October 31, 2011

Dr. Mehretu gives insight on American-Ethiopian history

Filed under: Ethiopia — ethiopiantimes @ 6:02 pm
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The U.S. military is flying drone aircraft from a base in Ethiopia to fight against Islamist militants in Somalia. Officials report that the remote-piloted drones are being used strictly for surveillance and are flying unarmed because their use is considered sensitive by Ethiopia’s government, according to BBC News.

Today, Ethiopia is letting the U.S. use its remote civilian base in the southern city of Arba Minch as a way to help fight the war on terror, but the relationship between the two countries dates back over 100 years.

Dr. Assefa Mehretu, an Ethiopian native and professor of geography at Michigan State University, spoke about American-Ethiopian relations at Western Michigan University Wednesday afternoon.

More than 50 people, both students and professors, listened intently as the accomplished Africa scholar talked passionately about the history America and Ethiopia share.

“Americans really identified with Ethiopians back then,” Mehretu said of the two countries’ relationship in past years. “It was a love affair.”

Although just a small country in Africa of about 77 million people, Ethiopia has always had the attitude that it was a country to be taken seriously and respected.

When Ethiopia first won the war over colonial Italy with King Menelik II in charge, the United States noticed. They were impressed and made their first official mission to Ethiopia in 1903.

It was not much later that Italy tried defeating Ethiopia again, but this time Americans got involved. In the 1930s, many Americans were willing to go fight the Italians to defend Ethiopia.

“The U.S. didn’t endorse people going over to fight but Americans would go to Ethiopia as tourists and then actually fight,” Mehretu said.

Many of the first pilots for Ethiopian airlines were Americans.

Haile Sellassie, king of Ethiopia at that time, became an extremely visible character even for Americans. He was named man of the year in TIME magazine for being so progressive.

The relationship between America and Ethiopia truly started in 1945 when Selassie met former President Roosevelt. Selassie wanted to develop his country and needed the U.S. in order to cement their independence from Europe. Roosevelt did not mind helping.

“The relationship between the U.S. and Ethiopia was one of the best examples of partnership,” Mehretu said. “It worked because the U.S. and Ethiopia respected each other and had started off as a people to people relationship.”

Selassie went on to meet and work with former Presidents Truman, Nixon and Kennedy. President Kennedy put a lot of money toward Ethiopian education during his presidency. Ethiopia was also the first and largest beneficiary of the Peace Corps.
Ethiopian airlines DC3 also started with assistance from America.

“Whatever the U.S. touched in those days became successful,” Mehretu said. “Ethiopian airlines were one of them.”

”On the other hand, Selassie established the first agriculture college as well as helped the United States in the Korean War.

The relationship changed when President Carter came into office and supported Somalia over Ethiopia in the 1970s. Ethiopia was then taken over by the soviets.

“That arrested almost all the work that has been done in past years,” Mehretu said.
The light in which Ethiopians view Americans today is a lot different now.

“A whole generation has heard only bad things about the U.S.,” Mehretu said. “You do not hear many good things anymore.”

Mehretu credits this to a generational gap.

“Americans invited us into their homes, took us to school, and were part of our air force,” Mehretu said. “Many young people just didn’t know how it was.”

Though the relationship has changed between the U.S. and Ethiopia, it is still considered good.

“The relationship is just more military now because the U.S. wants an ally in the war,” Mehretu said. “It’s whatever he can do for us, the war comes first.”

The connection the two countries first had has faded more into one based mainly on security.

“The relationship that began pre-1974 doesn’t exist anymore,” Mehretu said.


October 29, 2011

Ethiopia: New sultan to be crowned in Afar

Filed under: Ethiopia — ethiopiantimes @ 11:14 pm
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A ceremony to celebrate a new sultan’s accession to the throne will be held in Afar Region in a week’s time. Hanfareh Ali Mirah will succeed his late father, Sultan Ali Mirah as the spiritual chief of the Afars. The new sultan will be crowned at an outdoor coronation ceremony to be held in Asayta, capital of the Afar region on November 10, 2011.
Both spiritual and traditional leader to the two million Afar people who live in a triangle shape region between Eritrea, Ethiopia and Djibouti, the sultan will assume important responsibilities at both regional and national levels, Aramis Houmed, advisor to the new sultan, told Addis Journal.He said the appointment will make the process of succession smoother and more orderly.While traditional leaders hold few constitutional powers, they continue to exert significant influence, the advisor said.They are seen as custodians of both religion and tradition.

