Newsweek – Eritrea has denied any involvement in an alleged plan to attack an under-construction Ethiopian dam, which is set to become the biggest hydropower dam in Africa.
Ethiopia’s deputy government spokesman, Zadig Abrha, told the state-run Fana Broadcasting Corporation that 20 members of an Eritrean rebel movement—known as the Benishangul Gumuz People’s Liberation Movement—had been apprehended while attempting to attack the site of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
Abrha said that Ethiopian security forces killed 13 of the rebels, while seven fled into neighboring Sudan. But the Ethiopian government spokesman said that Sudan had handed the rebels over and they were now in Ethiopian custody…….
Eritrean Information Minister Yemane Gebremeskel told Bloomberg News that the accusation that his country sponsored the group “is preposterous and peddled for some sinister reason.” Gebremeskel added that he had “never heard of this group.”
Ethiopia and Eritrea have a history of tense relations. Eritrea only seceded from Ethiopia in 1991 after a 30-year independence war, and the two countries have regularly clashed on the boundaries of their borders. Tens of thousands of soldiers on both sides were killed in a border war focused on the town of Badme between 1998 and 2000.
Ethiopia has also accused Eritrea of sponsoring anti-government protests, led by the Oromo and Amhara ethnic groups, which have been occurring regularly since November 2015. Eritrea has denied the allegation.
Construction began on the GERD project, which is being built in the Benishangul Gumuz region close to the border with Sudan, in 2011. The project is set to cost $6.4 billion and is due for completion in 2018, according to Bloomberg.
The project has been a source of tension between Ethiopia and Egypt, with the latter saying that the dam could reduce the amount of Nile water flowing into Egypt. The presidents of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan signed an initial agreement in 2015 to end the dispute and allow Ethiopia to continue with construction, but Egypt has continued to express its concerns.
Ethiopia has received baa and Uganda. The Horn of Africa country wants to do away with a 1929 treaty, orchestrated by the British, that gives Egypt a veto on any projects relating to the Nile by upstream countries.
Ethiopia foils plans to attack GERD
Addis Ababa, March 1, 2017 (FBC) –Ethiopian security forces have destroyed and arrested members of the self declared Benishangul Gumuz People’s Liberation Movement while they were attempting to attack the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
Zadig Abrha, State Minister of Government Communication Affairs Office (GCAO) told FBC today that 20 members of the Movement,whose point of departure was Eritrea, have been destroyed while they were heading to the dam site to attack it.
According to the State Minister, Ethiopian security forces killed 13 members of the group and the remaining seven members were able to run away and cross into Sudan.
However, the government of Sudan handed over those seven armed individuals to the government of Ethiopia and they are now in the custody of the Ethiopian security forces, he added.
Zadig said the main objective of these Eritrean and Eritrean-based force sponsored armed forces is to carry out an attack on GERD.