The Indian manager of the cement plant owned by Nigeria’s Dangote Industries Limited in Ethiopia, Deep Kamra, was killed on Wednesday after he was attacked in the restive Oromiya region while returning to Addis Ababa from the factory.
Both the secretary and driver of Kamra, who is the Dangote Cement country manager, were also shot by the assailants. The Dangote plant, one of the ten established in Africa and outside Nigeria, was commissioned in May 2015. The 2.5Mta plant, less than 90km from Addis Ababa, is the largest cement plant in Ethiopia, capable of producing high-quality 32.5 and 42.5-grade cements to meet market needs, and at competitive costs. It has rich limestone reserves of about 223 million tonnes.
Oromiya, which surrounds Addis Ababa, was plagued by violence for over two years, largely fuelled by a sense of political and economic marginalisation among its young population. Hundreds died in the violence that was triggered in 2015 by demonstrations over land rights, before they broadened into rallies over freedoms that spread to other regions.
During the unrest, some vehicles belonging to the firm were torched by protesters. “The company’s director died following an attack by unknown gunmen that took place while returning from the factory alongside two company employees,” a government statement said. “Security forces are currently pursuing the assailants,” it added. The statement called on residents in the area to help gather details.
The country remains under a state of emergency imposed in February, a day after Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn resigned. Former army officer, Abiy Ahmed, has since replaced him. Since taking over amid the unrest that threatened the ruling coalition’s tight grip, Abiy has vowed “a new political beginning” including more democratic rights. Thousands have been released since January, including journalists and dissidents who have been jailed for a variety of charges including terrorism.