Hanfreh Ali Mirah, aged 60, is a member of the most powerful family group in Afar, and one of the sons of sultan Ali Mirah, the spiritual chief of the Afars and founder of the Afar Liberation Front (ALF). The move follows the death last April of Sultan Ali Mirah. Thousands of members of the Afar community, clan leaders and elders from Ethiopia, Eritrea and Djibouti, representative of the federal government of Ethiopia and Djibouti, and diplomatic corpses in Addis Ababa are expected to participate in the historic rites and wish the new sultan well. Another of heir to the sultanate, Habib Ali Mirah who at times has been at loggerhead with older brother will also be attending the event.
Born in 1951, Mirah along with his father fought in the guerrilla war against Mengistu Haile Mariam and later joined forces with the EPRDF collation, which came to power in 1991. When the new Afar region was set up in 1992, Mirah joined his father as an administrator of the Afar region set up in 1992 and later served as president of the Afar regional State (1995-96). He has been the leader of a faction of the Afar regional Front since 1996. He also served as ambassador of Ethiopia to Kuwait.
The late Sultan Ali Mirah was one of leading players in Ethiopian and regional politics for four decades. Following the installation as the sultan of Awsa by Emperor Haile Selassie in 1944, Ali Mirah Hanfre served as leader of and spokesmen for Afar. With the overthrow of Haile Selassie in late 1974, Ali Mirah soon became a target of the military leaders because of his alliance with the Emperor, his semi-autonomy, and his role as a feudal landowner. On 3 June 1975, the sultan fled to Djibouti and formed the ALF that declared an armed struggle against the Derg. After the Derg’s downfall the ALF supported EPRDF and participated in the 1995 elections for Afar Region’ council but because of internal squabbling, fared woefully winning only 12 of 48 seats. The Alf suffered from an internal dispute between Habib Ali Mirah, who was hostile toward Meles Zenawi and his pro-EPRDF brother Hanfraeh Ali Mirah, who was president of the Afar Region. In April 1995 the sultan suspended his son, Hanfareh Ali Mirah, as ALF chair in response to electoral dissention within the Front.
More than one millions Afar lives in Ethiopia. Theses nomadic peoples are organized into the four Sultanates of Tadjourha (Djibouti), Rahaital (Eritrea and Djibouti), Baylul (Eritrea) and Aussa (Ethiopia). The 14th Sultan of Aussa will be coroneted in the traditional procedure.

October 28, 2011

US flies drones from Ethiopia to fight Somali militants

Filed under: Ethiopia — ethiopiantimes @ 9:23 am
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The US military has begun flying drone aircraft from a base in Ethiopia, as part of its fight against Islamist militants in neighbouring Somalia.

US officials have confirmed to the BBC that the base, in the southern city of Arba Minch, is now operational.

But they stressed that the remotely-piloted drones were being used only for surveillance, and not for air strikes.

It is part of a growing counter-terrorism presence in the region as the US pursues groups with al-Qaeda links.

The US military has reportedly spent millions of dollars upgrading the remote, civilian airport – from which Reaper drones are now being flown.

The remotely-piloted aircraft can be equipped with missiles and satellite guided bombs.

But officials have told the BBC the drones are flying unarmed because their use is considered sensitive by Ethiopia’s government.

Their role is surveillance of the al-Shabab militant group – based in Somalia, and already the focus of drone missions flown from other bases in the region.

October 26, 2011

Swedish Foreign Minister Haunted by War Crimes Allegations

Filed under: Ethiopia,Sweden — ethiopiantimes @ 12:11 pm
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The arrest of two Swedish journalists in Ethiopia has put allegedly unethical, or even criminal activities by oil companies in the spotlight. It has also further complicated an ongoing debate about Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt’s previous involvement in the oil industry in Africa, and whether or not he should be investigated for complicity in crimes against humanity.

