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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Former Ethiopia minister returns home as reconciliation deepens

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- Former Ethiopian minister Junedin Sado returned home on Monday after close to a decade in exile due to disagreements with the Ethiopian government.

Sado, who had served as Ethiopia’s minister of transport as well as other high-level government roles, followed the footstep of many other opposition figures, journalists and activists who returned following the government’s reconciliation effort.

Sado’s homecoming on Monday came a day after another prominent Ethiopian government critic and human right activist, Tamagn Beyene, who returned on home on Saturday after more than two decades of strong opposition in exile.

Beyene, who was welcomed by senior Ethiopian government officials including Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen upon his arrival in Ethiopia, said recent peaceful transition and reform within the Ethiopian government was the major factor for him to return.

Mekonnen, who commended Beyene for his decision to return home, further called on Ethiopians in exile to follow suit, according to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.

The Ethiopian government, following Abiy Ahmed’s premiership in early April, has been implementing various decisions aimed at creating a nationwide reconciliation, including the release of high-level political prisoners, invitation for Ethiopian rebel groups for talks as well as the decision to normalize relations with its regional arch-rival Eritrea.

Ahmed also declared an amnesty invitation for exiled politicians, journalists and human right activists to return home and pursue their political activities in a peaceful manner.

Kassa Kebede, foreign policy chief of Ethiopia’s former ruling party, is one among the many Ethiopians who have returned home after decades of stay in exile.

Other notable activists and journalists that have returned include Jawar Mohammed and Mohammed Ademo.

Various rebel groups, such as the Patriotic Ginbot 7, Oromo Leberation Front (OLF) and the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), have also declared ceasefire.

The ONLF, a rebel group operating in the Ethiopia’s Somali regional state, is the latest to declare a unilateral temporary ceasefire.

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EARLIER REPORTS:

Ethiopia’s prominent gov’t critic, activist returns
home after over two decades in exile

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- Prominent Ethiopian government critic and human right activist, Tamagn Beyene, on Saturday returned home after more than two decades of strong opposition in exile.

Beyene, who was welcomed by senior Ethiopian government officials including Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen upon his arrival in Ethiopia, said that recent peaceful transition and reform within the Ethiopian government structure was the major factor for him to return to the east African country.

Mekonnen, who commended Beyene for his decision to return home, further called on Ethiopians in exile to follow suit, according to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.

Thousands of Ethiopians welcomed Beyene, who received street ovation and warm homecoming, upon his arrival in Ethiopia’ capital Addis Ababa early Saturday.

Beyene is the latest of exiled Ethiopians who are flocking into the east African country following recent reform move by Ethiopia’s ruling coalition the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF).

The Ethiopian government, following Ahmed’s premiership in early April, has been implementing various decisions aimed at creating a nationwide reconciliation, which include the release of high-level political prisoners, invitation for Ethiopian rebel groups for talks as well as the decision to normalize relations with its regional arch-rival Eritrea.

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed had also declared an amnesty invitation for exiled Ethiopian politicians, journalists and human right activists to return home and pursue their political activities in a peaceful manner.

Kassa Kebede, foreign policy chief of Ethiopia’s former ruling party, is one among the many Ethiopians who have returned home after decades of stay in exile.

Kebede, one of the top leaders of the Ethiopian Workers’ Party (EWP) that ruled the East African country for 17 years, has been in exile for about 27 years since the current ruling coalition came into power.

Notable other activists and journalists that have returned to the east African country also include Jawar Mohammer and Mohammed Ademo.

Ademo, a prominent Ethiopian journalist who was also in exile, said upon his return that “my exile and longing for home have come to an end. I am glad that it coincided with this defining and pivotal moment of renewal for Ethiopia. I look forward to both the journey and the challenges.”

Various popular Ethiopian rebel groups - such as the Patriotic Ginbot 7, Oromo Leberation Front (OLF) and the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) - have also similarly declared ceasefire as the Ethiopia’s reform process strengthened over the past couple of months.

The ONLF, a rebel group operating in the Ethiopia’s Somali regional state, is the latest to declare a unilateral temporary ceasefire, saying “Emphasizing the urgent need to foster a climate of peace that can assist the ONLF, the Ethiopian government and other stakeholders in resolving the longstanding conflict in the Ethiopia Somali regional state, the ONLF declares a unilateral ceasefire from Sunday.”

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Communal clashes in western Ethiopia leave 10 dead

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- Communal clashes in Benishangul Gumuz regional state in western Ethiopia has left 10 people dead, state media Fana Broadcasting Corporate (FBC) said on Monday.

The report said Assosa, capital city of Benishangul Gumuz, and its surrounding localities were scenes of violent ethnic clashes during the weekend, which left 10 people dead and four others injured.

The region had witnessed a similar deadly unrest in May involving locals and other ethnic groups residing in the region, reportedly over access to land and state resources.

FBC said regional and federal security forces are working in coordination with local community leaders to pacify the situation to prevent a recurrence of the weekend violence.

Benishangul Gumuz, located in western Ethiopia along the Ethiopia-Sudan border, hosts Ethiopia’s largest development project, the 6,450-megawatt Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), which is under construction on the Blue Nile River.

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33 Africans drown off Yemen after smugglers force passengers into sea: IOM

SANAA Yemen (Xinhua) -- At least 33 African migrants drowned off the eastern coast of Yemen after smugglers operating the boat forced the passengers into sea, the spokesman of International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Yemen told Xinhua Sunday.

“The victims, including 22 men and 11 women, drowned on Wednesday off the Yemeni southeastern coast of Shabwa,” the spokesman Saaba al-Mualemi said.

He said the 33 migrants were part of 360 African refugees and migrants overcrowded onboard two small boats.

“The smugglers of one of the boats opened fire and forced the passengers to jump out of the boat few kilometers away from the shore,” al-Mualemi said, adding that some managed to swim and survived, while “Yemeni rescue teams pulled the 33 victims.”

In May, about 46 African refugees drowned off Shabwa, according to the IOM.

Humanitarian situations have been deteriorated in Yemen since the poorest Arab country fell in deadly civil war in late 2014.

The African refugees and migrants, mostly from Somalia and Ethiopia, have frequently fled their countries in the horn of Africa to Yemen, from which they later infiltrate through mountainous and desert borders to neighbouring oil-rich Arab Gulf states for better living conditions or works.

             

 

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