Head engineer of Ethiopian $4.8B dam project found dead in his car


The project manager of an Ethiopian mega-dam was found dead in the capital Addis Ababa on Thursday, state media reported.

Engineer Semegnew Bekele was discovered dead inside his car at Meskel Square, Fana Broadcasting Corporation.

“Engineer Simegnew Bekele was found dead in his car this morning in Meskel Square. His body has been taken to hospital for an autopsy,” Fana reported.

Simegnew Bekele was the public face of the dam being built near the country’s western border with Sudan that, when completed, will be Africa’s largest.

The dam has faced opposition from Egypt, which fears the $4-billion (3.2-billion-euro) project on the Blue Nile which is expected to produce 6,000 megawatts — the equivalent of six nuclear reactors — will affect the river’s downstream flows.

The Nile River dam is now more than 63 percent complete. Once finished, it will generate about 6,400 megawatts, more than doubling Ethiopia’s current production of 4,000 megawatts.

Construction started in 2011, and two of its 16 turbines are scheduled to start producing power in 2018, the Ethiopian authorities said earlier this year.