Ethiopia: Police Detain Seven Suspects in Dangote Cement's Homicide

On the aftermath of the killings of the country manager of Dangote Cement, his secretary and driver last week, the Oromia Police has arrested seven suspects.

Reliable sources told The Reporter that one of the suspects is an employee of Dangote Cement Ethiopia while the remaining six were arrested from the area. "One of the suspects is a driver at Dangote while the rest were captured from the locality. This does not necessarily mean that the suspects are the ones who committed the crime but can lead the investigation to the perpetrators," sources said.

On May 16 two unknown assailants murdered the country manager of Dangote Cement, Deep Kamara, his executive secretary, Beakal Alelegn, and chauffer, Tsegaye Gidey, on their way back to Addis Ababa from a field visit to the Dangote Cement Ethiopia plant 85km west of the capital. The national defense forces, the Federal Police and Oromia Police have been patrolling the Adaberga wereda in the Oromia Regional State in search of the culprits.

In a related development, a high profile delegation from Dangote Industries arrived in Addis Ababa on Thursday May 17. The following day the delegation, comprising of three senior executives of Dangote Industries, met Lemma Megerssa, president of the Oromia Regional State. Sources, who attended the meeting, told The Reporter that Lemma expressed his condolences and assured the executives that regional state would do everything under its capacity to bring the culprits to justice and ensure security in the manufacturing area.

Joseph Oyenani Makoju, honorary advisor to the president of the Dangote Industries Group and managing director and CEO of Dangote Cement PLC, arrived in Addis Ababa on Sunday May 19. The following day the delegation led by Makoju met with Foreign Minister Workneh Gebeyehu (PhD). Workneh denounced the killing and told the delegation that the federal and regional governments are working vigorously to apprehend the culprits.

Sources told The Reporter that a national investigation team has been established. The investigation team is investigating the crime and reporting the developments to senior government officials of the Oromia Regional State and the federal government. "The government took the case very seriously," sources said.

In the wake of the horrific crime Africa's richest man Aliko Dangote and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed held a telephone conversation. The prime minister has assured Dangote that the government would ensure peace and security in the cement manufacturing locality. He told Dangote that his law enforcement forces are exerting maximum effort to capture the perpetrators and bring them to justice.

Dangote's delegation visited the Dangote Cement Ethiopia manufacturing plant. The executives met with the management members of the factory and tried to console them. "We appreciate all the employees who are working under this difficult circumstance. We appreciate that you continue producing in spite of the tragic incident. We would like to confirm to you we are by your side at this trying time. That is why we are here," the delegation told the management members.

The delegation told the management that Ethiopian authorities have assured them that they would ensure peace and security in the locality. They also asked them to convey the message to all the employees.

Dangote has invested more than USD 700 million to build the Ethiopian cement plant and created more than 1,500 jobs. The cement plant, which has an installed production capacity of 2.5 million tons of cement, commenced production in June 2015. The company has also built a cement bag manufacturing plant in front of the cement plant at a cost of USD 25 million. Dangote had a plan to build a second cement manufacturing plant but suspended the expansion project due to the political upheaval unfolding in the country. Dozens of trucks and heavy duty machineries that belong to the company were burnt to ashes during the public riots that rocked the Oromia Regional State in the last two years.

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