Ethiopia’s attorney general accused members of the security service of carrying out a grenade attack on a rally attended by the prime minister, as he announced details of a string of investigations that struck at the heart of the establishment.
Members of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) were involved in the blast that killed two people in June, soon after newly-elected reformist prime minister Abiy Ahmed left the stage, attorney general Berhanu Tsegaye told reporters on Monday.
Under other investigations, Berhanu added, arrest warrants have been issued for 36 security agents accused of rights abuses and corruption, and for more than 30 officials from a military-run firm, where he said inquiries had uncovered mismanagement.
Reuters could not immediately contact the security service, or the industrial conglomerate named by the attorney general – Metals and Engineering Corporation (METEC).
Abiy has pushed through a series of jolting reforms since coming to power in April, including a peace deal with neighbouring Eritrea, a pledge to open up state-dominated sectors to private investors and promises to rein in the security services.
“For six years METEC made international procurements totaling $2 billion without any bidding processes,” Berhanu said, without naming the international firms involved.
The attorney general said the investigation involved METEC’s procurement procedures and its contract for the Grand Renaissance Dam, the centerpiece of Ethiopia’s bid to become Africa’s biggest power exporter.
#Ethiopia: The gov’s decision to arrest former govt officials responsible for grave human rights violation is welcome. We urge the govt to do everything within its power to remedy the ills of the past while also ensuring fair trials for those arrested @PMEthiopia @BerhanuTsegaye pic.twitter.com/t7ZxZd9vm0
— Amnesty Eastern Africa (@AmnestyEARO) November 12, 2018
"Ghost prisons were used to make suspects admit to crimes they never committed. The prisoners are often kidnapped using ambulances and tortured in these prisons," Attorney General Birhanu Tsegaye
— The Reporter (@TheReporterET) November 12, 2018
Who is calling the shots in #Tigray? Apparently, #Ethiopia's former security chief and fugitive from justice, Getachew Assefa, assisted by Bereket Simon; not #TPLF chair, Debretsion. And z agenda? War against #Eritrea and #Amhara. The people of Tigray need to stop this insanity.
— EritreanViews (@EritreanViews) November 12, 2018