Category: "Terrorism"

Ethiopia Breaks Up Islamist Militant Cell

January 2nd, 2013
Ethiopia Breaks Up Islamist Militant Cell File Photo Islamist Militants in Somalia

Ethiopia Breaks Up Islamist Militant Cell

Reuters
January 02, 2013

VOA News

ADDIS ABABA — Ethiopian police have arrested 15 suspected militants allegedly trained by Islamist rebels in neighbouring Somalia and who were plotting attacks in Ethiopia, the country's intelligence agency said on Wednesday.

The arrests were the latest in a crackdown on what senior officials say is a growing threat from militant Islam in Ethiopia, a Horn of Africa nation predominantly comprised of Orthodox Christians and a large minority of Muslims.

The would-be militants were caught following a 20-day sting operation while they plotted to set up cells in the eastern town of Harar and in Kemise in the northeast, the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) said.

"Members of the group were recruited, trained and armed by Somalia's al Shabaab and their aim was to wage Jihad [holy war] and stage attacks inside the country,'' an NISS statement said, aired by the state-run Ethiopian Television.

Addis Ababa has sent troops to Somalia to help other African countries battling to crush al Shabaab's six-year insurgency.

The suspects, whose nationalities were not disclosed, were said to have crossed into Ethiopia from Somalia and Kenya.

Wednesday's TV report showed police displaying large amounts of arms including rifles and grenades, as well as black flags with Arabic inscriptions. The report said CDs and video tapes of "jihadist messages'' were also seized during the operation.

On Tuesday, an Ethiopian court convicted 10 other militants of preparing strikes on political and economic targets in Ethiopia with the help of Somalia's al Qaeda-allied al Shabaab.

Muslims in Ethiopia staged several mass protests last year against perceived interference in Islamic affairs. Several leaders of a committee that led the protests now face trial.

Ethiopia fought Islamist rebels in Somalia in 2006-2009 and sent troops back in 2011 to fight al Shabaab, opening a third front alongside Kenyan troops and an African Union mission.

The onslaught on rebels in Somalia has gained ground in the past two years. Al Shabaab withdrew from the southern port of Kismayu in September, its last major urban stronghold, heralding its demise as a quasi-conventional military force.

Saudi embassy linked with terrorist funding in Ethiopia

October 29th, 2012
Ethiopia civil service minister Junedin Sado's wife is implicated in the charge

Saudi embassy linked with terrorist funding in Ethiopia

By AMAN SETHI

The Hindu

The wife of a senior Ethiopian politician was on Monday charged with funneling money from the Embassy of Saudi Arabia to Islamist terror groups, at a hearing at the Ethiopian Federal High Court, on Monday.

Habiba Mohammed, wife of former Minister for the Civil Service Junedin Sado, was one of 29 Muslim activists accused of criminal conspiracy to commit unspecified acts of terrorism — charges that could attract the death penalty.

Those arrested were accused of belonging to, or supporting, the “Solution Seekers of the Muslim Community’s Problems”, a group that the prosecution contended is a terrorist organisation. Lawyers for the accused denied the charges.

A predominantly Christian country, Ethiopia has positioned itself as a bulwark in the U.S.-led war on terror in East Africa and has promulgated laws, such as the anti-terrorism proclamation 652 of 2009, which have an unusually broad definition of terrorism.

According to the prosecution, Ms. Habiba allegedly tried to steal 1.5 million Ethiopian Birr (approximately Rs. 45 lakh) from the Islamic Council of Ethiopia. He also allegedly received more than 50,000 ETB from the Saudi Arabian Embassy to fund “illegal activities” amongst Ethiopia’s Muslim population.

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Ethiopia detains 6 Saudis on suspicion of terror financing

July 24th, 2012

Ethiopia detains 6 Saudis on suspicion of terror financing

Ethiopian authorities arrested Sunday six Saudis on suspicion of terror financing. Saudi Gazette said, the six Saudi nationals were distributing charity to Muslims in the Ethiopian capital.

A senior official at the Saudi Embassy in Addis Ababa told Al-Watan Arabic daily over telephone that all six Saudis were detained while distributing donations. A lawyer appointed by the Saudi Embassy is following up with investigations and trying to get the Saudis released, the paper said.

Last Saturday, Ethiopian police clashed with scores of Muslims protesters complaining that the state is interfering in their religion, witnesses and officials said. The protesters, some wearing masks, blocked the entrance of the Anwar Mosque in the west of the capital Addis Ababa and hurled stones at riot police who had surrounded the compound after noon prayers.

Thousands of Muslims have staged sporadic street protests in the capital since late last year, arguing that the government is promoting an alien branch of Islam, the Al Ahbash sect, which is avowedly apolitical and has numerous adherents in the United States.

The government denies promoting Al Ahbash, but is determined to prevent Islamic militancy spilling over from neighbouring Sudan or lawless Somalia.

Eritrea planned massive attack against African Union summit, says UN report

July 28th, 2011

Eritrea planned massive attack against African Union summit, says UN report

28 July 2011 –

The full United Nations report can be downloaded here

The Eritrean Government planned a massive attack on an African Union meeting held earlier this year, according to a new United Nations report that states that this was just one of multiple violations of Security Council arms embargoes committed by the small East African nation.

