The Ethiopian government has accused elements in Eritrea and other countries of fanning the crisis in the country that culminated in the burning of factories owned by Nigeria’s Aliko Dangote and other foreign investors.
In a statement released on Monday, Ethiopia accused elements in Eritrea, Egypt and other states of arming, training and funding groups that it blames for a wave of protests and violence in regions around its capital Addis Ababa.
The protesters attacked Dangote Cement factory with vehicles as well as machinery at the firm’s plant in Oromiya vandalised.
Other firms attacked are:
* FV SeleQt BV – the Dutch firm’s 300-hectare vegetable farm and warehouse in Oromiya .
* AfricaJUICE BV – the Dutch firm’s factory in Oromiya.
* Saygin Dima Textile – a third of the Turkish firm’s factory in Oromiya.
* BMET Energy Telecom Industry and Trade LLC – Turkish cable firm’s factory in Oromiya.
* Esmeralda Farms BV of the Netherlands.
* Italian owned-Alfano Fiori.
* Indian firm Fontana Flowers PLC, and others operated and owned by investors from Israel, Belgium and the Middle East.
Genesis of the attack on Dangote Cement factory
The government declared a state of emergency on Sunday after more than a year of unrest in Oromiya and Amhara regions. Protesters in these regions say the government has trampled on their rights in pursuit of industrial development. The protesters accused government of grabbing their land.
Rights groups say more than 500 people have died in clashes with police and other confrontations. The violence has damaged around a dozen factories and also equipment mostly belonging to foreign firms, accused by protesters of purchasing leases for seized land, NAN reports.
“Some countries armed, financed and also trained these elements,” government spokesman Getachew Reda told a news conference.
He named Eritrea, which has a long-running border dispute with Ethiopia. He also named Egypt, which is embroiled in a row with Addis Ababa over sharing Nile waters, as sources of backing for “armed gangs”, although he also added that it might not come from “state actors”.
“We have to be very careful not to necessarily blame one government or another. The Egyptian political establishment consists of all kinds of elements which may or may not necessarily be directly linked with the Egyptian government,” Getachew said.
Egypt has dismissed previous accusations that it was meddling in Ethiopian affairs. “Egypt firmly respects the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries,” a Foreign Ministry statement said last week.
Eritrea routinely dismisses charges that it wants to destabilise its neighbour. Instead, it accuses Addis Ababa of stoking unrest on its own soil.