On July 1, two Swedish freelance journalists traveling with rebel forces in the restive Ogaden area were arrested during a firefight with Ethiopian government forces. Working on a story for renowned magazine, Filter, 29-year-old photographer Johan Persson and 30-year-old reporter Martin Schibbye were slightly injured and taken into custody. Their troubles, however, had only just begun.

Residents of the Ogaden area, originally part of Somalia, have fought for independence from Ethiopia since the late ’70s. Today, the area is off limits to foreigners, and the Swedes were in the area illegally. The Ethiopian government has accused them of colluding with the rebels and they are currently on trial in the capital, Addis Ababa.

Schibbye and Persson have pleaded guilty to illegal entry into Ethiopia, but deny any involvement in the conflict. Since the Ogaden separatist group ONLF is considered a terrorist organization by the Ethiopian government, the Swedes are now to stand trial for terrorism, and are faced with the prospect of decades in an Ethiopian prison.
Bildt’s oil interests
The events have also added fuel to the debate over Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt’s involvement in oil company Lundin Petroleum. Between 2000 and 2006, Bildt was a member of the Lundin Board of Directors and, during that time, the company may have been involved in crimes against humanity and war crimes, according to a report from ECOS (European Coalition on Oil in Sudan).

Between 1997 and 2003 Lundin Petroleum was active in the area, now recognized as South Sudan but which was then torn apart by civil war between the central government in Khartoum and rebel forces. During this period, the government used similar genocidal tactics to those used in the Darfur area, driving the population away in order to secure oil resources. These they then exploited together with Lundin.

According to the report “Unpaid Debt,” some 12,000 civilians were killed and up to 200,000 displaced by attacks from horseback militia and regular forces. Other atrocities such as rape, pillage, arson, enslavement, torture, and forced underage recruitment also took place.

Lundin and other international oil companies should have been well aware of the situation, but they continued to work with the government and even provided access to a strategic road and bridge that may have helped government forces carry out their attacks against civilians. In this way, they may be complicit in war crimes and crimes against humanity, the report concludes. It also states that the companies involved should be investigated, and that they should contribute to the estimated $300 million in damages to the many victims of these crimes.

Bildt has denied any knowledge of the atrocities, and said in an interview in Veckans Affarer magazine in February 2011, that the ECOS report exaggerated the number of people in the area by a factor of two or three. A Swedish criminal investigation was launched in June 2010 as a result of the ECOS report, but Bildt was not among the people recently called to the first round of questionings.
Clash of interests
Bildt, who is also a former prime minister of Sweden, has had to deal with war crimes in his earlier work as a EU representative and U.N. special representative in the Balkans, making the allegations against him especially embarrassing.

With the case of the two detained journalists, however, a new layer has been added to the affair. The journalists, it turned out, were going to Ogaden to investigate Lundin Petroleum and its subsidiaries’ business there, and could therefore potentially have unearthed information that would be damaging to Bildt.

Bildt has shaken off this potential clash of interest in his typically confident manner, arguing that Lundin itself had no business in Ethiopia during his time with the company and ignoring calls for his resignation among the opposition. But as long as the media spotlight is on the detained reporters and the investigation against Lundin is ongoing, it seems likely that the story will continue to haunt him and the conservative Swedish government.

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Swedish ‘Pioneer of the Year’ Winner Champions Human Rights
The trial against Persson and Schibbye opened on Oct. 18 and was adjourned on Oct. 20. It will resume on Nov. 1, and may take several months. If convicted of terrorism, the Swedes may face up to 40 years in prison. Bildt has said that if they are indeed convicted and sentenced to long prison terms, the Swedish government will ask the Ethiopian government, which receives substantial foreign aid from Sweden, for a pardon.

October 24, 2011

Ethiopa: New Bill Bans Foreigners from Practicing Law

Filed under: Ethiopia — ethiopiantimes @ 9:12 pm
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Source: Addis Fortnue
A new bill that bans foreigners from practicing law and authorises the establishment of legal firms for the first time has been drafted by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ).

