Lebanon: Flights carrying the last of the Ethiopian migrants, who managed to pay the $550 US evacuation fee to the Ethiopian consulate, will lift off from Beirut for Addis Ababa starting Wednesday . They'll have hundreds more to pay in quarantine fees over two weeks.
Perhaps the greatest tragedy for those leaving...is that they paid up to 5 months worth of salary to the consulate in US$, a currency that has disappeared from Lebanese banks....just to hear that the Lebanese gov had waved all immigration related fees for undocumented migrants.
Without immigration fees, there would be no need to demand 550$. A day after Lebanon first lowered fines, the consulate posted a vague Amharic Facebook post directed at migrants implying that those who didn't rush to pay 550$ before March 11 would be stranded permanently.
HARASSED & THREATENED. #bringbackourgirls
137 days since 17 Dembi Dolo University students hailing from the Amhara region were kidnapped. I spoke with families recently. The government appears commited to burying the story. Family members have been threatened, harassed & jailed.
Family members are a lot less willing to speak to press today than they were in January. They are being threatened by public officials and police. Relatives explained to me that they have been warned not to criticize the government over its response.
Two women, believed to be sisters or cousins of one of the missing girls, spent a month in jail for what I am told was their criticism of the government's response. They were only recently released from jail I'm told, as part of measures to avoid the spread of #Covid19 in jails.
THREAD: Former Ethiopian intelligence cyber chief Biniam Tewolde was among 63 prisoners ordered released today by the @FAGEthiopia. Arrested in July 2018, he faced corruption charges. He wasn't charged for his role in the stalking & arrests of dissidents. A little on that...
As deputy director of INSA, Biniam Tewolde was crucial in setting up the big brother state in Ethiopia. Constant surveillance of the phones and computers of journalists, activists, politicians with the goal of clamping down on opposition to the government. hrw.org/report/2014/03…
The arrests of countless dissidents related to activity on Facebook or text messages are accredited to Biniam Tewolde's formation of a cyber police state in Ethiopia. It's also what contributed to Ethiopia ranking among the world's top jailers of journos. voanews.com/africa/cpj-eri…
THREAD: Oromo Liberation Army involvement in the kidnapping of 17 @dambi_dollo students of Amhara origins? No proven link thus far. But tweets by the armed group suggest that OLA fighters may have been in the vicinity as the students were being abducted.
@dambi_dollo It has been nearly two months since 18 students, fleeing a bout of violence at their Dembi Dolo University campus, were kidnapped. The group were aboard vehicles headed to Gambela when attackers forced the vehicles to stop & took the students into the nearby Qellem Wollega forest
@dambi_dollo The students haven't been seen since. A coverup of sorts has ensued as the @PMEthiopia's office claimed it had obtained the releases of 21 of them, although there has been no trace of the freed students. Parents of the students continue to plead the return of their children.
THREAD: Bizarre antics by diplomats at the Ethiopian consulate in Lebanon. A recent attempt to intimidate myself & others who seek to amplify the plight faced by domestic workers in that country. Ridiculous doesn't even begin to describe this. @NEBGET@AddisStandard@NAWAoD
Weeks ago, I did a story for Addis Standard highlighting the deaths of some 7 Ethiopian maids, all of whom are believed to have died in October. It was a sad reminder that the kafala system makes on average 2 victims weekly of domestic workers in Lebanon. addisstandard.com/in-depth-analy…
Among those whose bodies were returned from Lebanon...Mekdes Gadissa...these pictures were of her burial in Addis Ababa last month. She was only 21 when she died.
Update: Our recent @AddisStandard story highlighted the recent deaths of 7 Ethiopians in Lebanon, as well as a new policy enacted by the Ethiopian Consulate in Beirut refusing all assistance to Ethiopian citizens in Lebanon asking for help in freeing victims of abuse...
After the widespread publicity & backlash it garnered, I can now confirm that the consulate was forced to abandon the policy. Enacted in August, the consulate had diverted all of its duties with regards to assistance of victims of kafala abuse, to the @mfaethiopia in Addis Ababa.
Ethiopia's Foreign Ministry Spokesman @NEBGET had confirmed to @addisstandard that nobody at the MFA in Addis Ababa had okayed such a policy. The acting ambassador and head of the consulate, Aklilu Tatere also denied such a policy existed when I spoke to him over the phone.
11 hours ago, I tweeted a picture I explained was taken in 2018 near Moyale. Minutes ago, someone from Minnesota based Ethiopian gossip tabloid @zehabesha saw my tweet & reposted the image to over a million Facebook followers, misleading them into believing that it is recent🤦🏾♂️
@zehabesha Within half an hour now, the image has accomulated over 300 likes and has been shared 121 times. Nearly 200 comments among them ethnic slurs or users trading blame, pointing fingers at the gov, Jawar or other players.
