Ethiopia’s water minister denied that his country has started filling up Africa’s largest dam on Wednesday, a day after talks with Sudan and Egypt on the issue came to a deadlock. Following reports on his remarks, the minister said that higher water levels were due to recent heavy rainfall — and not due to the conscious efforts to fill the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
At least 50 people were killed in Ethiopia’s Oromiya region in protests following the fatal shooting of a popular singer, a regional spokesman said on Wednesday, laying bare splits in the prime minister’s political heartland ahead of next year’s polls. Musician Haacaaluu Hundeessaa was shot dead on Monday night in what police said was a targeted killing.
Sahle-Work Zewde was elected by the Ethiopian parliament as the country’s first female president. President Sahle-Work vowed to focus on gender equality in Ethiopia and to promote peace. Sahle-Work was appointed to the ceremonial position of president a week after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed created a cabinet with women filling half of the positions.
Ethiopia planted more than 353 million trees in 12 hours on Monday, which officials believe is a world record. The burst of tree planting was part of a wider reforestation campaign named “Green Legacy,” spearheaded by the country’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. According to Farm Africa, an organization working on reforestation efforts in East Africa, less than 4% of Ethiopia’s land is forested, compared to around 30% at the end of the 19th century.
The suspected ringleader of Saturday’s failed coup attempt in Ethiopia’s Amhara region has been shot dead, police say. Brig Gen Asaminew Tsige was killed as he attempted to escape from his hideout in Amhara’s capital, police added. Ethiopia’s army chief Gen Seare Mekonnen was killed while trying to foil the coup, the government said. Gen Asaminew is a member of the Amhara, the country’s second largest ethnic group.
An Ethiopian Airlines passenger jet bound for Nairobi crashed minutes after take-off on Sunday, killing all 157 people on board and raising questions about the safety of the Boeing 737 MAX 8, a new model that also crashed in Indonesia in October. “There are no survivors,” the airline tweeted alongside a picture of Chief Executive Tewolde GebreMariam holding up a piece of debris inside a large crater at the crash site. “The pilot mentioned that he had difficulties and that he wanted to return,” Tewolde told a news conference. Passengers from 33 countries were aboard, said Tewolde.