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Four killed in bomb blast as Ethiopia raises security alert: official

 ADDIS ABABA Wed Nov 6, 2013 2:13pm EST

 ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - Four people were killed when a bomb blast tore through a minibus in western Ethiopia late on Tuesday, at about the same time that the government warned of imminent attacks by militants, an official said.

The official, speaking to Reuters on Wednesday, said nobody had claimed responsibility for the blast.

Addis Ababa put its security forces on heightened alert on Tuesday night after receiving strong evidence that Somalia's Islamist al Shabaab group was plotting assaults.

It was not clear whether the blast occurred before or after that warning.

"The bomb exploded on Tuesday inside a minibus travelling in Segno Gebeya," government spokesman Shimeles Kemal said, referring to a region bordering Sudan.

"No one has claimed responsibility yet. The case is under investigation."

The warning came three weeks after officials said two Somali suicide bombers accidentally blew themselves up while preparing for an attack on football fans during Ethiopia's World Cup qualifying match against Nigeria.

Al Shabaab has warned Ethiopia of revenge attacks for deploying troops inside Somalia to fight the al Qaeda-linked militants, alongside African Union forces from Uganda, Burundi and Kenya.

The National Intelligence and Security Service also urged the public on Tuesday to inform police if they encountered "suspicious" activity, and urged hotel staff and private landlords to verify the identity of visitors.

Al Shabaab gunmen killed at least 67 people in September when they raided a mall in the neighboring Kenyan capital of Nairobi.

Addis Ababa says it has foiled several attacks in the past few years planned by domestic rebel groups and Somali insurgents.

There have also been sporadic explosions in recent years. Thirteen people were wounded when an explosive device ripped through a bus in the north in 2010, while a bomb explosion near a court in the capital injured two in 2011.

(Reporting by Aaron Maasho; Editing by Edmund Blair and Hugh Lawson


Egypt and Ethiopia Disagree on Probe of Nile Dam Impact

 By Ahmed Feteha & William Davison - Nov 6, 2013 7:38 AM CT 

Egypt called for international experts to help prepare a new study on the regional impact of a $4.2 billion dam in Ethiopia, which said a team made up of officials from the two nations and Sudan is enough.

Egypt wants “trusted international consultancies” to look into how the hydropower project on a tributary of the Nile River will affect the waterway’s flow well as safety issues, Egyptian Irrigation Minister Mohamed Abdel-Moteleb said after meeting his Sudanese and Ethiopian counterparts in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, on Nov. 4. Ethiopian Water and Energy Minister Alemayehu Tegenu said including such a group was unnecessary after global experts completed a report earlier this year.

“We didn’t agree on the composition of the established committee,” Alemayehu told reporters yesterday in Khartoum. “We don’t have any difference with the Sudanese, the difference we have is with the Egyptians.”

The 6,000-megawatt Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, set to be Africa’s largest when its completed in 2017, has raised concern in Cairo that it will reduce the flow of the Nile, which provides almost all of Egypt’s water. Ethiopia’s government has said it won’t pause construction or scale down the country’s most important development project. Sudan backs the dam, which will bring “many blessings and benefits for us,” Information Minister Ahmed Bilal Osman said in June.


‘Basic’ Analysis

In a June report, a group of international experts said Ethiopia’s analysis of the dam’s downstream impact during filling and operation was “very basic, and not yet at a level of detail, sophistication and reliability that would befit a development of this magnitude, importance and with such regional impact.” This week’s meeting was to discuss ways of acting on the report’s recommendations.

Egypt wants scientists from neutral countries to be involved in assessing issues including the dam’s dimensions, how it will be filled and discharged and “what will happen if it collapses,” Abdel-Moteleb said. The international experts’report said that Ethiopia hadn’t presented analysis of the consequences of a dam collapse, although officials informed them a study was being undertaken.

Ethiopia and Sudan don’t think a panel with neutral representatives is needed to hire and oversee consultants to conduct studies recommended by experts in June, Fekahmed Negash, head of the Ethiopian Water Ministry’s Boundary and Transboundary Rivers Affairs Directorate, said by phone fromAddis Ababa today.  “The countries can handle it,” he said.

