.
    The recent grenade attack and explosions in the northern cities of Bahr Dar and Gonder demonstrate that the people of Ethiopia are being pushed to the limit by the regime supposed to serve and protect them. The relentless brutally deadly measures being taken by forces loyal to the regime has created a situation where people are resorting to self-defense and resistance, at times taking desperate measures as seen recently in the two northern cities.

    In the context of the brutal political, economic and social atmosphere, it is understandable that some groups might resort to such acts out of desperation. Ultimately, however, the people of Ethiopia and all concerned parties must hold the regime responsible for its institutional violence that continues to brutalize and alienate citizens, driving them to engage in desperate acts.
    Conflicts, as the world has been witnessing in various countries, have their own dynamics, at times going in unfathomable and tragically abysmal directions. They start small, sporadic and scattered, subsequently they grow and intensify, costing lives and enormous destruction. The main catalyst for an unfortunate yet avoidable catastrophe is repression, oppression, and exclusion which leaves citizens with no choice but defend themselves and their families from neo-totalitarian minority regime brutality. This is what we are seeing in Syria and what we have observed across the Middle East and North Africa in recent years.

    The reality is that durable peace cannot be maintained through a state of emergency and other forms of repressive measures. The only way towards sustainable and just peace is democracy, the supremacy of the rule of law and freedom for all citizens. Anything short of these fundamental changes and democratic dispensations could only be described as “pressure cooker” stability that is secured using brute force. History tells that the peace and stability that result from authoritarian rule are not only short lived but also dangerous.

    The regime has a well-established record, not only violating citizen’s fundamental rights, but disregarding the sanctity of human life. As such, it is plausible that these kinds of irresponsible attacks on civilian targets could be the works of the regime itself to sow suspicion and mistrust among and between various communities.

    All concerned parties, especially the international community, must take note of the progression of conflict and the deteriorating peace and security situation in Ethiopia under the veneer of a false sense of stability the leaders of the TPLF regime proclaim. In the absence of free and independent media, both national and international information on what is happening around the country and beneath the surface is hard to come by. However, citizen reporting and alternative media outlets are describing the deteriorating security situation in various parts of the country.

    The people of Ethiopia are at the edges. Ethiopia as a multi-ethnic, multi–religious nation is at crossroads. The Ethiopian people can no longer endure the institutional repression they have tolerated for the past 25 years. The time has come to usher in a peaceful transition. And the time is now. The alternative which the international community should be cognizant about is we will only see more violence and destruction born out of desperation and hopelessness under the current under the current brutal minority regime. The international community must learn lessons from ongoing conflicts elsewhere, witnessing the broad repercussions for the security, and stability of the Horn of Africa region.

    The Patriotic Ginbot 7 Movement for Unity and Democracy unambiguously opposes any attack on civilian targets. Our movement, while committed to transitioning Ethiopia to an inclusive democratic system of governance, takes all the necessary steps and precautions to protect the safety of the civilian population. Furthermore, we condemn in the strongest terms the government’s irresponsible action targeting civilians and demand it to immediately stop this heinous practice. We also demand all other concerned parties to take all precautionary measures that protects the safety of the civilian population

    It is imperative that the Western countries re-evaluate their relationship with the regime, and begin to build relationships with pro-democracy organizations and support their endeavors to move the country toward democracy, stability and just peace.

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  • New drought risks in Ethiopia may jeopardize recovery efforts -FAO

    The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization has warned that new drought across parts of southern Ethiopia may put recovery efforts at risk, unless urgent efforts are made to shore up vulnerable households in rural areas.

    In a statement released on Tuesday, pastoral communities in these regions could suffer consequences of last year’s El Niño climate phenomenon, already witnessing forage shortfalls and water scarcity.

    Safeguarding recent gains requires responding to the livelihood-sustaining needs of fragile households that lost or sold livestock and other assets, to cope with the worst El Niño in modern history.

    The organization is now calling for an immediate response to support the food security and nutrition of households relying on animals, along with the provision of supplementary animal feed, especially along migratory routes.

    Targeted de-stocking interventions will be implemented to make protein-rich meat available for vulnerable pastoral communities.

    80 percent of the Ethiopian population depend on agriculture and livestock for their livelihoods and an even higher share of the country’s arable land relies on seasonal rainfall.

     

     

     

    Source : africanews

     

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  • Ethiopia, DRC & Mali: 183 killed in protests between July-December 2016

    This statement was originally published on africafex.org on 21 March 2017.

    A total of 183 deaths were recorded from July to December 2016 following clashes between protestors and security agents in three countries – Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Mali.

    In each of the three countries, security agents used excessive force to disperse protestors who were demonstrating against specific issues in their respective countries. The police brutalities resulted in several deaths. A death toll of 150 was recorded in Ethiopia, 32 in DRC and one in Mali.

    To date, not one security agent has been prosecuted for any of the killings in the three countries.

