Earlier this week Ethiopia’s Attorney General, Berhanu Tsegaye, announced the arrest/indictment of 36 members of the countries national intelligence unit and more than 30 members of Ethiopians military for a terror attack following the election of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed earlier this summer. The arrests come in conclusion to a 5 month investigation, now resulting in senior level officials of the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) being charged with attempted assassination.
As was reported by the Ethiopian Observer, the incident in question occurred on June 23rd 2018, when a previously unknown group of assailants threw grenades into a crowded rally being held in support of Prime Minister Abiy. Two people were killed in the attack. According to their report, “Oromo ethnic groups were deliberately recruited to carry out the attack, to give the impression that the Prime Minister was killed by his own ethnic group members,” Berhanu told a press conference. If you were unaware, the Oromo people have been at the forefront of Ethiopian political discussion and conflict dating back to 2015, when the Government run by then President Mulatu Teshome was known to have killed hundreds of Oromo protesters – essentially making them the perfect scapegoat for “political attacks” in 2018. Indubitably, this is why the Ethiopian Intelligence community tried to frame them.
Ethiopia to free thousands of Oromo political detainees: Detainees were accused of violence during the 2015 and 2016 protests in Oromia region, which left 900 dead. https://t.co/Get9HTo1g9 #terrorism #security
— Ultrascan HUMINT (@ultrascanhumint) January 27, 2018
However, as a separate report from Al-Arabia concludes, the attacks were specifically coordinated to sabotage Ahmed’s reformations of various state run agencies, as well the Grand Renaissance Dam Project, a highly controversial, but highly profitable, National project which has the potential to make Ethiopia the continents single largest energy exporter over the years to come. Though the dam promises to bring in untold amounts of new income into the country, the dam project has fallen significantly behind schedule and has come under fierce scrutiny from countries downstream – most namely Egypt. In fact, some have even speculated that the Grand Renaissance Dam project itself might one day spark War between Ethiopia and Egypt.
As it turns out, in the months following the foiled assassination attempt, Prime Minister Ahmed removed and replaced several construction teams developing the dam, and has procured new international partnerships with foreign investors totaling more than 2 billion dollars. The arrests announced this week come as part of a much broader national initiative to cut down on human right violators inside the country and clean up Ethiopia’s image with the international community. Prime Minister Abiy promises more crackdowns like this over the months and years to come.