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Eritrea Denies Knowing Group Linked to Ethiopian Dam Plot
Eritrea’s government denied any knowledge of a rebel group that Ethiopia said had plotted to attack the country’s flagship hydropower plant.
Ethiopian security forces killed 13 members of the Benishangul Gumuz People’s Liberation Movement who’d traveled from Eritrea to attack the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, or GERD, Ethiopia’s deputy government spokesman Zadig Abrha said Thursday by phone. Seven other members of the group fled to neighboring Sudan, whose authorities handed them over to the Ethiopian government, he said.
“This whole accusation is preposterous and peddled for some sinister reason,” Eritrean Information Minister Yemane Gebremeskel said in a message sent via Twitter. He said he has “never heard of this group.”
The 6,000-megawatt GERD, scheduled for completion next year, is set to be Africa’s biggest hydropower plant, according to a June report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. It’s being built on the Blue Nile River near the border with Sudan at an estimated cost of $6.4 billion and may be used to export power to East African countries, BNEF said.
Eritrea achieved independence from Ethiopia in 1993 after decades of armed struggle. The two countries fought again in 1998-2000 over the disputed territory of Badme on their border in a conflict that left at least 50,000 people dead.