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Al-Shabaab Takes 'Last Gasps' in Ethiopia
BY JACEY FORTIN
Addis Ababa — The explosion went off at 2:40 on a Sunday afternoon, on a tree-lined side street in Ethiopia's capital city of Addis Ababa. The area was a quiet one - home to foreign diplomats, domestic civil servants and several embassies - and the blast was strong enough to kill two men, startle the neighbours, and demolish a small home.
But if the government's current theory is correct, the carnage could have been much worse.
Sunday, Oct. 13, was the day of a big football match - a rare shot at the World Cup playoffs for Ethiopia, which ultimately lost against Nigeria in Addis Ababa. Given the debris found at the site of the explosion, including suicide belts and an Ethiopian team jersey, investigators think the men may have been planning to detonate near the football stadium in central Addis, where thousands of fans and security workers had gathered.
But something went wrong, and the two suspects - Somali nationals, according to the government - never made it out of the house before their explosives went off.
Al-Shabaab, a militant group based in Somalia, claimed responsibility for the attack on its Twitter account, but its details were off. "We Claim Responsibility for Today's Bomb Blast in #AddisAbaba, #Ethiopia, that Left Nearly 10 Kuffar [disbelievers] Dead," said the Monday tweet, which greatly exaggerated the number of casualties and was not posted until the day after the actual explosion.
"It is a plausible assumption that Al-Shabaab may be connected to the crime," Kjetil Tronvoll, an Ethiopia expert and senior partner at the International Law and Policy Institute, told IPS, noting that Al-Shabaab has repeatedly denounced Ethiopia and threatened to carry out attacks.
"Ethiopia has a standing high-alert security vis-a-vis Somalia," he added. "[The recent explosion] gives justification to such alertness."
The Ethiopian government is adamant about clamping down on extremism in all its forms, said Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn at a press conference this month. "Extremism often degenerates into terrorism, so we have to fight extremism as much as we can, and that has no compromise at all." This approach has garnered criticism from some Ethiopian Muslims - including ethnic Somalis - who claim their communities are unfairly targeted.
"The terrorist incident, if connected to Al-Shabaab, may sadly contribute to a possible stigmatisation of the Somali population at large in Ethiopia," said Tronvoll.
The Ethiopian government said it would not change its approach to national security on its own soil, and would focus instead on its borders, since the two suspects in the Sunday explosion arrived illegally.
"We will not make any changes to domestic security - that situation is already intact," government spokesman Redwan Hussein told IPS. "We will only make sure we are more secure when it comes to people getting into the country in the first place."
In Somalia, Al-Shabaab has positioned itself as a bulwark against Ethiopian and Western influence ever since its inception as the military wing of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU), an Islamist governing body that rose to power in Somalia in early 2006. In its early days, it garnered some public support as a counterweight to the Ethiopian troops that effectively ousted the ICU from Mogadishu in late 2006 with backing from the United States.
Over the next few years, Al-Shabaab set up a governing system based on Shariah, or Islamic law. Its territory expanded across most of southern Somalia and the group forged closer bonds with Al-Qaeda, formally linking with it in 2012. But that process wrought some discord between those Al-Shabaab leaders who envisioned a global Islamist movement and those who sought to focus on domestic issues first and foremost.
The cracks began to show after 2011, when Ethiopian and Kenyan troops moved in to bolster troops from the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). At the same time, Al-Shabaab's refusal of humanitarian aid during a devastating famine was already eroding its public support. In the two years since, Al-Shabaab has been pushed out of its former strongholds in the capital city of Mogadishu and the port city of Kismayo, and vicious leadership scuffles have become a threat to cohesion. More and more, the organisation has struggled to conscript voluntary fighters, relying instead on forced recruitment.
Some analysts see the attacks Al-Shabaab has taken credit for - including the Addis Ababa bomb this week and the massacre that killed 67 at a Nairobi mall last month - as last gasps rather than shows of power. The organisation remains a very real threat, but it no longer enjoys the level of support it once did.
