Ethiopian PM accuses Egypt, Sudan of backing unrest in western area

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CAIRO — Violence has been ongoing in Ethiopia’s western area of Benishangul-Gumuz the place the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) is positioned, with Ethiopia saying April 26 that greater than 200 folks had been killed and hundreds had been displaced within the ongoing clashes between the federal government forces and armed teams.

On April 22, the government-appointed Ethiopian Human Rights Commission introduced  that an armed group has taken full management of a county in Benishangul-Gumuz, killing and committing acts of violence towards civilians, whereas safety forces couldn’t cease it.

Clashes had sometimes erupted up to now within the area that’s home to numerous ethnic teams, together with Gumuz, Agaws and Shinasas and the Amhara. This is the primary time, nonetheless, that an armed group takes full management of a number of cities within the area, in mild of the safety forces’ failure to counter it. 

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed headed a assembly of Ethiopia’s National Security Council on April 24 to debate the developments in Benishangul-Gumuz. Immediately following the assembly, Ahmed issued a press release accusing international events, in reference to Egypt, of inflicting chaos and instability within the nation.

Ahmed mentioned that these events “seek to plunge the country into chaos. He added, “Despite the plots and pressure, Ethiopia will fill the GERD reservoir on time.” 

The following day, Ethiopia’s Irrigation Minister Seleshi Bekele referred to plots against his country, due to the GERD. In a Twitter thread, he said, “It is clear that there is a plot designed to thwart our efforts and undermine our very existence. That is why we must all persevere and do our part.”

Ethiopia’s parliamentary committee tasked with appraising the dispute over the GERD formally accused Sudan and Egypt on March 5 of “standing behind the violence in the Benishangul-Gumuz region.”

The committee’s head, Abdallah Hamo, mentioned that the committee’s investigation discovered that Sudan and Egypt assist violence within the area, and that the armed teams obtained coaching and unlawful weapons on the border with Sudan.

Sudanese Foreign Ministry spokesman Mansour Boulad responded to the Ethiopian accusations on March 5, saying in a press statement, “Sudan has no intention to invest in violence in its relations with other countries.”

In the absence of any official Egyptian touch upon the developments in Benishangul-Gumuz and the Ethiopian accusations, Egyptian media shops lashed out at Addis Ababa and backed the rebel within the area. Egypt’s Al-Bawaba News, which is near the state, reported in an April 23 article {that a} civil struggle is unfolding in Ethiopia as a result of poor financial and social circumstances within the nation and its residents being marginalized and remoted.

TV host Ahmed Moussa, who’s near safety quarters in Egypt, broadcast on Sada el-Balad channel on April 25 video segments of Ethiopians chanting slogans towards their prime minister and tearing up his photograph.

Moussa mentioned that the Benishangul-Gumuz area was a part of Sudan up to now, and that there’s an Egyptian-Sudanese escalation in mild of Ethiopia’s intransigence within the GERD file.

Commenting on the Ethiopian parliament’s accusations that Egypt and Sudan are concerned within the violence within the Benishangul-Gumuz area, Maj. Gen. Ahmed al-Awadi, undersecretary of the Egyptian parliamentary Defense and National Security Committee, advised Al-Monitor, “Egypt will not keep quiet toward Ethiopia’s intransigence regarding the GERD. As President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said earlier, all options are open in preserving Egypt’s right to the Nile waters, and the waters of the Nile River are a red line for the Egyptians.”

Sisi had warned April 7, “No one can take a single drop of water from Egypt [and] all options are open.”

On March 30, Sisi mentioned throughout a press convention, “We are not threatening anyone, but no one can take a drop of water from Egypt [or] the region would witness a state of instability that no one can imagine.”

Awadi mentioned, “Ethiopia insists on the second filling of the GERD reservoir even before a binding legal agreement with Egypt and Sudan is reached. It even considers that it is the only country entitled to the Nile waters, which Egypt totally rejects. The parliamentary defense committee affirms the Egyptians’ right to resort to all means so as to preserve their rights, and that all options are available in countering the Ethiopian intransigence.”

Awadi famous that the Ethiopian society is disintegrated, as sporadic demonstrations sometimes erupt within the nation, as a result of prime minister’s insurance policies of marginalization and persecution of a number of social teams. 

Awadi denied any Egyptian involvement within the current violence within the Benishangul-Gumuz area.

On April 19, Ahmed mentioned that Ethiopia will fill the GERD reservoir in July and August, regardless of objections from the 2 downstream international locations, Egypt and Sudan.

Egyptian Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Mohamed Abdel Ati mentioned in a press release April 18 that Cairo submitted 15 totally different proposals for the filling and operation of the GERD over the previous years, in order to satisfy the Ethiopian calls for with out inflicting any harm to Egypt and Sudan. Yet the Ethiopian aspect rejected all of them, he added. 

Eritrean author and analyst Shifa al-Afari advised Al-Monitor that the Benishangul-Gumuz area is presently seeing unprecedented pressure that might be characterised as a “state of war.” According to him, that is the primary time that this armed group, which took management of the county, and these weapons seem within the area.

Afari mentioned, “I do not rule out any Egyptian and Sudanese efforts to use the rebels in Ethiopia as a pressure card and to provide them with weapons, in light of the difficult choice to head to a direct war and in an attempt to deter Ethiopia from taking unilateral actions.”

Samir Ghattas, a former Egyptian member of parliament and head of the Middle East Forum for Strategic Studies, advised Al-Monitor, “Egypt is in a difficult position as Ethiopia insists on the second filling of the GERD, and given the difficulty to go into a direct war out of fear of international reactions. Egypt’s support for the rebels is very probable, as the Nile waters consist of a life or death matter for the Egyptians, and it is possible for Egypt to use all the cards to pressure Addis Ababa in its battle with Ethiopia.”