At least 72 Ethiopian refugees drowned in the Gulf of Aden



October 27, 2012 — At least 72 Ethiopian migrants are reported to have drowned yesterday while attempting to cross from Bossaso, Somalia to Yemen, authorities there reported.

The migrants were traveling in two boats which were hit by strong winds and waves that capsized them miles off the Yemeni shore, state officials disclosed.

Fleeing political repression and economic hardship, Yemen is seen as a gateway for other parts of Middle East due to its proximity to more prosperous gulf states.

Despite the risks of the voyage, some 75,000 Ethiopian migrants cross the Gulf of Aden annually, according to the United Nation’s refugee agency.

Yemen says it will implement measures in the immediate future that could reduce the rising number of Ethiopian migrants entering the country, according to Interior Minister Abdul-Qader Qahtan.


President of Ethiopia's Somali region sacked over leaked video


October 23, 2012 —The president of Ethiopia's conflict-ridden Somali region, Mr. Abdi Mohamoud Omar, has been removed from office, officials in Addis Ababa have disclosed.

Abdi, who has held this position since 2010, was sacked from his post by the central government after a staged, unedited footage of Swedish journalists in the Ogaden were stolen from his offices and made public, sources said.

The video showed Swedish correspondents Martin Schibbye and Johan Person with two men pretending to be ONLF rebels, in a choreographed staged video that was used to incriminate them.

Describing the video as a 'Spielberg production in the desert' to the BBC, Schibbye reveled senior regional officials were behind the staged video, including the vice president of the region, Mr. Abdifatah Mohamud Hassan.

“This was not being done by some crazy militia: the director was the vice president in the region, and in the evening the regional president [Abdi Mohamoud Omar] called us and said, ‘We are not satisfied by your performances in the film,’” said Mr Schibbye‬.

Sources say the leaked footage has been an embarrassment to the regime. Prior to being released early, former dictator Meles Zenawi often referenced the video as hard evidence for justifying an 11-year sentence handed down against the Swedes.



President of the Somali Region of Ethiopia, Mr. Abdi Mohamoud Omar,
has been sacked from office.


Six Ethiopians killed, hundreds injured by government forces



October 23, 2012 — At least six Ethiopian protesters were killed and hundreds more were wounded after the federal police shot live rounds at unarmed civilians in the Wallo town of Garba, witnesses said on Monday.

The bloody crackdown took place late on Sunday, when members of the federal police clashed with thousands of Ethiopian demonstrators, making it the ninth incident in which federal police have used deadly force against protesters in recent months.

Witnesses say the demonstrators came together after the government assaulted local Muslim representatives who denounced the five delegates selected during the widely boycotted Mejlis elections held two weeks ago.

Claiming the government is committing oppression and interfering in their religion, millions of Ethiopian Muslims and some Christians, have staged weekly protests and Mosque sit-ins throughout the country for nearly a year.

Government officials regularly deny all charges and accuse the protesters of promoting extremism. Both claims can not be independently verified due to the government restricting access to the media in areas where demonstrations take place.


Eritrea Launches Horn TV, an Al-Jazeera-like Channel

October 18, 2012 — Eritrea launches Horn TV, a new channel aimed at the Horn of Africa audience, government sources have disclosed.

Under the banner of "Bringing the Horn of Africa together", Horn TV says its goals are to provide timely, objective and balanced news coverage for a regional audience.

The new channel runs on NileSat and broadcasts in the major languages of the region, including Tigrinya, Amharic, Somali, Afaan Oromo, English and Arabic.

Horn TV will provide any non-government aligned producers an opportunity to air their programmes on their channel free of charge without commercial interruptions.

So far Somali and Ethiopian opposition groups, including the popular ESAT network, have taken advantage of this opportunity provided by the Government of Eritrea.

Some have described Horn TV as a regional Al-Jazeera in the making, while others have dismissed it as a channel built to gain influence for Asmara.

Ethiopia, which regularly blocks several western and regional channels critical of the regime, will likely attempt to jam the broadcasts of this new channel, observers noted.

END

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Horn TV launched to entertain, unite and inform the Horn of Africa audience 

Ethiopian TV is a propaganda factory: ETV Reporter


October 17, 2012 — Solomon Mengist, a senior correspondent who worked at the state-run Ethiopian Television and Radio Agency (ETRA), slammed his former employers in a Facebook post as being a trashy propaganda factory, ESAT reports.

