Seven Days, Vol. 19 No. 10

von Redakteur

Four people were killed in southeastern Ethiopia when Muslim protesters attacked a police station following the arrest of a preacher, said State Minister of Communications Shimeles Kemal. The deaths occurred in Asasa, in the Arsi Zone of Oromia region, after a crowd tried to free the imam, Shimeles said. Ten policemen were injured, the police station and post office burned down and 24 people arrested, he said (Bloomberg, April 30).

An unknown armed group attacked workers of the Saudi Star Agricultural Business in Gambella owned by Sheikh Mohammed Al-Amoudi on April 29, 2012. Five people were killed immediately and eight people were injured. Although no group has claimed responsibility for the act, police have arrested ten suspects. Among those who died are four Ethiopians and a Pakistani national, while those who were injured are four Ethiopians and four Pakistani nationals. The government has dispatched members of the Federal Police to the area. Investigation is underway by the Federal Police in cooperation with the Regional Police Commission. The attack was launched on the place where the company operates (Reporter, May 2).

At least 11 people have been killed in the latest clashes between Al Shabaab insurgents and Somali and Ethiopian troops in Somalia's southern of Bakol, locals said. Residents said that the clashes sparked after Al Shabaab insurgents stormed the district of Hudur, 420 km southwestern Mogadishu, where Ethiopian and Transitional Federal Government (TFG) troops were largely stationed. Somali military officials told from Hudur town that the Al Shabaab fighters have overnight attacked the town from different direction to take it over. They also said the TFG forces alongside Ethiopian troops repelled the attacking militants, killing at least seven fighters (Shabelle Media Network, May 1).

The Coffee Plantation Development Enterprise (CPDE) has reportedly earned 209m birr from coffee sales this fiscal year. The enterprise's Director-General, Fesseha Tekle, said CPDE has achieved 85% of the plan set to harvest 77,000 q of coffee this season. CPDE, a pioneer organization mainly engaged in coffee production and marketing, achieved bumper harvest this fiscal year compared to the previous years. This year's coffee output of the enterprise stands at 75, 000 q, up 13% from a year earlier. Last year, it harvested close to 58,000 q. Despite bumper harvest, this year's sales decreased compared to a year ago due to lower coffee prices in the international market and global financial crisis, he said. Last year, the enterprise had earned 255m birr, he said. As part of the efforts to increase productivity, the enterprise arranged removing old coffee trees from 500 ha and replacing them with newer and high-yield species, he said. Currently, the CPDE has more than 14,000 employees (WIC, May 2).

Ethiopia's new health insurance program ratified by the parliament last year is expected to take effect as of July 2012. The insurance program will require employees of all private, governmental and non-governmental organizations with more than ten employees to contribute 3% of their total salary. Individuals who are part of community based health insurance programs or those not registered as taxpayers such as farmers will have the option to be included in the program, according to the law that put it into effect. All insurance payers can receive treatment at health care providers specified by the arrangement and the agency charged by the Ministry of Health will take the responsibility of settling the bill (, May 1).

Ethiopia and Italy signed an agreement providing for 27m € to reduce maternal and newborn mortality. According to the agreement, the assistance will directly go to the Public Health Initiative for Free Access to Maternal and Neo-natal Care Service Programme. Health Minister Dr. Tewodros said the assistance would support the efforts being undertaken by the government in Wolisso Woreda and its environs in South West Shoa Zone to minimize maternal and newborn deaths. According to Dr. Tewodros, the assistance is expected to raise the health service coverage in those areas to 80% from the current 42% (ENA, May 3).