Ethiopia says Blue Nile Dam engineer's death a suicide

Friday September 07 2018

Simegnew Bekele, the project manager of Ethiopia's Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam was found dead in the capital Addis Ababa on July 25, 2018. AFP PHOTO | ZACHARIAS ABUBEKER


The head of Ethiopia's controversial project damming waters of the Blue Nile committed suicide, state media reported Friday.

The body of Simegnew Bekele, project manager and public face of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, was found in a parked car in the capital Addis Ababa's in July with a gunshot wound to the head.

"His death was a suicide" from a "contact shoot", state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporate reported, citing an unnamed police official.

The investigation into his death is continuing, Fana added.

Ethiopians reacted with dismay to the death of Simegnew, whose body was found in a parked car in the capital's central Meskel Square.

At his funeral, clashes broke out between police and bystanders who tried to push past their lines.


The $4-billion dam, being built near the country's western border with Sudan, will be Africa's largest when completed, producing 6,000 megawatts — the rough equivalent of six large nuclear reactors.

But the scheme faces opposition from Egypt, which is crucially dependent on the Nile and worries that downstream flows could be affected.

The Blue and the White Nile converge in Sudan's capital Khartoum and from there run north, crossing Egypt before emptying in the Mediterranean.