Ethiopia probes killing of Dangote Cement country manager

17 May 2018

Ethiopian authorities are investigating the murder of the country manager of Dangote Cement Plc and two other staff members.

Unidentified gunmen shot dead Deep Kamra, his secretary and his driver on Wednesday, Tariku Alemayehu, deputy manager for sales and marketing in Ethiopia, said by phone from the capital, Addis Ababa. The killings took place in broad daylight near Dangote’s factory in Mugher, about 90 km north of Addis Ababa, Group Executive Director Edwin Devakumar said by email from Lagos, where Dangote’s head office is based.

The assailants forced the driver to lose control by throwing a concrete block at the vehicle the three people were traveling in, before opening fire on the occupants, Devakumar said.

“Mr. Kamra tried to get out and escape,” he said. “They shot him in the leg. When he slumped into the jeep, they went near and shot him multiple times. Then they shot the driver and the secretary — also, each of them, multiple times. It was simply a massacre.”

Security forces are working to apprehend the suspects, according to a statement read on state-owned ETV.

Dangote is Africa’s biggest cement producer, with operations in 10 countries. Mugher is in Ethiopia’s Oromia region, which has been hit by sporadic anti-government protests over the past three years and where the company has faced opposition to how it sources raw materials.

Dangote Cement said last year it was considering shutting the plant unless authorities in Oromia reversed an order to cement makers to hand over control of pumice, sand, and clay mines to youth groups. The policy for the cement industry was in part overseen by Ethiopia’s new prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, in his prior role as head of Oromia’s urban development and housing bureau as a means to ease youth unemployment and quell unrest.

Tariku said Dangote had come to an agreement last year for youth to supply pumice to the company each month “according to capacity.”

Kamra was an Indian national. The Indian Embassy in Addis Ababa said its providing all necessary assistance to repatriate his body.

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