How a World Bank Translator Became a Hunted Man | International Consortium of Investigative Journalists
The Ethiopian regime had various reasons for wanting to arrest Agwa, but at that moment, one loomed large: he had recently served as a translator and consultant for an investigation into whether government authorities had used World Bank money to bankroll a campaign of violent evictions targeting Agwa’s Anuak community.
The soft-spoken pastor arranged interviews for the bank’s Inspection Panel, its internal watchdog, with Anuak who told World Bank investigators about beatings, rapes and summary executions by Ethiopian soldiers —placing Ethiopia’s lucrative aid package from the bank into jeopardy. Months later, Agwa translated for a reporter from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists on a newsgathering trip to Ethiopia.
Omot AgwaPastor Omot Agwa worked as a translator for the World Bank before his arrest. Image: Dead Donkeys Fear No Hyenas / WG Films
In February 2015, the Inspection Panel released its report, faulting the bank for failing to properly scrutinize the Ethiopian government’s programs before giving money to the regime. Soon after, Ethiopian government agents began hunting for Agwa, visiting his church, his family and leaving messages on his phone, he told human rights groups.