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  • Ex-boss of Ethiopia’s notorious Jail Ogaden arrested

    (BBC) — Hassan Ismail Ibrahim, also known as Hassan Dhere, was arrested in neighbouring Somalia in a town where he had been hiding, following a tip-off.

    Campaigners say inmates were routinely tortured at “Jail Ogaden”, which he ran in Ethiopia’s Somali region.

    Many prisoners were accused of being linked to the separatist group the Ogaden National Liberation Front.

    But that group signed a peace deal with the government in October, following the appointment of Abiy Ahmed as prime minister.

    Former prisoners interviewed by Human Rights Watch said they saw people dying in their cells after being tortured.

    The authorities closed the prison last year and announced plans to make it into a museum.

    The new president of Ethiopia’s Somali region, Mustafa Omer, told Al Jazeera news in April that he was chasing the people who allowed the torture.

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  • 53 Ethiopians charged in connection with deadly riots that left 16 people dead

    ADDIS ABABA (Xinhua) — The Ethiopia Federal Attorney General Office on Thursday charged 53 people in connection with deadly riots in June 2018 that left 16 people dead.

    The 53 suspects are accused of engaging in riots in the Benishangul Gumuz regional state, located in the western part of the country, in June that left 16 people dead, reported state media outlet Ethiopia News Agency.

    The suspects include the former mayor of Assosa, capital of Benishangul Gumuz regional state, as well as head of the region’s special police office.

    Over the past year, Benishangul Gumuz regional state has been experiencing intermittent violence, including deadly disputes among locals and other ethnic groups residing in the region.

    Benishangul Gumuz, located along the Ethiopia-Sudan border, hosts Ethiopia’s largest development project, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. The dam is being built on the Blue Nile River.

    Ethiopia follows an ethnic federalism model, which has been credited with giving self-governance rights to more than 80 ethnic groups that make up the country’s estimated 105 million people.

    However, critics say the ethnic federalism model magnifies ethnic diversity at the expense of national unity, leading to occasional ethnic tension and clashes.

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  • Land Grabbing, Illegal Constructions on the Rise in Addis Ababa

    The Addis Ababa city administration on Thursday said it has gathered  pertinent evidences that land grabbing and construction of illegal houses are on the rise in the city and will take legal actions against the perpetrators.

    In a stakeholders meeting in which members of the Addis Ababa police commission participated, it was disclosed that organized and armed groups were grabbing land illegally.

    Deputy mayor of Addis Ababa city administration, Engineer Takele Uma, said his adminstration will re-arrange the necesssary documents and evidences to take actions in two weeks time if the alleged individuals and groups can not collect their properties from areas termed as "illegaly grabed lands."

    The deputy mayor is confident that the illegal land grabbings and constructions were not done by residents of the city.

    According to the mayor, the key actors in these illegal activities were investors, government officials, brokers and other politically-motivated groups and individuals.

    A member of the Addis Ababa police commission was qouted as saying that the perpetrators were armed and have been posing threats to the police of the metroplice.

    "First we demolish the illegally-built houses, then we will bring those people who took part in these illegal activities before justice," the mayor added

    The administration late last year said that it is working to curb issues related to land grabbing and misappropriation of public houses in a bid to fight corruption and bring equity in public service delivery system.

    The mayor hopes that the organized groups will not be beyond the capacity of the Addis Ababa police force, but he said in case serious challenge are encountered, the federal forces will be involved to ensure law and order prevails.

    Land grabbing was a serious problem before, but became rampant since last year. The organized land grabbing and construction of illegal houses are reportedly increasing, especially in Bole, Yeka, Kolfe, Nefas Silk and Akaki Kaliti sub-cities of the capital,

    Though vast swathes of land in Addis Ababa are occupied by developers and residents, legally and illegally, the city administration has been reluctant to take measures against several individuals alleged to own lands illegally.

    Recently, Bole sub-city adminstration have began demolishing more than 1200 illegally built houses while retrieving more than 1600 illegally-held plots of lands.

    Speaking to journalists last Tuesday, General Manager of the sub-city Tilahun Fikadu said 2801 illegal constructions and seizure of lands were made in Bole over the last eight months.

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  • Addis Ababa City Demolishing Illegal Buildings, Seizing Lands

    Addis Ababa city government is demolishing more than 1200 illegally built houses, according to the latest city press reports.

    The city is also seizing more than 1600 what it termed 'illegally' held plots of lands in the capital.

    Speaking to journalists on Tuesday, General Manager of the subcity Tilahun Fikadu said 2801 illegal constructions and seizure of lands were made in Bole subcity of the capital city over the last eight months.

    Tilahun said the illegal constructions were built on plots of land which the city government identified as "ownership of the city administration" while other illegal constructions were made on open areas next to legally-owned houses.  

    The general manager said the demolitions will continue, but it did not comment on why the subcity did not stop the alleged illegal constructions while the buildings on those illegally-held lands were at their initial stages.

    According to the general manager, those buildings which were constructed on legally-owned lands, but without permission, are also being torn down..

    He also said a number of individuals ranging from government officials to brokers have been involved in these illegal activities which have been carried out by well-established network.

    The manager went on to say that employees working in the subcity and different court houses have partcipated in the provision of ownership titles for the grabbed lands and permissions to illegal constructions.

    "A taskforce is now demolishing the illegal constructions across the subcity except 18 houses, which were referred to as religious buildings," he added.

    The city government is reportedly set to demolish more houses that it says were built illegally in other subcities of the capital.

    Those individuals who were alleged to have been involved in the illegal constructions and land grabbing complain over the partiality of the city government's actions as several illegal constructions in the subcity were exempted from demolitions.

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  • Ethiopian gov.t bank robbed again as anarchy reigns in Wollega

    As Ethiopian government and regional authorities are claiming that situation western part of Ethiopia has improved, news are emerging that gunmen robbed commercial bank of Ethiopia in the region.

    According to Wazema Radio report on Friday, anarchy is reigning in Western Wollega.

    The report added that the gunmen robbed 886,000 Ethiopian birr from Ayra branch of commercial bank of Ethiopia. Oromia region police did not respond, according to Wazema report, to the situation as quickly as it should.

    The bank is in a close distance to the police station in the town.

    In January 2019, armed groups who are believed to be militant faction of Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) robbed 17 banks within a space of two days.

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