At least 38 inmates in Ethiopia charged with causing a deadly prison fire.

At least 38 inmates have been charged in an Ethiopian court with causing a fire that led to the death of dozens of fellow prisoners in September.


Authorities say more than 20 inmates died when fire broke out at the Kilinto prison, on the outskirts of the capital Addis Ababa, which at the time was holding hundreds of anti-government protesters and some prominent opposition figures.


Details of what exactly caused the fire at the prison in early September remain scarce and the charges against the prisoners contradict earlier accounts by the authorities.


At the time, the government said 23 inmates had died of suffocation.


The charge sheet says the dead prisoners were beaten before being burnt to death.


The 38 have further been charged with incitement and trying to recruit other prisoners to join banned groups, including the Somali Islamist militant group al-Shabab.


Opposition figures and rights groups have constantly disputed the account given by the authorities and say some of the dead bodies had bullet wounds.


The Ethiopian government declared a six-month state of emergency last month to deal with nearly a year of anti-government protests from two of the country’s biggest ethnic communities.

President Buhari To Leave For Kenya, Ethiopia Today

President Muhammadu Buhari will on Wednesday embark on a three-day state visit to Kenya.



The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, said this in a statement.



Adesina said on arrival in Kenya, Buhari would join his host, President Uhuru Kenyatta and other dignitaries at a memorial service for Kenyan soldiers who were killed by Al-Shabaab in Somalia on January 15.



He said after the memorial service in Eldoret, Buhari would proceed to Nairobi for bilateral talks on Thursday with Kenyan Government officials led by President Kenyatta.



Adesina said before the conclusion of his visit, Buhari and Kenyatta would jointly preside over a Kenya-Nigeria Business Forum in Nairobi.



He said President Buhari’s entourage to Kenya would include the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Finance, and Industry, Trade and Investment.



The presidential spokesman said at the conclusion of the visit to Kenya on Friday, Buhari would proceed to Addis Ababa for the 26th Summit of African Union Heads of State and Government.



He said President Buhari would also participate in a meeting of the African Union’s Peace and Security Council before returning to Abuja on January 31.




Credit : Daily Trust

UN Releases $17m For Drought Victims In Ethiopia

Stephen O’Brien, UN Humanitarian Chief, said 17 million dollars had been released from Central Emergency Response Fund to support people affected by drought in Ethiopia.
He said on Friday in New York, during a news conference that the assistance became imperative because the El Nino global climactic event had wreaked havoc on Ethiopia’s summer rains.
“This comes on the heels of failed spring rains, and has driven food insecurity, malnutrition and water shortages in affected areas of the country,” he said.
O’Brien added that “a timely response to the emergency is critical, and that if we don’t act today, we face an even graver situation tomorrow, with more immense needs in 2016.”

He said investigation revealed that the number of people who needed food assistance in East Africa was forecast to increase to more than 22 million at the start of 2016, with 15 million of those in Ethiopia alone.



Obama’s Two Day Visit To Ethiopia, See How Much His Hotel Accomodation Cost

President Obama visited Kenya and Ethiopia during his recent trip to Africa, and the hotel bill for the president and his entourage totaled approximately $412,390.86 for the Ethiopia stay alone. A contract with the Hilton in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa was posted online recently.

Read More: weeklystandard

What Obama Is Selling In Ethiopia

Barack Obama on Monday officially begins a two-day visit to Ethiopia, the first-ever trip by a US president to Africa’s second-most populous nation and the seat of the African Union.

Obama, who flew into a rainy Addis Ababa late on Sunday after a landmark trip to Kenya, his father’s birthplace, is to hold talks with the Ethiopian government, a key strategic ally but much criticised for its record on democracy and human rights.

He will also hold talks with regional leaders on the civil war in South Sudan in an attempt to build African support for decisive action against the war-torn country’s leaders if they reject an ultimatum to end the carnage by mid-August.

