Ethiopia: Thousands gather for funeral of Renaissance dam engineer


Thousands of people gathered in Addis Ababa on Sunday to attend the funeral of engineer Semegnew Bekele.

Bekele, 53, was the project manager of Ethiopia’s ambitious Grand Renaissance dam and widely celebrated as one of the country’s greatest engineers. He was found dead in his car in the Ethiopian capital on Thursday with a gunshot wound to his head.

Thousands attend Bekele funeral

Thousands of Ethiopians attended the state funeral of Semegnew Bekele on Sunday, which was held at the Meskel Square in Addis Ababa – the same location his body was found on Thursday. Tearful tributes were paid during a solemn service, including a brass band and people carrying wreaths of flowers.

Protests were also held in the capital with demonstrators calling for justice over Bekele’s killing, which many believe was a targeted murder. Police fired teargas to break up protestors and several people were taken to hospital.

Authorities have confirmed the engineer was killed by a bullet wound to the head but they haven’t provided any further details.

We have confirmed that engineer Simegnew Bekele was shot dead … He had a bullet wound behind his right ear,” the head of Ethiopia’s Federal Police Commission, Zeinu Jemal, told reporters last week.

Featured image: By Rjruiziii – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

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.