Ethiopia: Renaissance dam engineer found dead in car


The project manager of a controversial dam project along the Blue Nile River in Ethiopia was found dead in his car on Thursday.

Simegnew Bekele managed the $4.8bn Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam project being built along the northwestern border of Ethiopia. Authorities confirmed that Bekele had been shot dead and his body had been taken to hospital for examination.

Dam engineer shot dead in car

“We have confirmed that engineer Simegnew Bekele was shot dead,” head of Ethiopia’s Federal Police Commission, Zeinu Jemal, told reporters.

“He had a bullet wound behind his right ear,” Zeinu revealed, adding that a Colt pistol was found inside Bekele’s Toyota Land Cruiser.

The engineer was sitting in the driver’s seat of the vehicle, which was parked near a busy road at Meskel Square in the centre of Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa. Bekele had been managing the controversial Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam project since construction began in 2011.

The project has caused a diplomatic rift between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan over the allocation of the Nile river’s waters.

Hundred’s of protesters gathered in front of state television ETV following the announcement of Bekele’s death, calling for justice.

Featured image: By Nicolás Pérez – Original work by Lourdes Cardenal, CC BY 2.5,


About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.