Suspect Arrested in Electric Cable Theft Attempt in Addis Ababa

ADDIS ABABA – One suspect was arrested in a major electric cable robbery attempt in Addis Ababa, said Ethiopian Electric Utility (EEU) on Sunday.

The attempt occurred on Saturday midnight during which patrolling police officers spotted the suspects, who cut an estimated three kilometres long electric cable, about to load it to two vehicles.

One suspect was caught in action along with a car and the wire while the others managed to escape from scene using the second vehicle, said the EEU ib a statement.

The copper cable was installed from Tsehay Real Estate to Meri Police station to power the city’s light electric rail, said the state-run utility firm.

The act involving two vehicles was “perpetrated by what it seemed organised criminals… with malicious intent,” said Endalk Arage, head of EEU’s Eastern Addis Ababa District legal service office.

Robbery on Electricity infrastructure rarely happens in Addis Ababa although, when it occurred, is usually costly.

A cable theft forced the Addis Ababa light electric train to partially interrupt service in February, 2020. In June the same year, another heist on a 322 kilo volt electric power transmission tower near Bole Lemi Industry Park caused power supply interruption to the industrial complex and surrounding areas for days.

The EEU urged the public to be vigilant in protecting electric infrastructure and cooperate with the police to prevent such incidents from happening.

“Electrical infrastructure are there to provide services to the general public… The public need to protect them and cooperate with security to bring culprits to justice,” said the EEU.

A person who causes damage to any generation transmission or distribution facility shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment of upto 15 years or with a fine of up to Birr 50,001 or with both, as per the 810/2013 Energy Proclamation.