May 5, 2014
GAMBELLA – The regional state government of Gambella caught today 3 Egyptian nationals who penetrated to the the region via the war torn South Sudan in what the regional government of Ethiopia believed to be a spying mission to find information about the country’s Renaissance Dam. The the three men named as Yusuf Haj, Ismail Azizi and Hassan Garai were caught in separate locations of the region.
Yusuf went to Abobo on a fake tourist pass to see the Abobo dam of the Abobo county (Woreda). The locals in Abobo worried about the suspicious activities he was making near the dam and that prompted his arrest by the local police. He was then transferred to the regional administration in Gambella for further investigation and detentions.
The other two were caught at a bus station in Gambella trying to board a bus to Benshangul – Gumuz state without security passes. Benshangul-Gumuz near blue Nile is where the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) is located.
Egypt and Ethiopia have been at odds over the construction of GERD. Egyptian government threatened to bomb the dam as they feel that if the dam becomes operational, it would compromise their fair share of the Nile water. Ethiopia however denied any impact the flow of water would do to Egypt.
Moreover, South Sudan government recently signed a military agreement with Egyptian government. The agreement was received with too much skepticism by Addis Ababa who think that any deal by their neighbour with Egypt would invite an attack on the dam.
Last week, the South Sudanese rebels claimed to have captured 12 Egyptians in Jonglei who fought alongside the government of South Sudan.