    Unfortunately, this is just one of the many violations perpetrated against protestors, journalists and media organisations in Africa as reported in the maiden edition of the Freedom of Expression Situation in Africa report by the African Freedom of Expression Exchange (AFEX) compiled for the period July to December 2016.

    The periodic Freedom of Expression Situation in Africa Report is an intervention by AFEX that seeks to monitor and report on FOE violations (including violations against freedom of assembly and association) and other developments in Africa for the timely intervention by appropriate stakeholders.

    Over the six-month period, 63 incidents of violation were recorded in 19 countries across the African continent. State security apparatus were the main perpetrators of the violations. Together, they were responsible for 57 percent (36) of the 63 violations.

    State security agents were not only responsible for the killing of the 183 protestors in the three countries; they were also the perpetrators of all 19 incidents of arrests and detentions in 10 of the 19 countries covered in the report. in addition, five out of six media organisations were shut down by state security agents.

    State officials were also found to be perpetrators of media and FOE rights violations both online and offline. Of the 63 violations, 10 were carried out by/on the orders of state officials. Thus, state actors were generally the main perpetrators of the various violations reported in the Freedom of Expression Situation in Africa report.

    Sadly, only seven out of 63 recorded violations received some form of redress actions.

    For the full report on the types of violations cited, other perpetrators, the 19 countries monitored and the targets of the violations, click here.

     

    pia  Mali  Democratic Republic of Congo  Impunity  Attacks 

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  • Ethiopia Travel Warning - U.S. Passports & International Travel

    The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens to defer all non-essential travel to Ethiopia due to ongoing unrest that has led to hundreds of deaths, thousands of arrests, as well as injuries and extensive property damage, especially in Amhara and Oromia States. The U.S. Embassy’s ability to provide consular services in many parts of the country is limited by the current security situation.

    The Government of Ethiopia declared a State of Emergency effective October 8, 2016. An October 15 decree states that individuals may be arrested without a court order for activities they may otherwise consider routine, such as communication, consumption of media, attending gatherings, engaging with certain foreign governments or organizations, and violating curfews. The decree prohibits U.S. and other foreign diplomats from traveling farther than 40 kilometers outside of Addis Ababa without prior approval from the Government of Ethiopia, which severely affects the U.S. Embassy’s ability to assist U.S. citizens. The full text of the decree implementing the State of Emergency is available on the U.S. Embassy’s website.

    Internet, cellular data, and phone services have been periodically restricted or shut down throughout the country, impeding the U.S. Embassy’s ability to communicate with U.S. citizens in Ethiopia. You should have alternate communication plans in place, and let your family and friends know this may be an issue while you are in Ethiopia. See the information below on how to register with the U.S. Embassy to receive security messages.

    Avoid demonstrations and large gatherings, continuously assess your surroundings, and evaluate your personal level of safety. Remember that the government may use force and live fire in response to demonstrations, and that even gatherings intended to be peaceful can be met with a violent response or turn violent without warning. U.S. citizens in Ethiopia should monitor their security situation and have contingency plans in place in case you need to depart suddenly. 

    U.S. government personnel are restricted from personal travel to many regions in Ethiopia, including Oromia, Amhara, Somali and Gambella states, southern Ethiopia near the Ethiopian/Kenyan border, and the area near the Ethiopia/Eritrea border. Work-related travel is being approved on a case-by-case basis. U.S. government personnel may travel to and within Addis Ababa without restrictions. For additional information related to the regional al-Shabaab threat, banditry, and other security concerns, see the Safety and Security section of the Country Specific Information for Ethiopia

    Due to the unpredictability of communication in the country, the Department of State strongly advises U.S. citizens to register your mobile number with the U.S. Embassy to receive security information via text or SMS, in addition to enrolling in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). 

    For further information:

     

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  • It is also illegal to watch TV stations such as ESAT and OMN and other similar radio stations - BBC Africa

    A UN memo to staff in Ethiopia appears to give details of the likely measures to be imposed during the six-month state of emergency declared by the Ethiopian government last week. It quotes the Minister of Defence as a source. 
    The measures mentioned include a ban on using social media to communicate with "outside forces" and a ban on watching certain TV channels.

    Here are some of the points in more detail:

    • For their own safety, Diplomats are not allowed to travel more than 40 km beyond Addis.
    • A curfew from dusk until dawn was also imposed on major projects, factories, farms and governmental institution. Nobody can enter these institutions from 18:00 to 06:00. If anyone violates these rules, security forces are ordered to take the necessary measures.
    • Political parties are also banned from issuing press statements inciting violence.
    • Religious leaders are not allowed to make political statements on religious gatherings or
    • Demonstrations in educational institutions are forbidden.
    • Security forces are not allowed to ask for leave and cannot resign from their positions.
    • It is also banned to communicate with outside forces using any means of communication including Facebook or any other social media.
    • It is also illegal to watch TV stations such as ESAT and OMN and other similar radio stations.

     

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