Ebun Francis with agency reports
The government of Ethiopia on Monday blamed elements in Eritrea for the crisis in the country that lead to the burning and destruction of factories owned by Nigeria’s Aliko Dangote and other foreign investors.The government in a statement said Eritrea, Egypt and other states armed, trained and funded groups that it blames for the wave of protests and violence in regions around its capital Addis Ababa. During the protest, Dangote’s Cement factory, with vehicles and machinery at the firm’s plant in Oromiya were vandalised.
“There are countries which are directly involved in arming, financing and training these elements,” government spokesman Getachew Reda told a news conference.
He named Eritrea, which has a long-running border dispute with Ethiopia, and Egypt, embroiled in a row with Addis Ababa over sharing Nile waters, as sources of backing for “armed gangs”, although he said it might not come from “state actors”.
“We have to be very careful not to necessarily blame one government or another. There are all kinds of elements in the Egyptian political establishment which may or may not necessarily be directly linked with the Egyptian government,” Getachew said.
Ethiopia declared a state of emergency on Sunday after more than a year of unrest in Oromiya and Amhara regions, where protesters say the government has trampled on their rights in pursuit of industrial development.
Rights groups say more than 500 people have died in clashes with police and other confrontations..
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 also dismissed the charges.