Ethiopia

Investigate Sudan protest crackdown - US diplomat

Kalkidan Yibeltal

BBC News, Addis Ababa

Tibor Nagy pictured in 2018
AFP

The US assistant secretary of state for Africa, Tibor Nagy, has called for a credible and independent investigation into the killing of dozens of protesters by security forces in Sudan last week, calling it "critically important".

There has been international condemnation of Sudan's Transitional Military Council (TMC), which decided last week to scrap all existing agreements with the main opposition coalition and announced plans to hold elections within nine months.

Before that point, the military and protesters agreed a three-year transition period to civilian rule.

On Thursday, Mr Nagy met senior members of the TMC for talks in the capital, Khartoum.

He described the discussions "as frank [and] as direct as possible, and obviously we didn’t agree on some points".

Speaking to reporters in the Ethiopian capital on Friday, he said the US wants to see a civilian government acceptable to the Sudanese people at the end of the transitional period.

A third-party negitiator would help to break the deadlock between the military council and the opposition, Mr Nagy said.

He applauded efforts by the African Union and Ethiopia's prime minister to broker a deal, but added that "all tools are available and remain on the table".

Lalibela: Exploring the churches carved from rock
Dating back to the 12th and 13th Centuries, the churches are designated a World Heritage site.

Internet remains down in Ethiopia

Ethiopia is now in its fourth day of an internet blackout. But whereas on Tuesday and Wednesday the service had resumed temporarily, it did not return after it had been shut down on Thursday.

The text message service also remains blocked.

The state-run monopoly phone provider Ethio Telecom has told BBC Amharic that it "did not have a mandate" to comment on the outages.

The closure of the services coincides with nationwide exams. There has been speculation that the internet blackout is aimed at trying to stop people cheating, but this has not been confirmed by the authorities.

On Wednesday, the state broadcaster ETV reported that four students had been caught cheating after sending each other text messages.

Men looking at phones
Getty Images

Text message service stopped in Ethiopia

The text messaging service in Ethiopia has been shut down, the BBC's Kalkidan Yibeltal reports from the capital Addis Ababa.

The news comes as the country experiences its third day in a row with a break in online access.

The shutdowns on Tuesday and Wednesday both proved temporary.

The closure of the text messaging service coincides with nationwide exams. There has been speculation that the internet blackout is aimed at trying to stop people cheating, but this has not been confirmed by the authorities.

On Wednesday, the state broadcaster ETV reported that four students had been caught cheating after sending each other text messages.

People looking at their phones
Getty

Internet off in Ethiopia - again

Internet blackouts appear to have become a daily occurrence in Ethiopia as the country experiences its third day in a row with no online access, the BBC's Kalkidan Yibeltal reports from Addis Ababa.

The shutdowns on Tuesday and Wednesday both proved temporary.

They coincided with nationwide school exams and there has been speculation that the authorities have restricted internet access to stop cheating.

But Ethio Telecom, the country's monopoly internet provider, has told BBC Amharic that it has "no mandate" to comment on this issue.

Internet off again in Ethiopia

For a second day in a row the internet has been shut down in Ethiopia, the BBC's Kalkidan Yibeltel reports from the capital, Addis Ababa.

It went off at around 10:30 local time (07:30 GMT) on Tuesday but service resumed in the late afternoon.

This time, it appears the blackout has taken place earlier. NetBlocks, an organisation which monitors internet activity, in fact suggests that the internet went down late on Tuesday night local time.

Graph showing internet activity
NetBlcoks

It is the third day of nationwide secondary school exams and some have linked the outage to the tests. The authorities have blocked the internet to prevent cheating in the past.

On Tuesday, state-run Ethio Telecom, the country's monopoly internet service provider told BBC Amharic that it "did not have a mandate" to speak about the closure.

Ethiopians report 'partial block' on internet

Kalkidan Yibeltal

BBC Amharic Service, Addis Ababa

Two people use their smartphones
Getty Images
This is the first major internet blackout since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed came to power last year

Access to the internet in Ethiopia has been disrupted, coinciding with exam season which in the past has been marred by cheating.

An official from the state-run telecommunications firm, Ethio Telecom, declined to tell the BBC the reasons behind the block.

In large parts of the country the internet has been completely cut off since Tuesday morning. In other places the service, while working, is unusually slow.

The messaging app Telegram, which is popular among the Ethiopian youth, remains inaccessible.

This is the first major internet blackout since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed came to power last year.

In 2016 and 2017, Ethiopia shut down the internet completely to curb the leaking of exams amid popular anti-government protests. But during his first year in office, Mr Abiy opened previously banned websites.

As part of the prime minister's economic reforms, Ethio Telecom is expected to be opened up for private investment.

Internet shut down in Ethiopia

BBC Amharic has been getting reports that people in Ethiopia are unable to use social media.

The internet monitoring group Netblocks has confirmed that there has been a complete shutdown of the internet as of 10:30 local time (07:30 GMT).

Graph showing shutdown
Netblocks

The outage coincides with the second day of nationwide secondary school final exams. But there has been no official explanation.

Two years ago, the internet was shutdown to prevent national exam papers leaking online.

Ethiopian sits exam 30 minutes after giving birth

Bekele Atoma Boru

BBC Horn of Africa

Woman in bed taking exam
Ilu Abba Bor Zone communication office

A 21-year-old Ethiopian woman has told BBC that she took one of her secondary school leaving exams 30 minutes after giving birth on Monday.

Almaz Derese, who is from Metu in western Ethiopia, had hoped to sit the tests before her baby was born, but the exams were postponed because of Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

She went into labour on Monday shortly before the first paper was due to start.

“Because I was rushing to sit for the exam, my labour wasn’t difficult at all,” Ms Almaz told BBC Afaan Oromoo.

She took her English, Amharic and maths exams in the Karl Metu hospital, but hopes to take the remaining tests at the exam centre over the next two days.

The new mother said that studying while being pregnant was not a problem and she did not want to wait until next year to graduate.

Monday’s exams went well, she added.

Her husband Tadese Tulu told the BBC that he had to persuade the school to allow her to take the exams at the hospital.

Ms Almaz now wants to take a two-year course that will prepare her for university.

Her baby son is said to be doing well.

Man holding a gun looking at woman in a hospital bed
Ilu Abba Bor Zone communication office
An armed security officer brought the exam papers to the hospital