Ethiopia: Water Wars Bubble To The Surface


May 30, 2010: Ethiopia's ruling party has already declared victory in the May 23ed elections. The results are not scheduled to be announced until late June. The Ethiopian People's Democratic Revolutionary Party (EPRDF), however, is certain that it won. The opposition forces, however, are certain the EPRDF stole the elections. And that is likely true. Early reports indicate the EPRDF took all 178 seats in Oromia state. That is very suspicious in and of itself, very much a Saddam Hussein type election. In 2005 the opposition won around 70 seats in Oromia.

May 28, 2010: Sudan has given Ethiopia custody of what the countries describe as 46 members of an anti-Ethiopian rebel band. Sudanese security forces allegedly captured the group of rebels as they were trying to enter Ethiopia from Sudanese territory. The Ethiopian government said the rebels planned to launch attacks to disrupt national elections.

May 23, 2010: Ethiopia is accused of jamming Voice of America (VOA) broadcasts into Ethiopia. The US is one of Ethiopia's closest allies, but US media have been frequent critics of the government's abysmal human rights record.

May 22, 2010: Three Ethiopian soldiers and ten people living in Somalia died in a firefight at a checkpoint. An Ethiopian unit had allegedly crossed into Somalia (Somaliland Republic area) earlier this month in order to monitor potential Islamist rebel activity. They were searching trucks in the town of Buhoodle and an argument erupted, which turned into a gun battle.

May 20, 2010: The East Africa water war continues. The Ethiopian said that it would not bend to Egyptian pressure or threats as it considered building new dams and other water diversion projects on the Nile River. Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda, and Tanzania recently announced that they intended to take what they call a more equitable share of Nile River water. Ethiopia claims that Egypt and Sudan claim too much water and base their claims on colonial-era agreements that are no longer valid. The key treaty dates form 1929. Ethiopia is interested in new hydro-electric projects. Eritrea recently announced that it supports the Egyptian position, which is no surprise since Ethiopia is Eritrea's most bitter enemy.

May 18, 2010: The Ethiopian military reported that Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) rebels attacked a security forces base in the town of Malqaqa in the Ogaden region (near Somalia). The battle was quite large and involved militiamen, and police in the garrison. The government claimed approximately 90 rebels were killed in the battle.

May 16, 2010: East African diplomats accused the Ethiopian government of systematically silencing dissidents and critics prior to the upcoming elections. The government is accused of using food as a weapon by halting food aid deliveries to areas which favor opposition political groups. This is not the first time the current government has used food as an election tool and as a weapon against rebels. The former Marxist government used starvation as a weapon against guerrillas.



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