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  • Ethiopia's army is trying to rescue 108 women and children abducted in a cross-border raid in the western Gambella region, the government says.

     

     

    It blamed Friday's raid, in which 208 people died, on the Murle community from neighbouring South Sudan.
    The government said the army had killed 60 of those who carried out the attack.
    The Murle have previously been accused of carrying out cattle raids and stealing children to raise as their own.
    A mother whose husband was killed and three of her children abducted by the attackers told the BBC that she has no hope of seeing her children again.

    A map showing Gambella province in west Ethiopia
    "I don't know if they were killed during the crossfire," Chol Malual said. "The fighting was intense and if they survived, they will be probably be killed by the Murles."
    Meanwhile, additional medical personnel have been sent from the capital Addis Ababa to help treat dozens of people who were injured during the attack.
    "We have treated 82 patients," a medic in the Gambella region told the BBC, "most suffering from bullet wounds to the chest, abdomen or head.
    "We feel insecure here and would like the government to deploy security guards in the more dangerous areas."
    Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said in an address to the nation on Sunday that Ethiopia was seeking permission to cross the border for a joint military operation with South Sudan.

    Mr Hailemariam said neither South Sudan's army nor rebel forces were involved in Friday's attack.
    The prime minister added that "primitive and destructive forces kill people here at various times by moving from place to place".
    The targets of the raid were members of the Nuer ethnic group who live in both South Sudan and Ethiopia, the AFP news agency reports.

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  • Ethiopia: defective condoms found

    The Procurement Agency is looking into a national purchase of condoms by the Pharmaceuticals Fund & Supply Authority (PFSA) following a complaint received about the poor quality of the purchased condoms. It was the Authority who first filed its complaint and requested blacklisting of the supplier, an Indian company, HLL Life Care Ltd.

    The company, which is a major international supplier, has failed to supply standard quality condoms.

    Though PFSA is responsible for purchasing, supplies are required to be tested and approved by the Food, Medicines & Health Care Administration & Control Authority (FMHACA). Various tests are applied to condoms to check size in terms of length and width, thickness and quantity of lubricant, packaging and hole test.

    Of the total supply received, 60 batches were randomly tested and found to have holes when tested under simulated bursting effect and pressure.

    The Pharmaceuticals Authority declined to comment on anything related to the particular purchase including the number of condoms purchased and delivered so far.

    “The case is pending and therefore not ready to be declared publicly,” said Yemanebirhan Tadesse, its deputy director.

    Data from two years ago showed that 60 million condoms are imported through the Pharmaceuticals Authority only, while other strong suppliers of condoms in the country like DKT Import bring in condoms of diverse quality and options.

     

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  • Twitter, WhatsApp Down in Ethiopia Oromia Area After Unrest

    Internet messaging applications such as WhatsApp haven’t worked for more than a month in parts of Ethiopia that include Oromia region, which recently suffered fatal protests, according to local users.


    Smartphone owners haven’t been able to access services including Facebook Messenger and Twitter on the state-owned monopoly Ethio Telecom’s connection, Seyoum Teshome, a university lecturer, said by phone from Woliso, about 115 kilometers (71.5 miles) southwest of the capital, Addis Ababa.


    “All are not working here for more than one month,” said Seyoum, who teaches at Ambo University’s Woliso campus. “The blackout is targeted at mobile data connections.”

    A spokesman for Twitter Inc. declined to comment on the issue when e-mailed by Bloomberg on Monday. Facebook Inc., which bought WhatsApp Inc. in 2014, didn’t respond to an e-mailed request for comment.
    Protests that began in November in Oromia over perceived economic and political marginalization of Ethiopia’s most populous ethnic group led to a crackdown in which security forces allegedly shot dead as many as 266 demonstrators, according to a March report by the Kenya-based Ethiopia Human Rights Project. The government has said that many people died, including security officers, without giving a toll.
    One social-media activist, U.S.-based Jawar Mohammed, disseminated information and footage from protests to his more than 500,000 followers on Facebook.

    No Explanation


    Restricting access isn’t a policy and may be because of “erratic” connections, according to government spokesman Getachew Reda. “We have not yet found any explanation,” he said by phone from Addis Ababa on Monday.


    The move fits a “familiar pattern” of restrictions on freedom of expression and access to information by Ethiopian authorities, said Leslie Lefkow, deputy director for Africa at New York-based Human Rights Watch. “Pulling the plug on social media is a predictable attempt to cut the flow of news and information about the Oromo protests,” she said Monday in an e-mailed response to questions.


    The government has the technology to “control” the messaging applications, the Addis Ababa-based Capital newspaper reported on April 10, citing Andualem Admassie, Ethio Telecom’s chief executive officer. Andualem didn’t answer two calls to his mobile phone seeking comment.
    Hawassa city in Ethiopia’s southern region has suffered similar difficulties in accessing applications for more than a month, said Seyoum Hameso, an economics lecturer at the University of East London. “We couldn’t communicate with relatives,” he said in an e-mailed response to questions on Monday.

    More at Bloomberg

     

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  • Pastor fails to resurrect after telling people to bury him alive

    Five members of the same family were charged with the murder of a prophet who had been called to their their home in the village of Mazonde, Zimbabwe to help them cleanse their house of evil spirits.

    According to local newspaper, Zed 24 News, the accused family identified as Leanmore Mutero, Tonderai Muswere, Michael Muchengeti, Manasa Mutero and Nicholas Mutero, appeared at the High Court in Harare facing a murder charge for participating in the death of self-professed Prophet Shamiso Kanyama, who accidentally died during a healing ceremony.

    Pastor Kanyama had reportedly asked his followers to bury him alive so that he could summon more cleansing powers to heal the family that had been plagued by mysterious deaths.

    Zed 24 News reports that High Court Justice Owen Tagu heard how on that day, the late pastor had been invited to attend the home in the Muzarabani district, which is situated along the Mozambique-Zimbabwe border, by their priest, Zvidzai Muchengeti.

    The five men had requested the priest to help them clean their home of evil spirits, because it was causing mysterious deaths in their family.

    Responding to their request to perform a healing ceremony, Kanyama had ordered his followers to dig a grave and bury him alive because that was the way he summoned more healing powers to ward off evil spirits. However, the plan backfired on the prophet when instead of being resurrected as he supposed, the men dug up the grave again to find him dead.

    Kanyama helped to dig his own grave before praying and jumping inside, Father Zvidzai, who has turned State witness, told the High Court. He continued that after laying face down in the grave, he ordered his followers to start covering him with soil.

    He pegged a grave-shaped pit in front of my hut and asked for help to dig the pit,” Zvidzai continued. “Deceased requested to be buried alive so that he would gain power to drive away the evil forces.”

    Fearing for the life of the prophet as the men were in the process of filling the grave, he requested the men to stop what they were doing, Joseph Taderera told Justice Tagu.

    However, they ignored his pleas when Kanyama urged them to continue the process of burying him alive, stating that he would rise from the grave unharmed.

    “I warned the men about the danger of their actions, but my advice fell on deaf ears because Kanyama shouted, telling me that I am disturbing his angels, and urged them to continue filling the grave, saying that he would later come out alive,”Taderera said.

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