On March 2nd , a group of twenty fighters from the Bani Shangul Peoples Liberation Movement approached the great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) , apparently with the intention of sabotaging it . Their chances of success , given the mass of the dam , were absolutely zero . Thirteen were killed and the other seven captured . Ethiopia accused Eritrea of being responsible for the attack but Asmara’s Spokesman Yemane Gebre Meskel denied ever having heard of the BPLM , a pronouncement that is as likely as if Donald Trump had pretended never to have heard about the Tea Party . The BPLM has been around that zone for over thirty years and , Asmara has financed it off and on . Then why attack that pharaonic construction with a slingshot ? Obviously not for military or sabotage reasons . But the GERD is in trouble : the building operation has been at rest for five months and the workers are not even getting paid . The purpose was financial and diplomatic , scaring off investors and technicians and it probably produced the desired effect . The only thing we don’t know is the degree of involvement of the Egyptians in this practical demonstration . The Ethiopian Army is not amused . For the Southern Sudanese rebels now moving aroundde Addis Ababa , this is good news .
March 19th 2017

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