On Tuesday Obama will also become the first US president to address the African Union, the 54-member continental bloc, at its gleaming, Chinese-built headquarters.

Air Force One touched down at Addis Ababa’s international airport after a short flight north from the Kenyan capital Nairobi, and the president was greeted on the tarmac by Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.

AU Commission chief Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has hailed what she said will be a “historic visit” and a “concrete step to broaden and deepen the relationship between the AU and the US”.

Ethiopia, like Kenya, has been on the frontline of the fight against the Somali-led, Al-Qaeda-affiliated Shebab. Both nations have troops in Somalia as part of an AU and US-backed force and are key security partners to Washington.

But the visit also comes two months after elections that saw the prime minister’s ruling coalition take every one of the 546 seats in Ethiopia’s parliament. The opposition, which lost its only seat, alleged the government used authoritarian tactics to guarantee victory.

The US State Department has noted Ethiopia’s “restrictions on freedom of expression,” as well as “politically motivated trials” and the “harassment and intimidation of opposition members and journalists”.

Read More: AFP

Ethiopia Frees 5 Bloggers, Journalists Ahead Of Obama’s Visit

Five bloggers and journalists held in Ethiopia for more than a year have been freed after the charges were dropped, their lawyer said Thursday, weeks before US President Barack Obama is due to visit the country.

In a separate case, journalist Reeyot Alemu, jailed in June 2011 after being found guilty of plotting a terrorist act, was released on Thursday, campaigners said.

Four others also arrested in April 2014 remain in jail, accused of planning attacks and collaborating with US-based opposition group Ginbot 7, labelled a terrorist organisation by Ethiopian authorities.

“They have suffered, their rights have been violated, but now we are happy,” defence lawyer Ameha Mekonnen told AFP after the five journalists and bloggers were released on Wednesday.

Ameha said the decision to drop the charges was unexpected.

“We are all surprised. The question is why did it take more than one year? We’ve been crying, shouting to the court, to the government,” he said.

The trial of the four remaining bloggers is due to resume on July 20.

Rights activists welcomed the releases but said more needed to be done.

“It’s very good news that six journalists and bloggers have been released, though they shouldn’t have been imprisoned in the first place,” said Leslie Lefkow, deputy director for Africa at Human Rights Watch.

“The government should show this is only a first step toward releasing all political prisoners and opening up space for Ethiopians to voice dissent on a range of issues.”

Tom Rhodes from the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) called the release, “a welcome turn of events in Ethiopia, where the number of journalists in prison has steadily increased in recent years”.

“We call on authorities to release the remaining Zone 9 bloggers and all the journalists in jail for their work, and to drop all charges against them,” Rhodes said in a statement Thursday.

Reeyot Alemu, who won a UN press freedom prize in 2013, was originally sentenced to 14 years, reduced to five years on appeal.

Credit: AFP

Ethiopia Mourns Christians Killed By ISIS

Ethiopia began three days of national mourning on Tuesday, with joint Christian and Muslim prayers for more than 20 Ethiopian Christians killed by Islamic State militants in Libya.

The murders have horrified Ethiopians and sparked global condemnation, including from Pope Francis who expressed his “great distress and sadness”.

“They are animals, they are outside of all humanity,” said Tesfaye Wolde, who saw his only brother Balcha Belete executed on a video released by the militants.

“I saw him kneeling, a masked man pointing a gun to my brother and his friend, with a knife to their throats.”

Abune Mathias, the patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, called the killings “repugnant”.

“We have a duty to raise our voice to tell the world that the killing of the innocent like animals is completely unacceptable,” he said.

Joint prayers were held along with Muslim leaders, led by Sheikh Mohammed Jemal, head of Ethiopia’s Islamic Affairs Supreme Council, who said the killing of people like “chickens” had no place in Islam.

The IS video released on Sunday, showed militants in Libya holding captives who they described as “followers of the cross from the enemy Ethiopian Church”.

Read More: yahoo