Ethiopians in Gonder Protest Death of Simegnew Bekele
July 28, 2018 - Ethiopians are mourning the death of celebrated dam engineer, Simegnew Bekele. Hundreds of Ethiopians demanded justice on Friday for his death. The project manager of the $4 billion dam was found shot dead inside a locked car with a pistol laying next to him.
Nothing is known yet on whether this is murder or suicide. Ethiopian police is investigating the nature of death, but has not disloced any information yet.
The Grand Renaissance Dam is to be Africa's biggest dam and Ethiopia plans to be the biggest exporter of power in Africa up on its completion. The government has touted the project as a symbol of unity, growth and renaissance.
Many Ethiopians believe Simegnew was murdered. Protests were reported in and around Gonder city.
"Roads in and out of (the northern town of) Gondar are blocked by rocks and protesters," Tamagn Belachew, a resident of the city, told Reuters. He said demonstrators chanted "justice for Simegnew" and "bring the killers to justice". Another resident said shots were fired during protests on Thursday evening and civil servants are on strike.
The 53-year-old Simegnew gained Bachelor's degree in civil engineering from Addis Ababa University. Subsequently, he led two dam projects - Gilgel Gibe I and Gilgel Gibe II dams. In 2011, he was put in charge of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.