Capital Ethiopia Newspaper

Unknown gunmen attack Al- Amoudi’s commercial farm, 5 dead

On Saturday April 28, unidentified gunmen attacked a commercial farm in western Gambella region killing five workers including a Pakistani national, a senior government official said.
Saudi Star Agricultural Development Plc’s vast commercial farm located in Gambella region was attacked by a ‘few gunmen’ who started shooting at workers of the farm late Saturday, according to the Federal Government Communication Affairs’ State Minister Shimeles Kemal.
According to the region’s police Commission, all of the victims of the attack were employees of the Saudi Star Agricultural Business, which is engaged in agricultural development in the state. The farm is owned by the Ethiopian born Saudi billionaire Mohammed Al- Amoudi.
“The latest we have is that the assailants killed five people and also wounded eight others including one woman,” Shimeles told Capital.
According to Shimeles the attack occurred on site where a construction for a water tunnel was being undertaken, five to six kilometers from Saudi Star headquarters. The company recently announced that it has embarked on construction of irrigation infrastructure that would develop 10,000 hectares of land in the region. A 30km canal connecting the Alero Dam with the farm is currently being constructed at an estimated cost of USD 89 million.
“Six of the suspected assailants were put into police custody immediately and both federal and regional security forces have launched a full investigation to bring to justice (the) perpetrators of this heinous crime carried out on innocent civilians,” Shimeles added.
Reports later raised the number of suspects in police custody to ten.
Shimeles said that it is too early to know the nature of the motive behind the attack, whether political or other. “Security forces have seized full control of the situation,” Shimeles also said.
Similarly, gunmen have also attacked a public bus in the region in mid March, killing 19 people.
The Human Rights Watch group commented that the Ethiopian government has been forcibly moving tens of thousands of people in the region to make way for vast commercial investments, like Saudi Star’s. However, this is strongly refuted by the Ethiopian government, who stated that it has undertaken a resettlement program aimed at providing people there with access to clean water, health and education services. All of the commercial farms being leased there have not previously been utilized, according to the government.