AFRICANGLOBE – The regional state government of Gambella caught 3 Egyptian nationals today, who penetrated the region via war torn South Sudan, in what the regional government of Gambella believed to be a spying mission, aimed at obtaining information about the country’s Grand Renaissance Dam project. The the three men named as Yusuf Haj, Ismail Azizi and Hassan Garai were caught in separate locations of the region.
Yusuf went to Abobo on a fake tourist pass to see the Abobo dam of the Abobo county (Woreda). Residents of Abobo contacted law enforcement authorities after they became suspicious by the man’s activities near the dam. He was later arrested by local police, he was then transferred to the regional administration in Gambella for further investigation and detention.
The other two Egyptian men were caught at a bus station in Gambella trying to board a bus to Benshangul – Gumuz state without security passes. Benshangul-Gumuz near blue Nile is where the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) is located.
Egypt and Ethiopia have been at odds over the construction of Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. The Egyptian government threatened to bomb the dam as they feel that if the dam becomes operational, it would compromise their control of the waters of the Nile. Ethiopia, however, denied that the dam will have any impact on the flow of the water to Egypt.
Moreover, South Sudan’s government recently signed a military agreement with Egyptian government. The agreement was received with much skepticism by Addis Ababa who believe that any deal by their neighbour with Egypt may serve as a staging post for an attack on the dam.
Last week, South Sudanese rebels claimed to have captured 12 Egyptians in Jonglei who were fighting alongside the government of South Sudan.