Solomon, who worked under the English Educational Programmes Section of ETRA, criticized the regime for its lack of editorial independence. He stated officials are forcing reporters to produce regime propaganda, instead of authentic journalism.

Following his criticism on of the regime's repression and harassment of journalists, Mengist announced in protest he will no longer work for ETV. His announcement received a number of praises and supporters, while some cautioned him of the risks he's taking with such public criticism.

Ethiopia is among Africa's top jailers of journalists, where reporters work in an atmosphere of fear and self-censorship. Since 2001, at least 79 journalists have fled Ethiopia, the highest figure worldwide, according to the New York-based Committie to Protect Journalist.



Solomon Mengist - former Journalist for ETV

Ethiopia defeats Sudan 2-0 to qualify for African Nations Cup

October 14, 2012 — Ethiopia qualified for the African Nations Cup for the first time in 31 years, after the Black Lions defeated the Sudanese Falcons in Addis Ababa 2-0.

Ethiopia took a quick lead in this match, after Adane Girma netted a goal the first minute, followed by his teammate Said Saladin, who scored two minutes later. The rest of the match, the Black Lions put on an impressive defensive performance to secure their victory.

Ethiopians celebrating qualifying for African Nations Cup

Ethiopian National Football Team

Azeb Mesfin warned to vacate the National Palace

October 13, 2012 — Azeb Mesfin, the widow of former Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, has received a letter requesting her to vacate the National Palace for newly elected PM Hailemariam Desalegn and his family.

Citing safety concerns and traffic congestion in the area where PM Hailmariam is currently being housed, officials have warned Azeb that their patience is running thin and for her to accept moving into a new villa in exchange for her cooperation.

The former first lady and TPLF politbureau member, was supposed to have left the palace in early October, according to state officials. Sources say the grieving widow is staying in the palace primarily out of safety concerns of her own.

The heavily guarded National Palace is said to accommodate over 100 rooms and was recently renovated and refurnished by an Italian company, headed by architect and interior designer, Francesco Saverio Anticili.




Azeb Mesfin, the former first lady of Ethiopia

Getachew Belay and Kefyalew Azeze defect to the U.S.

October 05, 2012 — Getachew Belay, the former Deputy Chief Executive Officer of The Endowment Fund For the Rehabilitation of Tigray (EFFORT), defected to the United States.

Getachew, who is the nephew of Tigray Peoples Liberation Front founder, Sebhat Nega, is believed to have siphoned off hundreds of millions of dollars from EFFORT before fleeing.

Sources say Getachew was one of the last officials to speak to the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi during his hospitalization for liver cancer in Brussels, Belgium.

Prior to his senior positions within the TPLF Central Committee and EFFORT, Getchew served as Minister of the Ministry of Revenue for the federal government between 2001 to October 2005.

In a similar event, Kefyalew Azeze, the former Vice Mayor of Addis Ababa and current advisor to Kuma Demeksa's tenure, has defected with his family to the U.S. and is seeking political asylum.



Getachew Belay, a senior Ethiopian politician, defects to the U.S. 

Kefyalew Azeze, the former Vice Mayor of Addis Ababa, defects to the U.S.




Six rebel groups form alliance to topple Ethiopian regime

October 02, 2012 — Six Ethiopian rebel forces have formed an alliance aimed at toppling the Ethiopian government, led by the newly appointed and inexperienced Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegne.

The six groups predominantly hail from north and western regions of Ethiopa and have come together to call themselves the Ethiopians Alliance for a Democratic Change, or EADC.

In a communique issued yesterday, the group announced they seek the support and cooperation of opposition parties and civic associations working to overthrow the regime.

Claiming peaceful struggle and change has been closed by the ruling party, EADC says it's goals are to overthrow TPLF-led regime and end their ethnic hegemony over the country through the use of force.

Addis Ababa has been fighting several rebels throughout the country. Clashes with anti-government democracy and secessionist rebels are a frequent occurrence in the country of 85 million.

The six members of the EADC include the Gambella People's Liberation Movement, Benishangul People's Liberation Movement, Ethiopian People's Justice and Equality Front, Ethiopian People's Patriotic Front, Amhara Democratic Force Movement and Tigray People's Democratic Movement.

Ethiopian democracy rebels celebrating a battle victory