Ethiopia: Tainted Ally

U.S.-backed Ethiopian troops grabbed headlines in late 2006, invading Somalia to drive the Islamic Courts Union from power. Less known is the Addis government's massive persecution of its own people.

It is true that Ethiopia is at war — with itself. For more than a century Ethiopian rulers have grappled with insurgency, insurrection and rebellion, particularly in the east and south, where the Oromo and Somali people have long sought greater autonomy.

Human rights groups accuse Ethiopian security forces of committing grave abuses within their own borders. But Prime Minister Meles Zenawi remains a favorite of the West, particularly the United States, which sees him as a crucial ally in the War on Terror and an anchor of stability in a volatile region.

Are the allegations against Zenawi accurate? And, if so, is he a man who should be shaping American policy on the Horn of Africa? Zoe Alsop and Nick Wadhams spent a month in Ethiopia interviewing people across some of the country's least-visited regions, capturing the strains of a people under siege — by their own government.

Anthony Mitchell

Nicholas Wadhams and Zoe Alsop, for the Pulitzer Center

The Associated Press has confirmed that Anthony Mitchell, one of its Nairobi correspondents, died in Saturday morning's crash of Kenya Airways flight KQ507 in Cameroon.

Ethiopia Battles Suspected Islamic Extremists

Ethiopia wages war with suspected Islamic extremists in Somalia and within its volatile east. And it has secretly cracked down on other groups it deems terrorist, including one in western Ethiopia. The situation is raising serious human rights concerns, and tough questions for its ally, the United States.

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Ethiopia Turns Its Critics into Untouchables

ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA -- Dressed in a black Adidas track suit and seated amid a comfortable clutter of term papers and political science tomes in his modest office at Addis Ababa University, Prof. Merera Gudina hardly looks like a menace. But, ever since he was elected to parliament two years ago, people have been avoiding him.

There was, for example, the time that local mechanics were too terrified to repair his car when it broke down on the way back from his mother's funeral east of Addis.

Inside Ethiopia

Ethiopia's impoverished Somali region still bears evidence of the 1970s war between Somalia and Ethiopia. From Jijiga — the region's capital and closest major city to the Somali border — to Gode — a badlands town that houses numerous U.N. agencies and NGOs — the region has struggled from the ravages of flood and drought.

Round One: Winning Essays

In March 2008, The Pulitzer Center partnered with Helium to launch its first round of the Global Issues/Citizen Voices Contest. Find the winning essays here.