Ethiopia: A Safe Place For Islamic Terrorists

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July 1, 2010: The Ethiopian government has ordered foreign reporters out of rebel areas. The government believes that the ethnic rebels use these news reports as a source of what is happening in remote areas. These news reports also enable exiled rebel leadership, usually in Western nations, to stay up to date and better run a propaganda campaign against the Ethiopian government.

June 30, 2010: There has been a recent upsurge in rebel activity in Djibouti. In May three Djiboutian soldiers died in an ambush. Who did it? Eritrea is making trouble over the disputed Ras Doumeira region, but an ethnic rebellion may be stirring again. In the 1990s the Front for the Restoration of Unity and Democracy (FRUD, an Afar ethnic group) rebelled, but that was supposed to have been solved in 2000 after France and the government reached an agreement with the FRUD. There have been an increasing number of conflicts between ethnic Somalia and ethnic Afars in Djibouti and some Afars are demanding autonomous region in northern Djibouti. Still, this looks a lot like the kind of trouble Eritrea likes to exploit. The U.S. and France use Djibouti as a base area, and Ethiopia ships many goods in and out of Djibouti's port. As a result of their strategy, Eritrea has become a base area for Islamic radical and pro-Iranian groups.

June 26, 2010: The Ethiopian government issued a statement which said that it had reached a peace agreement with approximately half of the forces aligned with the Ogaden region's primary rebel group the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF). The negotiations were held in Germany with the ONLF faction led by Selahadin Mao. The ONLF, however, issued a statement that denied an new agreement had been reached. The government responded by declaring that the ONLF's rebellion was in its dying stages. The official statement contended that the ONLF has 250 rebel fighters. That seems very low, but the Ethiopian Army has been waging a counter-insurgency operation for over three years, one designed to deny the ONLF support from villages and towns. The government has also made appeals to local leaders to get them to help end the conflict. The Ogaden is a predominantly ethnic Somali region.

June 21, 2010: Ethiopia's National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) confirmed the victory of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and his Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) in the May 23 election. Protests by opposition groups were set aside as lacking evidence. MEDREK, the opposition coalition, announced that it is considering several options. The NEBE said MEDREK won only one seat. MEDREK says this is outrageous. The one seat MEDREK was awarded is in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia.

June 16, 2010: A former regional official in Ethiopia was convicted in court of murder and involvement with an alleged Eritrean-supported terror organization. He received a death sentence.

June 15, 2010: The MEDREK, a group of eight Ethiopian opposition parties, filed a court case against the national election board. MEDREK and other opposition groups claim the election was fraudulent. The results are suspicious; the governing Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) claims it won 545 of 547 seats at stake in the election. International observers did submit reports supporting an opposition complaint that the government used state resources to promote its candidates.

June 11, 2010: The UN Security Council issued a statement supporting Qatar's new effort to mediate the border dispute between Eritrea and Djibouti. Qatar has proposed to have an international group demarcate the border, subject to Eritrea's and Djibouti's agreement. Qatar will provide an observation task force to monitor the disputed Ras Doumeira area.

 

 

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