Officials will meet in the Sudanese capital again on Dec. 8 to try and resolve the issue, Alemayehu said.

Ethiopia is the source of 86 percent of the water that flows into the Nile, the world’s longest river that runs 4,160 miles through 11 countries from Burundi in the south to Egypt, where it empties into the Mediterranean Sea.

To contact the reporters on this story: Ahmed Feteha in Khartoum at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ; William Davison in Addis Ababa at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  



 Ethiopia: Egypt objections delayin dam Panel   Differences between two countries over panel's composition persist, with Egypt fearing reduction of its water supply. Last Modified: 06 Nov 2013 05:00  Egypt had sought more studies about the Grand Renaissance Dam's impact on its water supply [File: Al Jazeera] Source: Agencies Egyptian objections are delaying formation of a committee to implement expert recommendations on an Ethiopian dam project, Ethiopia's water minister says. Egypt fears the 6,000 MW Grand Renaissance Dam, which will be Africa's largest when completed in 2017, could diminish its water supply,  At a one-day meeting in Khartoum, the water ministers of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia agreed to form the panel, Alemayehu Tegenu said on Tuesday. "But we didn't agree about the composition of this committee," he said. "We have differences with Egypt." Tegenu declined to elaborate on why there was disagreement over the committee's membership but said the three sides would meet again in Khartoum on December 8. Ethiopia began diverting the Blue Nile in May to build the dam. An international panel has issued a report outlining the dam's impact on water levels. The report has not been made public, but Ethiopia has said it confirms that the impact on water levels is minimal. Egyp, which is almost entirely dependent on the Nile, had sought more studies about the dam's impact on its water supply. Egypt believes its "historic rights" to the Nile are guaranteed by two treaties from 1929 and 1959 which allow it 87 percent of the Nile's flow and give it veto power over upstream projects. But a new deal signed in 2010 by other Nile Basin countries, including Ethiopia, allows them to work on river projects without Cairo's prior agreement. Sudan, along with Egypt, has not signed the new Nile Basin deal. Sudan too relies on Nile resources but has said it does not expect to be affected by the Grand Renaissance project.                      











Ethiopia police 'torture and abuse' political prisoners

   Protests earlier this year called for the release of political prisoners

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 Ethiopian authorities are torturing and mistreating political detainees to extract confessions, Human Rights Watch says.

 The US-based group says former prisoners at the main detention centre in Addis Ababa described being beaten and kicked during interrogation.  

It accuses Ethiopia of using anti-terrorism laws to stifle dissent.  

The government has dismissed the report as biased and lacking credible evidence, according to AFP news agency. 

The report by HRW says police investigators at Maekelawi prison use illegal interrogation methods, keep inmates in poor detention conditions, and routinely deny them access to a lawyer. 

Former detainees reported "being held in painful stress positions for hours upon end, hung from the wall by their wrists, often while being beaten", it said. 

'Culture of impunity'  

"Ethiopian authorities right in the heart of the capital regularly use abuse to gather information," said Leslie Lefkow, HRW's deputy Africa director.  

Ethiopia: Torture in the heart of Addis, even as leaders gather in gleaming AU building

October 21, 2013 

"They Want a Confession" 

Torture and Ill-Treatment in Ethiopia’s Maekelawi Police Station

Many journalists and diplomats who attend events in Addis Ababa’s gleaming new African Union building are probably unaware that it rests on the site of one of Ethiopia’s most notorious prisons. While that prison was torn down in 2007, its legacy of torture and abuse continues today at the heart of the capital. 

 Over the past year, I have spoken to dozens of people who were held in a detention centre called Maekelawi in central Addis. They described dire conditions and a range of abusive interrogation methods to extract information and confessions. 

 Since 2011, scores of high-profile individuals have been detained in Maekelawi under Ethiopia’s draconian anti-terrorism law, including journalists and opposition politicians, and held for months under the law’s lengthy pre-charge detention period as their “cases” are prepared for trial.