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Fuel tanker trucks stranded in Western Gondar

In the wake of a clash between defense forces and local residents in Western Gondar, Amhara Regional State, on Wednesday fuel tanker trucks which were transporting gasoline from Sudan to Ethiopia have been stranded in Western Gondar.

Sources told The Reporter that 30 fuel tanker trucks are stranded at Metema town for the past three days. Sources said the fuel tanker trucks were transporting gasoline from Geli oil refinery near Khartoum to central Ethiopia. “The trucks are stranded in Metema town since Wednesday,” they said.

Sources fear that the situation could lead to shortage of gasoline in the country. However, the Ethiopian Petroleum Supply Enterprise said that the situation is a temporary challenge. CEO of EPSE, Tadesse Hailemariam, told The Reporter the trucks were stranded only for two days. Tadesse said the trucks could continue their drive on Saturday with a military convoy. “This would not affect the gasoline supply as it is a temporary problem,” he said.

According to Tadesse, the public riots in Sudan did not affect the transport of gasoline to Ethiopia. However, there is shortage of fuel in Sudan. Tadesse said the fuel trucks are facing a challenge to refuel diesel in Sudan. One of the causes for the public riots is shortage of fuel. There has been fuel shortage in Sudan for more than six months. Sudan supplies 40 percent of Ethiopia’s 494,000 MT of annual gasoline demand. PetroChina is supplying 60 percent of the gasoline demand (350,000 MT) through the port of Djibouti.    

The conflict occurred in the Amhara Regional State, West Gondar Zone, Genda Weha town, when residents of the town blocked passage to a defense force convoy guarding trucks of Sur Construction Company. Residents of the town demanded that the trucks should be searched. Members of the defense forces allegedly refused the demand and opened fire on the residents killing nine residents of the town including children and women. It has been reported that armed militia of the town has also fired at the defence forces.

Army chief of staff, Seare Mekonnen (Gen.), and deputy chief of staff and head of operations Berhanu Jula (Gen.) told Ethiopian Satellite Television (ESAT) that order has not been given to the army contingent to open fire on civilians. However, Berhanu said military personnel have the right to defend themselves when armed people open fire at them. According to him, armed people might have opened fire at member of the defense forces.

Local residents have told The Reporter that two members of the national defense forces have been killed in crossfire.

President of the Amhara Regional State, Gedu Andargachew, deplored the measure taken by the national defense forces. Gedu told the Amhara State Media Agency that an inquiry committee was dispatched to the Genda Weha locality adding that the case is being investigated. Gedu said the culprits should be brought to justice.