Ethiopia

  1. Video content

    Video caption: Booker Prize: Ethiopian writer Maaza Mengiste on The Shadow King

    Ethiopian writer Maaza Mengiste has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize for her book The Shadow King.

  2. Talks on Nile Dam dispute to resume

    Kalkidan Yibeltal

    BBC News, Addis Ababa

    Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam

    Talks between Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt over the controversial mega-dam across the Blue Nile are set to resume on Tuesday after a seven-week hiatus.

    The announcement by South Africa's President and Africa Union chairman, Cyril Ramaphosa, comes days after US President Donald Trump suggested that Egypt might “blow up” the dam.

    Ethiopia sees the US as siding with Egypt in the dispute and termed Mr Trump’s remarks as “reckless, unproductive and a violation of international law”.

    It has summoned US ambassador in Addis Ababa.

    The resumption of the talks is a “reaffirmation of the confidence that the parties have in an African-led negotiations process," Mr Ramaphosa’s statement on Monday said.

    Dina Mufti, a spokesperson at Ethiopia’ foreign affairs ministry, has told the BBC's that government believes Mr Trump’s remarks will not deter the negotiations.

    “The three countries are in talks with the African Union as a negotiator. This doesn’t concern the President [Trump]. The only thing that concerns him is to encourage and support us to arrive at a deal and then accept our agreements,” Mr Dina said.

    Ethiopia sees the $4.6bn (£3.5bn) Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam in the western part of the country as an integral part of its plan to provide electricity for tens of millions of its citizens.

    But Egypt and Sudan, who are dependent on the Nile waters, are concerned that it might impact their water supplies.

    Despite sitting down for negotiations multiple times, the three countries have not managed to arrive at a comprehensive deal.

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  3. Cocaine found 'hidden in bras' at Ethiopian airport

    Desta Gebremedhin

    BBC News Tigrinya

    Cocaine that was being smuggled by the travellers
    Image caption: Fourteen suspects have been arrested

    Police have arrested 14 suspects for "trying to smuggle cocaine" through Ethiopia's main airport in the capital, Addis Ababa.

    Ethiopian federal police said the suspects, 13 Nigerians and one Brazilian, were found with 14kg of cocaine concealed in their luggage, underwear and had even swallowed some of it.

    The suspects had arrived from São Paulo, Brazil, on Monday.

    They were detained at the airport, according to Narcotics Operations Commander Mengisteab Beyene.

    Ethiopian police say they have seized 39kg of cocaine and 36kg of cannabis over the past three months.

  4. Ethiopian MPs scolded for their fashion choices

    Kalkidan Yibeltal

    BBC News, Addis Ababa

    Abiy Ahmed

    Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has dressed downed members of the house of representatives about their sartorial choices, saying his locally-made suit was "superior" to what the MPs were wearing.

    "This fabric I am wearing is from the Konta area [south western Ethiopia]," Mr Abiy has said.

    "I believe this clothing if not superior to the suits you are wearing, it is at least not inferior. It’s handmade. Its quality is high. If I don’t respect and show it, who will?" he said.

    He told them to value products made in Ethiopia.

    Members of Ethiopia's house of representatives

    The prime minister was answering questions from MPs, which also included growing tension between the federal government and the regional authorities in Tigray region, which he said "will be resolved by the law."

    He also addressed the recurring violence in the western Ethiopian state of Benishangul-Gumuz where dozens of people have been killed in ethically motivated violence since September.

    Mr Abiy said the violence is likely being sparked by efforts to undermine the country's mega dam project which is being built in the region.

  5. Ethiopia schools reopen after seven months

    Kalkidan Yibeltal

    BBC News, Addis Ababa

    A health worker in Addis Ababa
    Image caption: Ethiopia has more than 90,000 coronavirus cases

    Schools in Ethiopia are re-opening from Monday after closing for more than seven months because of the coronavirus pandemic.

    The schools will reopen in stages with students in rural districts returning to classes first.

    Schools were closed down after the country reported its first case of coronavirus in March.

    The country is aiming to reopen all primary and secondary schools by mid-November.

    Some parents remain wary of sending their children to school but the ministry of education has said it was taking necessary measures to minimise the risk of the virus spreading in schools.

    One of the measure is to distribute 50 million face masks for pupils and teachers.

    Those in their last year of secondary school will still have to do their exams next year, online.

    Ethiopia has not introduced full lockdowns during the pandemic. A five-month state of emergency ended in early September and the country has returned to relative normalcy.

  6. Ethiopian journalist Temesgen Desalegn released after arrest

    Fasikaw Menberu

    BBC Amharic

    Ethiopian journalist Temesgen Desalegn
    Image caption: Temesgen Desalegn has been a critic of the government

    Renowned Ethiopian journalist Temesgen Desalegn has been released after spending Wednesday night in police custody in the capital, Addis Ababa.

