Former top Ethiopian intelligence boss arrested


Ethiopia’s former deputy intelligence chief was arrested, Attorney General Berhanu Tsegaye said, the latest move targeting security officials for human rights abuses and corruption.

“Former deputy of NISS and Federal Police Commission Commissioner General Yared Zerihun was apprehended by police,” Berhanu Tsegaye said on Twitter on Thursday.

He did not disclose details, but the arrest followed that of dozens of security officials on charges of human rights abuse and corruption.

On Monday, the wife of Yared Zerihun was arrested. Sources told Reuters she was trying to hide him. Yared was moved to head the federal police in April but resigned three months later.

On Tuesday, Ethiopia arrested the former head of a military-run industrial conglomerate and flew him in handcuffs to the capital, a day after authorities announced investigations targeting senior members of the security forces.

Kinfe Dagnew, a brigadier general in Ethiopia’s army and former chief executive of METEC, was taken into custody close to the border with Sudan and Eritrea. Kinfe is due in court after appearing briefly on Wednesday and requesting a lawyer.

On Monday, Berhanu said investigations uncovered corruption at METEC (Metal and Engineering Corporation), which makes military equipment and is involved in sectors from agriculture to construction.

Kinfe and Yared’s arrests are the most high-profile since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed came to power in April promising to rein in the security services and tackle what he called economic mismanagement, corruption and rights abuses.

He pushed through reforms that upended decades-old policies and hierarchies in east Africa’s economic powerhouse – including moves to let private investors take stakes in conglomerates run by the army and other state bodies.

In August, Ethiopia removed METEC from the $4 billion Grand Renaissance Dam project on the River Nile due to delays in completing the project.