Dictator Meles Zenawi has died at the age of 57: ESAT

ESAT: Dictator Meles Zenawi has died at the age of 57

July 31, 2012 — Prime Minsiter Meles Zenawi passed away from an unspecified aliment in a Brussels hospital, according to Ethiopian Satellite Radio and Television (ESAT) in its nightly raido broadcast.

Citing the International Crisis Group and western diplomatic sources for its claims, the Amsterdam-based news agency said the 57-year-old dictator's death is being covered up by the regime to buy time for a successor.

Meles, whose appearance is the daily diet of the State media, has not been publicly seen in 40 days, fueling speculations that his health has deteriorated. During his absence, he has missed key events, including the two-day AU Summit held in Addis Ababa and a number of state visits.

Last week, unnamed European diplomats told the AFP and the Telegraph news agencies that Meles was in 'critical' condition and may not survive his aliment.

The other day, veteran fighter and Tigrayan Peoples Liberation Front founder, Sehbat Nega, said Meles is still in a European hospital but is not sure to which country. This uncertainty comes two weeks after he said Meles would return within a few days.

Sources say a select few of TPLF bigwigs are in the know of Meles deteroriting health status. Even senior officials within the TPLF party are being kept in the dark to prevent a power struggle from within.

Talk of Meles' health troubles has Addis Ababa on edge. Recently, An Ethiopian court banned distribution of a newspaper that published front-page articles about premier's health on the grounds of endangering 'national security'.