This is in response to an argument that had ensued a few months back on whether Ethiopian born foreign nationals could practice law in the country or not.

The Ministry has denied licenses to foreign national lawyers, sighting the proclamation of Federal Courts Advocates Licensing & Registration issued in 2000.

“Right of legal advocacy is not open for everyone,” it states.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) on the other hand, has been arguing that Ethiopian born foreign nationals should be able to practice law under local courts. It based its argument on the proclamation of Foreign Nationals of Ethiopian Origin issued in 2002, that grants the Diaspora with the right to exercise rights in their country of origin.

However, lack of provisions that neither specifically prohibit nor deny this issue in both proclamations had opened the door for interpretation.

The bill drafted by the MoJ, scheduled for discussion with legal experts on Saturday, October 22, 2011, puts an end to that.

The bill, titled Advocacy Licence & Administration Proclamation, specifically requires an advocate to be an Ethiopian national. If approved by the Parliament, the bill repeals the Federal Courts Advocates Licensing & Registration, the source of the debate.

Mulugeta Aregawi, who teaches Constitution and Media Law at the Addis Abeba University, was one of the debaters on the issue. He become an American citizen by naturalization but has been a licensed lawyer in the United States(US) since before his nationality change. He had applied for a licence in Ethiopia and was denied.

In a commentary published in Fortune on May, 2011, he had cited the proclamation of Foreign Nationals of Ethiopian Origin, which only restricts participation in legislative body, judgeship, working in national defence, security and foreign affairs to Ethiopians. This would mean that all other professions are open to all, citizen or not.

“I am both disappointed and glad,” Mulugeta, who can no longer raise his issue if the bill is passed, told Fortune. “I am happy that they recognized the proclamation in effect has holes and is open for interpretation on the matter.”

The bill also denies licensing for government employees and those who have permanent jobs in public companies or work privately with the exception of those who teach in higher institutions.

Those who have worked as judges, public prosecutors or investigating police officers can apply for a license two years after they have left their position, according to the bill. The bill also raises the minimum experience requirement to apply for a licence for the first time from a two year to a five year minimum.

Along with these provisions, the bill allows for the establishment of law firms for the first time in the form of “Ordinary Partnership” which can only render advocacy services.

However, it prohibits members of a law firm from providing advocacy service individually and become a member of more than one legal firm.

The establishment of the firms will encourage specialization, sustainability and more accountability on lawyers; which explains the reason for the provision.

Professionals in the field agree.

“It will increase the confidence of clients since the firm will take the advocacy contract, not the individual,” a lawyer, who wishes to remain anonymous, told Fortune.

Other provisions in the bill include repercussions on lawyers who fail to renew their license or violate disciplinary provisions with a fine of 1,000 Br to 20,000 Br and imprisonment of six months to two years.

Ethiopia: American scholar says TPLF domination poses threats to Ethiopia

Filed under: Ethiopia,Meles Zenawi — ethiopiantimes @ 3:05 pm
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Washington DC (ESAT News)–Renowned American Professor Theodore Vestal, who has been keenly studying and following Ethiopian affairs since the early 1960s, said that the domination of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) poses a threat to greater Ethiopia. Prof Vestal also indicated that the government may implode if the current conditions get worse and the people say enough is enough.

In an interview with the Ethiopian Satellite Television (ESAT), Vestal, Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Oklahoma State University, underlined that domination and hegemony by a single minority group within the government and other aspects of national life ultimately poses a serious problem.
“If it is the best of all possible worlds, one would hope that there would be a greater Ethiopia with popular participation by people from all parts of the country. But the TPLF followed the regiment, ideas and the philosophy of Marxism in setting up their government,” he explained.

He pointed out that a secret document made public in early 1990s revealed that the TPLF agenda of “winnning” the first and all succeeding elections, widely discredited as stage-managed. The professor noted that such a decision played havoc with democratic ideals and meaningful elections ever since.
Professor Vestal served as an election observer in 1992 where there were incidences of the regime’s agents interfering in the “democratic process” using intimidation and harassment. “They were harassing members of opposition parties, sometimes invading the party headquarters and scaring the people.” He said that he was able to witness how people were distressed and frightened when the police came in and took away files. He said that such a pattern has continued to the present day under various guises and similar tactics.