    The reason for his arrest is not yet known.

    He is the owner of a widely read weekly Amharic magazine, Feteh, that has been critical of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's government and the ruling Prosperity Party.

    Mr Temesgen is no stranger to run-ins with the government.

    He was previously arrested by the administrations of Meles Zenawi and Hailemariam Desalegn.

  7. Plan to privatise Ethiopian Airlines suspended

    Kalkidan Yibeltal

    BBC News, Addis Ababa

    Ethiopian Airlines plane
    Image caption: Ethiopian Airlines switched from passenger flights to freight during the coronavirus pandemic

    Ethiopia has "temporarily" suspended plans to partially privatise its flag carrier Ethiopian Airlines, following a review of its performance during the coronavirus pandemic.

    It is one of the biggest companies the Ethiopian government pledged to partially open for privatisation.

    The idea was part of the economic and political reforms ushered in after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed came to power in 2018.

    But now, it says that Africa’s largest airline will remain in the hands of the government - at least for the time being.

    The announcement was made by Minister of Finance Ahmed Shide, during his presentation of the first quarter reports of the Ethiopian fiscal year. He said the airline has continued to generate much needed foreign currency for the country amid the pandemic.

    Ethiopian Airlines had previously said it had lost more than $900m (£696m) in earnings from passenger flights during the pandemic.

    But it is one of the few airlines across the world to stay relatively stable, largely due to a shift from passenger flights to cargo as countries closed their airspaces.

    It changed 27 of its passenger planes into freight transportation.

  8. Twelve killed in western Ethiopia attacks

    A map of Ethiopia

    At least 12 people have been killed in western Ethiopian state of Benishangul-Gumuz in the second round of violence in less than week, according to the authorities.

    State spokesperson, Melese Beyene, has told the BBC that the violence was a "conflict among individuals" and that arrests were made.

    But a senior official from the opposition National Movement of the Amhara, Desalegn Chane, told the BBC that the violence was a continuation of ethnic-related attacks against minorities.

    He said the number of fatalities could be as high as 18.

    Last week officials from the region said 14 civilians were killed during attacks. Fourteen others who were alleged perpetrators of the attacks were also killed.

    The region has witnessed a surge in violence in the past few months with ethnic Amhara and Agew minorities being targeted.

  9. A chronology of key events in the history of Ethiopia from the 2nd-century Kingdom of Axum to the present day.

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  10. Eritrean president arrives in Ethiopia for visit

    Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki has arrived in Ethiopia for a three-day working visit.

    His delegation includes Foreign Minister Osman Saleh and presidential adviser Yemane Ghebreab.

    President Isaias and his host, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, will hold consultations on further enhancement of bilateral ties as well as the consolidation of regional cooperation, according to Eritrea's minister of information.

    The Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation has tweeted a photo of President Isaias's arrival:

    View more on twitter

    Ethiopia and Eritrea ended two decades of tension in 2018 and signed a peace deal.

  11. Ethiopia intensifies fight against locust swarms

    A small airplane fumigates a locust swarm
    Image caption: The swarms invaded several countries in East Africa

    Ethiopia's Agriculture Minister, Oumer Hussien, has said more spray planes will be deployed to fight huge locust swarms that are devastating farms.

    This is after two spraying planes crashed early October slowing down the effort to stop the swarms.

    The minister said the swarms had spread to four regions in the country and were a threat to Ethiopia's food security.

    He said the ministry was in the process of identifying farmers most affected by the locust invasion and will offer them support.

    The locusts were sighted in several East African countries where they devoured crops. Experts called it the biggest infestation in 60 years.

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  12. Fourteen killed in fresh attacks in Ethiopia

    Kalkidan Yibeltal

    BBC News, Addis Ababa

    A map of Ethiopia
    Image caption: This is the third round of attacks in Binshangul-Gumuz state since September

    Fourteen civilians have been killed in fresh attacks in the western Ethiopian state of Benishangul-Gumuz, according to the authorities.

    Fourteen perpetrators who were alleged to have carried out the attacks were also killed.

    This is the third round of attacks against civilians since September as ethnic-related unrest continues to be a challenge for the government.

    Problems remain even after military command posts were installed in parts of the state, following two rounds of attacks last month, in which dozens of people from the Amhara and Agew communities were killed.

    More than 40 government officials in the state were removed from their positions at the time, while 15 of them are still under investigation for negligence or possible involvement in the violence.

    Officials from the state said that one of the civilians killed in the latest attacks was a foreign national - but they did not specify the deceased’s country of origin.

    A year after winning the Nobel Peace Prize, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s administration continues to face ethnic unrest - particularly in the western part of the country in recent months.