@zehabesha I first tweeted the image over a year ago...back in July of 2018 as you can see here. It is of Garri Somali settlements being torched. @zehabesha's shameless spreading of misinformation has people at each other's throats & trading insults, fueling tension.
THREAD: Due to numerous requests, I'm posting here an English translation of my Amharic language thread on our investigation into the death of 19 year old Tigist Belay Tadesse, an #Ethiopian domestic worker in #Lebanon back in February of this year.
This is the original thread. Tigist's death was among several probed as part of a larger investigation into the deaths of domestic workers in Lebanon conducted with the aid of activists from the underground @ThisIsLebanonDW initiative.
@ThisIsLebanonDW Tigist Belay died on February 2nd 2019 at the home of her Lebanese employer in the city of Jounieh, north of Beirut. Her death was declared a suicide. She had been in the country for only 7 months before her untimely passing.
THREAD: So the @PMEthiopia's office has come out on record as saying this man, General Asaminew Tsige is behind yesterday's violence. Who exactly is he? What you need to know...
General Asaminew is currently the Amhara region's security chief. He reported directly to President Ambachew Mekonnen who died yesterday. Prior to his being appointed to such a prominent position, he was in prison for nearly a decade.
He has a background in the Ethiopian Airforce. In 2009, he was among several dozen military officials arrested allegedly for plotting a coup and takeover of the country, then led by Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. Asaminew Tsige was sentenced to life in prison.
Attention: this news being circulated by the account "Egyptian local News," @RenaissanceDam is untrue. The account is run by an Ethiopian, not an Egyptian and has a track record of disseminating baseless, misleading reports. I will cite an example of an earlier incident...
In April of this year, this same account claimed Egyptian hackers had taken over the Amhara regional state website for the Gilgel Gibe Dam. It provided this screenshot as proof and alerted people to tge threat of Egyptian cyber attacks on Ethiopian installations.
However, the Arabic language link to the story on the alleged 2018 hacking was from April 2015, and the screenshot embedded in the tweet was dated December 2015. Story didn't add up and it was relatively easy to immediately dismiss this as a fabrication.
I'm going on a bit of a rant to express my disdain with how some Ethiopians have reacted to the publishing of this article in the @TheEconomist, discussing the rise of the Pentecostalism creed of Christianity in #Ethiopia...(continued)... economist.com/middle-east-an…
I have read the article several times now. My view is that such a topic cannot be properly addressed in such a short article, but it is an ok start. I don't find anything I'd particularly disagree with although I'd say there are a few subjective statements.
However, a section of Ethiopians have been up in arms, vilifying the Ethiopia based reporter who penned the piece, @TomGardner18, and accusing him of stoking division and religious tension. He has been slandered even here on Twitter where sane minds had tended to prevail.
THREAD: Time for a discussion on the state of news reporting in the #Somali region. A look at the key sources of information permitted to work on the ground. The situation is dire to say the least. #Ethiopia
As is well known, since 2008 the #Somali region had been under a total blockade enforced by former President Abdi Illey. Meaning beyond state outlets like EBC, media outlets and rights groups were barred access to the region.
Over the years, Abdi Illey organized a consortium of like minded ideologically similar outlets and bloggers to gain access and monopolize the reporting from the region. A considerable amount of investment locked down the region's journalism into the single celled realm it became.
Thread: Updates and discussion on you know what region. #Ethiopia ...
With the downfall of former President Abdi Illey, numerous exiled members of the #Somali activism community are returning home to participate in the transition period debates and discussion. Crucial times these are.
Most have heard of Jawar's homecoming, but this man, Mustafa Omer, a renowned outspoken Somali democracy activist has returned to #Ethiopia after 11 years. He paid a steep price, the Abdi regime murdered his brother amd badly tortured his father in 2016 to silence him.
Who has been arrested for the murders of 6 Djiboutians in Dire Dawa? Or 3 Tegarus in Tana Beles? Or dozens of Sidama/Wolayta in Sodo/Awassa? Or 100s of Oromos/Somalis in Chinaksen/Moyale? Or dozens of Amharas in Benishangul?
Answer: nobody & noone. #Ethiopia#nojusticenopeace
Add to the list the murdered in Jijiga and murdered Gedeo. In nearly all of these incidents, there are a plethora of eye witnesses, trails that lead directly to suspects, in some cases photographic and video evidence. It doesn't require much searching to lock up perpetrators.
There are those who are trying to use what happened in Shashemene to slam the federal kilil system, or the Qeerroo. Lots of politically motivated mudslinging.