According to Professor Vestal, it is very difficult to have a level playing field where all the political parties who want to take part in the political process can express dissenting political views and criticize the government without fear of persecution.

Asked to comment on Zenawi’s insistence that he is building a democratic system, Prof. Vestal said that Zenawi has been saying that ever since he came to power. “One wonders if it needs to take so long ago at such a slow pace. But the critics continue to say that he could change things radically by opening up elections, democratic processes, and by not abusing human rights. Instead we have reports of hidden prisons, the arrest and sometimes torture and detention of people. That should not have any part in a democratic political system. Until such practices come to an end, I don’t see true democracy coming to fruition in Ethiopia,” he said.

Professor Vetal also pointed out that ethnic federalism tends to divide the people rather than uniting them as a multi-ethnic nation. He also expressed skepticism that TPLF’s domination cannot be reversed through elections so long as the elections continue to be rigged.

“When differences of language and culture becomes more significant than citizenship in a country, I think there are built-in problems that might result. We have seen some of these problems in some other countries when ethnic differences have been taken to an extreme with disastrous results,” he stated.
Prof. Vestal further pointed out that though the Ethiopian state has been held together, ethnic federalism has not accomplished as much as the government’s claims. “Ultimately the problem lies with the control of the TPLF group, which tends to have its cadres out working in the offices of the lower government officials. Let us say that there is a governor in a province, he probably has a TPLF shadow who is following what he does and telling the governor that he cannot make that kind of decision,” he said. He also added that federalism in Ethiopia is not under the control of the people but the TPLF.
The professor, who has been promoting his new book, The Lion of Judah in the New World, noted that Emperor Haile Selassie, who was deposed in the 1974 Ethiopian revolution, was progressive in his early years despite the fact that his modernization was not as fast as the educated elite were demanding. “He was maintaining a delicate balance between the feudal lords, the old aristocracy, and the Ethiopian church on the one hand and the young Western educated elite on the other hand,” he said.

Eritreans turned down for asylum after Ethiopia claims refugees as their own

Filed under: Eritrea,Ethiopia — ethiopiantimes @ 8:27 am
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Haaretz has obtained information which shows that the Ethiopian consulate’s documents are routinely issued in almost every case in which the documentation is sought by the Israeli Interior Ministry.Read More>>>

October 22, 2011

Ethiopia: Netizens Shine Spotlight on Trial of Swedish Journalist

The trial of two Swedish journalists accused of terrorism in Ethiopia after being detained during a battle between government troops and rebels started on Tuesday 18 October, 2011. The story has become a hot topic of discussion in both traditional media and online communities worldwide.

According to the ‘Free the Swedish Journalists Johan Persson & Martin Schibbye’ Facebook page:

The two Swedish journalists Johan Persson and Martin Schibbye were arrested by Ethiopian forces on July 1, 2011 when entering the Ogaden region in Ethiopia as embedded journalists with the ONLF guerrilla. This region is closed for journalists and aid organizations, but Johan and Martin wanted access in order to interview the local population about alleged violation of human rights in the area on a… daily basis. Travelling with the guerrilla was the only way to enter.

In his weekly Amharic feature article titled “Ethiopia – a country that permits public demonstration for animal rights but not for human rights”, Dawit Kebede, managing editor of Awramba Times (one of the few remaining private Amharic weeklies) satirizes the latest interview of Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi with Aftenposten as a buy and sell business, since Awramba Times imported the interview and translated it for Amharic readers like an Ethiopian import of a foreign currency.

The two Swedish journalists who are facing terrorism charges in Ethiopia.
With this claim he showed how journalists from the private press have been methodically barred from meeting or interviewing Prime Minster Meles Zenawi for his entire time in power.

