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Ethiopia sentences rebels over attack on Nile dam

Construction workers are seen in a section of Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam in Benishangul Gumuz Region, Guba Woreda, Ethiopia, March 31, 2015. The dam has been a source of regional controversy, especially between Ethiopia and Egypt.

By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

April 13, 2017 (ADDIS ABABA) – Court in Ethiopia on Thursday handed down lengthy prison terms to 10 members of a rebel group, the Benishangul Gumez Peoples Movement (BGPM), for carrying out an attack near the construction site of the country’s multi-billion dollar hydroelectric power plant project.

According to court charge sheets obtained by Sudan Tribune, the rebels had carried out hand grenade attack at vehicles heading to the Dam project known as Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) and killed nine people and injured four others.

The court has also found the defendants guilty of separate attacks which killed three others.

According, the court has passed prison terms ranging from 9 years to life against the ten defendants who all denied the charges.

The Ethiopian government argues that the ultimate goal of the armed rebels was to attack the $ 4.2 billion dollars massive power plant project which the horn of Africa’s nation is building on Nile River at Benishangul Gumuz region near the Sudanese border.

Earlier last month, Ethiopia said it had thwarted an attack at the Dam site when 20 members of the same opposition movement tried to attack the heavily-guarded project site which Addis Ababa hopes would transform its economy and support in its stride to join middle-income countries by 2025.

Ethiopian security forces then immediately killed 13 members of the group while seven other who escaped to Sudanese border were later apprehended to Ethiopia by Khartoum, which has long existing border security deal with Ethiopia.

Government officials told Sudan Tribune that the armed BGPM rebels crossed to Ethiopia’s Benishangul Gumuz region via Sudan after receiving military training by Arch-rival Eritrea to sabotage the construction of what would be Africa’s largest dam.

Ethiopia and Eritrea fought a 1998-2000 border war that killed over 70,000 people and hence then their ties remain strained, routinely trading charges over supporting one the other’s rebel group.

Launched in 2011, GERD which Ethiopia is building from own coffers will upon completion have electricity production capacity of 6,450.

According to government figures, the massive dam is currently 56% completed.



  1. The so called guy Aka Tesfalem Tekle is pro – woyane; he works for Sudan Tribune and fabricates stories to appease the Woyane and mislead readers. Zehabesha should not entertain his articles or reports because he is always one sided. Aka Tesfalem is himself woyane; he is proud of being Woyane — the genocider of the Ethiopian mass.

  2. I wonder why anybody in his right mind would try to attack the dam.

    Somewhere else someone called the generation that is building the dam the “dumbest generation”. In reply to that, I admitted that Ethiopia had several dumb generations but this is not one of them. Why?

    The generation is building a large dam. History tells us that Emperor David I of Ethiopia (1382 – 1413) had built a dam on the Nile and saved Christians in Egypt that were persecuted by Muslims.

    One Shegitu Dadi had copied and pasted a true story narrating the Emperor’s dam and how it saved Egyptian Christians. If you’re interested, click https://zehabesha.com/egypt-church-bombings-at-least-37-killed-in-two-explosions-targeting-christians-on-palm-sunday/ and go to the comments section to read the story. It is a fascinating piece that should be read and re-read.

    Check out the capacity of the reservoir of the new dam being built on the Nile from a reliable source. Google the following that will lead you to the truth. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Ethiopian_Renaissance_Dam).

    Once it is filled with water which takes a couple of years, it will be the mother of all dams (MOAD). It positions Ethiopia at the valves to open and close the floodgates to Egypt. That means, Ethiopia, if she does not want to dictate terms to Egypt, it will definitely be talked to as an equal and get a fair deal.

    In a worst-case scenario, no matter what weapon Egypt has, it cannot match MOAD. More importantly, Egypt cannot attack MOAD because of the danger of flood it might cause without the capacity to handle it. Likewise, Egypt will not attempt to attack elsewhere in Ethiopia. Its hands will be tied in a kind of catch 22 situation. Damn if it attacks, damn if it does not.

    I say the generation that decided to take King David’s initiative to a higher level is by no means a “dumb” one. At one level, the dam is a response to a higher calling from the Almighty Himself. As the Holy Bible tells us, He has given His word to protect Ethiopia. At another level, speaking in human terms, it is a very, very smart thing to do.

    I feel that, knowingly or unknowingly, the generation has, as its forefathers did, anchored the future of Ethiopia in peace, security and stability for centuries to come.

    At a time like the present when Ethiopia has internal strife among her children, she snaps out of it if foreign forces leave her to herself and to her people.

    Tell Egyptian Christians to ask for help from Ethiopia in five years from now. The Almighty works to save them through Ethiopia once again.

    Also tell the “dumbest generation” that claims to have engaged in useless armed struggle for “liberation” to stay away from the dam.

    If it don’t stay away from the dam, its fight will be with the Almighty Himself in which they will perish.

    God bless Ethiopia.

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