  13. Ethiopia region warns budget cut will be 'dangerous'

    Girmay Gebru

    BBC Tigrinya, Mekelle

    Photo of Tigray region’s capital Mekelle
    Image caption: Tigray government has recalled its members in the federal parliament and government

    The vice-president of Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region has warned that the decision by the House of Federation to cut budget subsidies to the regional government was a “dangerous” move that could escalate tensions in the country.

    “The regime is driving the Tigray region away from the federation and this is totally unacceptable,” Abraham Tekeste added.

    His comments came after the House of Federation called on Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government to cut funding to the Tigray government after it held regional elections in defiance of the National Electoral Board.

    The board cancelled all elections - including the national poll that was scheduled for August - citing the coronavirus pandemic.

    But the Tigray government rejected the decision, and last week announced that it would no longer follow federal government directives because its mandate had “expired”.

    House of Federation Speaker Adem Farah accused the Tigray government of being illegally constituted after an “unconstitutional” regional poll and “as such the federal government cannot give budget subsidies to such bodies”.

    Tigray’s vice-president said the federal government collected 7bn Ethiopian birr ($189m; £145m) from the region last year and planned to collect 8bn this fiscal year.

    Money was also collected from other regions, and then distributed to regional states under an agreed funding formula.

    “So the implication of their statement is that they are taking Tigray out of this formula and we are not going to be sitting and watching them collect revenue from Tigray if Tigray is not going to get its share,” Dr Abraham added.

    He called on the federal government to act responsibly and to let the fiscal arrangement continue rather than taking steps that could deny the people of Tigray education, health and water supplies.

    Speaker Adem said the federal government would carry out a study to see how it could provide basic services in Tigray through town and district administrations.

    In a further sign of tensions, the Tigray government has recalled its members in the federal parliament and government.

    Some of them have already started to report to their offices in the Tigray capital, Mekelle.

  14. What the Ethiopian parliament vote on Tigray means

    Analysis

    Kalkidan Yibeltal

    BBC News, Addis Ababa

    The decision by Ethiopia's House of Federations, the upper house of parliament, to sever ties with leaders of the northern Tigray region does not mean an end of dealings between the federal government and the state's administration.

    The federal government will continue working with lower district administrative units, such as mayors and local councils, to provide "basic services".

    But it could mean that federal government funding to the regional authorities, such as the Tigray parliament, could come to an end.

    The move comes after Tigray state conducted a regional election last month which parliament called "unconstitutional", as it defied the electoral body's decision to delay the elections because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

    Tigrayan officials in turn accuse Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s administration of staying in power illegitimately after its term ended and using the pandemic to continue staying in power.

    The northern region's ruling party, Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front, had been a dominant political force for close to three decades until Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed came to power in 2018. Since then it emerged as a strong and vocal opposition to the Nobel Peace Prize winner.

  15. Ethiopian parliament severs links with Tigray leaders

    A woman with a baby prepares her ballot in a voting booth during Tigray's regional elections
    Image caption: The Tigray region held elections for its parliament on 9 September

    Ethiopian lawmakers have passed a resolution for the federal government to stop dealing with leaders of the northern Tigray region.

    This is after the region held its own election for the Tigray parliament in September despite the federal government and electoral board announcing the postponement of all elections.

    Officials of the ruling party in the region, the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), subsequently said they do not recognise the federal government.

    A statement aired on Tuesday night by the state-run Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation said the House of Federation "decided the federal government should sever any kind of relationship with the Tigray regional state assembly and the region's highest executive body".

    The federal government will however continue offering "basic services" to people in the region through local institutions.

    Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's government has not responded to the statement.

    Ethiopia's delayed elections will be held by September next year.

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  16. Kenenisa tipped Shura on beating Kipchoge

    Ameyu Etana

    BBC Afaan Oromo

    Shura Kitata

    London marathon winner Shura Kitata has said advice from fellow Ethiopian compatriot Kenenisa Bekele, who pulled out of the race, helped him beat favourite Eliud Kipchoge from Kenya.

    Shura told BBC Afaan Oromoo he was “80% sure of a win because I was in good shape and well prepared”.

    Kipchoge finished eighth citing a blocked ear.

    Kenenisa withdrew from the London marathon because of a calf injury.

    Shura and other athletes were feted by Ethiopian athletics officials when they arrived back home on Tuesday morning.

  17. Ethiopians bid farewell to activist Mesfin Woldemariam

    Ethiopians are bidding farewell to veteran human rights advocate and political figure, Mesfin Woldemariam, who died last week at the age of 90.

    His funeral is being held at the Addis Ababa university where his colleagues, students and family have gathered.

    Government officials and diplomats are also expected to attend, the state-linked Fana Broadcasting Corporate reports.

    It has tweeted photos of the funeral:

    View more on twitter

    Mr Mesfin had been known as a critical figure of successive governments.

    A geography professor by training, he wrote more than a dozen books on politics, history and culture. He was also a prolific commentator on newspapers and later on social media.