"There might be some fringe elements here and there on both sides, who could use [the Addis Ababa attack] to air some grievances," Alula Alex Iyasu, an Ethiopia-based analyst at the Institute for Peace and Security Studies, told IPS.
"But Muslims and Christians have been living side-by-side in Ethiopia, and in Somalia the vast majority despise Al-Shabaab and affiliated groups. So I'd imagine they'd condemn the Addis bomb wholeheartedly just as if it had happened on their own soil."
Somalia has lately been making strides in its effort to end two decades of failed statehood. A new constitution and federal government were established last year, with President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud at the helm.
The international community has pledged billions of dollars to rebuild the war-torn country, and the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called this week for AMISOM to bolster its troops in Somalia, already numbering about 18,000, with another 4,400.
As Somalia struggles toward order, peace reigns around the explosion site on Rwanda Street in Addis Ababa's Bole neighbourhood, where a high concentration of ethnic Somalis live side-by-side with Ethiopians, and where children of both ethnicities used to play together in the very compound where the perpetrators of Sunday's bomb lived and died.
In the days following the blast, police tape was stretched across the gate and a few federal policemen guarded the site. But other than that, life along the leafy street was progressing largely as normal, with ethnic Somali and Ethiopian residents mingling at small shops and stopping to chat on street corners.
If the perpetrators hoped to stir up divisions between Somalis and Ethiopians, as Al-Shabaab once did to rally support for its cause, it would appear they missed the mark -- and lost their lives into the process. The Ethiopian national security apparatus, meanwhile, has gained one more reason to keep up its controversial tactics.
"Ethiopia takes these kinds of threats seriously," said Iyasu. "Somalia has been in this precarious situation for the past 20 years, so in a way this is nothing new for the Ethiopian government."
Yea, thanks to the great armed forces and security agents of Ethiopia with the great leadership of our govt, we can rest assured that alshebab with its financier shabia is on their last grasp of air. They won’t have any chance of harming our people like they did in Kenya and Somalia.
“Extremism often degenerates into terrorism, so we have to fight extremism as much as we can, and that has no compromise at all.”
Anyone who refused the new world system will be considered as a “Terrorist". Terrorism is the most sophisticated conspiracy theory. It has been designed to destroy the existing world system and establish a new world system with a new rule of law. Since the September 11 attack, the ideology of the terrorism has been changed dramatically. September 11, 2001 the day that changes the world.
The existing world system will be considered as an “Extremist.” Due to the fact that “Extremisim degenerates into Terrorism” and to avoid terrorism, extremisim has to be destroyed in every society, every nation and every religion. Behind all the terrorist acts there is always a well organized super elite organizations with the power, the money, the technology and information with the intent of manipulating the world system.
The most deadly terrorist organization is the “Media” that plays the key part spreading the terrism news all around the world to brainstorm and create fears, terror, shock and chaos. Out of this chaos a new world system will emerge. That is where we all heading. Period!!!!
The Ethiopian people are feverishly working to extricate their country from the grips of poverty and can not afford to accomodate extremists whether they emanate from Alkaida, Alshabab, Shabia, Genbot7 and all other vermins who have no constructive political motives but are engaged in activities to kill indiscriminately and destroy properties of innocent people.
Ethiopia is prospering and shall continue to prosper free of terrorists!
Al Shabab resorting to these kind of attacks are a sign of desperation as the writer put it. Militarily they have been defeated in Somalia. They are running out of funds, have no public support, are fighting amongst themselves, defecting by the day and are close to being wiped out.
The Nairobi attacks were just used to gain global appeal and promotion so they may show their main backers, mostly rich Arab oil tycoons who are abandoning them in favor of Boko Haram in Nigeria that they are still alive and worth funding. Also to trick more young delusional idiots in the west to leave their lives behind to become suicide bombers.
But as a fighting force, if your army is hated by its own people, you’re finished. Mussolini’s Italian army couldn’t breathe in Ethiopia because the entire population was commited to sending the fascist forces home in body bags. And Al Shabab after bombing it’s own people, killing them by worsening an already bad starvation and bringing in a cruel medievel justice system with beheadings and amputations are completely hated by Somalis everywhere.