“If executed as planned, the operation would almost certainly have caused mass civilian casualties, damaged the Ethiopian economy and disrupted the African Union summit,” states the report of the Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea.

The UN panel is tasked with monitoring compliance with embargoes on the delivery of weapons and military equipment to Somalia and Eritrea, as well as probing activities – financial, maritime or in another field – which generate revenue used to violate those embargoes.

The report states that the Eritrean Government “conceived, planned, organized and directed a failed plot to disrupt the African Union summit in Addis Ababa by bombing a variety of civilian and governmental targets.”

It adds that “since the Eritrean intelligence apparatus responsible for the African Union summit plot is also active in Kenya, Somalia, the Sudan and Uganda, the level of threat it poses to these other countries must be re-evaluated.”

The report, which is over 400 pages, also points to Eritrea’s continuing relationship with Al-Shabaab, the Islamist militant group that controls some parts of Somalia’s territory and has been waging a fierce battle against the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) there.

While the Eritrean Government acknowledges that it maintains relationships with Somali armed opposition groups, including Al-Shabaab, it denies that it provides any military, material or financial support and says its links are limited to a political, and even humanitarian, nature.

However, evidence and testimony obtained by the Monitoring Group, including records of financial payments, interviews with eyewitnesses and data relating to maritime and aviation movements, all indicate that Eritrean support for Somali armed opposition groups is not limited to the political or humanitarian dimensions.

The Group says that Eritrea’s continuing relationship with Al-Shabaab appears designed to “legitimize and embolden the group rather than to curb its extremist orientation or encourage its participation in a political process.”

Moreover, Eritrean involvement in Somalia reflects a broader pattern of intelligence and special operations activity, including training, financial and logistical support to armed opposition groups in Djibouti, Ethiopia, the Sudan and possibly Uganda in violation of the Security Council’s embargoes.

Among the concerns the Group expresses regarding Somalia are the TFG’s “lack of vision or cohesion, its endemic corruption and its failure to advance the political process,” all of which are impediments to security and stabilization in southern Somalia.

The “burgeoning” engagement in Somalia of private security companies, whether to deter pirates or to provide security on land, is of growing concern, it adds. The Group believes that at least two such companies have committed significant violations of the arms embargo by engaging in unauthorized training and equipping of Somali militias.

Eritrea behind AU summit attack plot - U.N. report

July 28th, 2011

Eritrea behind AU summit attack plot - U.N. report

By David Clarke

NAIROBI (Reuters)
- Eritrea was behind a plot to attack an African Union summit in Ethiopia in January and is bankrolling al Qaeda-linked Somali rebels through its embassy in Kenya, according to a U.N. report.

A U.N. Monitoring Group report on Somalia and Eritrea said the Red Sea state's intelligence personnel were active in Uganda, South Sudan, Kenya and Somalia, and that the country's actions posed a threat to security and peace in the region.

"Whereas Eritrean support to foreign armed opposition groups has in the past been limited to conventional military operations, the plot to disrupt the African Union summit in Addis Ababa in January 2011, which envisaged mass casualty attacks against civilian targets and the strategic use of explosives to create a climate of fear, represents a qualitative shift in Eritrean tactics," the report obtained by Reuters said.

The plan was to attack the AU headquarters with a car bomb as African leaders took breaks, to blow up Africa's largest market to "kill many people" and attack the area between the Prime Minister's office and the Sheraton Hotel -- where most heads of state stay during AU summits.

The U.N. said while past Eritrean support for rebel groups in both Somalia and Ethiopia had to be seen in the context of an unresolved border dispute with Addis Ababa, the new approach was a threat to the whole of the Horn and east Africa.


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Eritrea planned massive bomb attack on African Union summit, UN says

'Baghdad-style' car bomb attack planned in Addis Ababa, capital of neighbour and foe Ethiopia, which hosted 30 heads of state

Eritrea planned massive bomb attack on African Union summit, UN says

'Baghdad-style' car bomb attack planned in Addis Ababa, capital of neighbour and foe Ethiopia, which hosted 30 heads of state

Bombs were to be placed between the Ethiopian PM's office and a hotel where heads of state were staying in Addis Ababa Photograph: David Levene for the Guardian

Eritrea planned a massive attack on an African Union summit in Ethiopia in January this year that was designed to "make Addis Ababa like Baghdad", according to a new UN report.

At the time, Ethiopia claimed it had foiled the large bomb plot by its tiny neighbour and foe, the latest in a series of accusations and counter-accusations by the two governments. Now an investigation by the UN Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea suggests that the plot was genuine, and says it represented "a qualitative shift in Eritrean tactics" in the Horn of Africa.

According to the report, Eritrean intelligence services planned an operation to detonate a car bomb at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa at the end of January this year, when 30 of the continent's leaders were meeting there. Separate bombs were to be placed between the Ethiopian prime minister's office and the Sheraton Hotel, where most of the heads of state were staying, as well as in a giant open-air market in the hope of "kill[ing] many people".

"If executed as planned, the operation would almost certainly have caused mass civilian casualties, damaged the Ethiopian economy and disrupted the African Union summit," the report said.


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