Jacey Fortin ,last Sunday there has never been any Terrorist Attack in Ethiopia .But an evil Tragic Comedy masterminded by the Agazi Bandits themselveses to put pressure on the United States ,by obtaining international recognation and avoid economic sanctions for the crimes they are comitting against their own peoples .
indeed. just like other terrorists before them alshabab did take its last gasp.
teddy, the predictable, attention hungry, and of course a girlish vulgar cadre, this concept is centuries old concept, come up with something new idea. for your simple brain every thing is conspiracy by the ‘woyanes’. without knowing it you have given your enemies a super natural power. again this is too complicated for you to understand, I am writing this for you just to make you happy by commenting on your rubbish comment, it is good for your fragile ego. you like it when people respond to you.that makes you feel important.
Thanks to ethiopian army for breaking Shabian back.
We have many somali nationals working with EPRDF . Somalis are our main allies against timkihitegnoch.Tigray wa Somali wallalo wallalo
It is just a weyane drama .may be they are low in cash.
School textbooks teach that it is okay to kill Christians
“In a report by the Middle East Media Research discriminatory books are widespread in all public primary schools. By law, Christians are forced to study these texts.
Islamabad – The text-books of Pakistani schools pose the killing of Christians as “goal to be sought” that would help the same members of the minority to seek martyrdom for the faith. This is shown by a report published in late September by the Middle East Media Research ( MEMRI ) .
According to research, the texts are common in most public primary schools and even Pakistani Christians and members of other minorities are forced to read and study them. The authors of the books led by the religious leaders have changed the meaning of the term “minority”, which is now perceived with negative meaning.
The problem of education in Pakistan emerged strongly in 2011, the year that the government dedicated to the promotion of this issue. In one year, several studies were published which showed that thousands of non-Muslim students are “forced” to study Islam and elements of the Muslim religion, for fear of discrimination. In 2012 the Catholic Church National Commission for Justice and Peace published a report denouncing the law passed by the Punjab Parliament that makes study of the Koran mandatory.
In an interview published by AsiaNews in 2011, Msgr . Lawrence John Saldanha , archbishop emeritus of Lahore ( Punjab ) , said that Pakistan has become a state for “only Muslims.” Non-Muslims do not enjoy equal rights.
I would like to know what would Muslims reaction be, if every Non-Islamic state start preaching that all Muslims are terrorists and it is a Holy Act to kill Muslims?”
The evidence for who caused the blast and why is not conclusive. Government sources are contradicting each other. Such fluid situations are always useful for ruling party to not be criticized for its abysmal human rights record and for deep corruption and money-laundering. Also for milking donors of billions. The funny thing is that both the gov and its cadres won’t allow any one to question the truthfulness of the report or let independent media to investigate.
Let me start by saying THANK you to Nazret.com for giving your readers a chance to comment on your stories. People who claim they are fighting for freedom should have the decency to practice what they preach. The editor of ethiopianreview.com is a case in point. Elias routinely writes garbage on his website and he doesn’t allow readers to comment on what he writes because he knows he is lying. Just to mention one case, among many, not too long ago he claimed that the somalis who were recently killed in Addis while allegedly making bombs was simply a dram stages by the regime. He backs up his claim by sourcing his “undercover investigative team” in Addis. That is very interesting because Al Shabab has claimed on its tweeter that it was responsible for that incident. This was reported by many respected news outlets. I guess either Elias is a moron or he thinks his readers (mostly Shabia sympathizers) are morons. I tend to believe both.
Ethiopia for long time defance the land of africa do you remember whan Italy come to Ethiopia that over 100 year’s ago Ethiopia kills all Italians now in 2013 Somalia ….I finally found the Somali people not to hard to be cleaned out from land
Kill all Al-shabaab not Somalia people
The Somali people working with the Ethiopian government. So don’t forget about children right and woman right
I Ras makonnen I support African unitd not war in 2013 100% Ethiopia ..
God bless Ethiopia. ..killed only Al.shabaab seed from south to west
May be Somali people need Ethiopia gov
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