In its weekend editorial, Awramba Times appealed for comparable opportunity with state media journalists regarding access to information of government activities. Along with Prime Minster Meles Zenawi’s interview with Aftenposten, Awramba Times has translated an article written by Caelainn Barr and tried to draw attention to current status of journalists and press freedom in Ethiopia with specific reference to the Johan Persson and Martin Schibbye case.

More than 100 opposition activists, journalists and others have been detained under Ethiopia’s broad anti-terror law that can punish someone up to 20 years in prison for simply publishing statements that could indirectly encourage terrorism. The Columbia Journalism Review has reviewed the coverage of Swedish media:

The Swedish press later revealed that Persson and Schibbye were specifically reporting on potential human rights violations committed by Lundin Petroleum, a Swedish-owned energy company with natural-gas operations in Ogaden

BAOBAB has highlighted the status of press freedom in Ethiopia by epitomizing the case of Eskinder Nega, another prominent Ethiopian journalist who has been imprisoned on similar accusations for his criticism of the government following the Arab uprisings.

But this did not go down well with Ethiopian blogger Daniel Berhane:

Criticizing Press Freedom in Ethiopia is a good thing. Promoting Eskinder Nega is a disgrace on the Economist. Let quote from my recent article: ‘Terrifying the Press signals Defeatism’ reported that Ethiopia does not want the Swedish journalists involved in a sensitive trial and pointed out that Swedish journalists were denied visas to Ethiopia to cover the trial of imprisoned colleagues.

Lawyers representing the Swedish journalists outside the court in Addis Ababa. Photo taken by Endalk.
Mohammed Keita of The Committee to Protect Journalists reported that several members of the Human Rights Committee of the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights raised concerns about Ethiopia’s detention of journalists:

The government’s high-profile imprisonment of Johan Persson and Martin Schibbye, two Swedish journalists arrested in eastern Ethiopia while covering the activities of the separatist Ogaden National Liberation Front, which the government designated as a terrorist group, drew a lot of questions, particularly from committee member Krister Thelin. After being repeatedly pressed about the fate of the journalists and details of the legal procedures following their arrests, a flustered Ambassador Fisseha Yimer Aboye, head of the Ethiopian delegation, told the committee that no further information would be provided. Rodley pressed the delegation to explain the legal procedures surrounding the arrests of two other journalists, Woubshet Taye and Reeyot Alemu, on suspicions of terrorism.

A Facebook page dedicated to raising awareness and funds for legal support has received more than 2,775 likes. Many participants of the page are focusing on their solidarity with Martin Schibbye and Johan Persson as the government attempts influence the trail process.

On a Facebook page created by Swedish European Member of Parliament, Cecilia Wikström, she has voiced concern that:

Cecilia Wikstrom asked yesterday two written questions to the EU Foreign Minister Catherine Ashton on how the EU can ensure that John and Martin’s trial is true, and follows international standards and what it does to protect journalists from being accused of crimes while carrying out their job. We hope that this can be of any help and send our thoughts to John and Martin families.

An online petition has also been created with over 2,741 signatures. Most people on the page demanded the government of Ethiopia to release the journalists quickly. Lotta Westerberg, a supporter of the cause, is more vocal of all. She urged the online community to sign on the page:

Please sign the petition. Part of the story is that the journalists were investigating Lundin Petroleum, charged with being involved with war crimes in Sudan. Mr. Carl Bildt, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, is a former board member

Endalk looked at how the local press in Ethiopia has been covering the issues just before the beginning of the trial:

A week before the commencement of the trial of the two Swedish journalists- Johan Persson and Martin Schibbye- charged with terrorism much of the global press was already reporting the case following Prime Minster Meles Zenawi’s interview with the Norwegian newspaper, Aftenposten. Now, primer’s public allegations against two imprisoned journalists have become a dominant theme on pro-government media of Ethiopia. Interestingly enough, Walta Information Center, a pro-government private news and information service, that had been reporting about the Swedish-Eritrean journalist, Dawit Isaak and its subsequent concern of the Swedish authorities as Dawit remains jailed in the neighboring, Eretria kept shtoom about Johan Persson and Martin Schibbye

The trial of Johan Persson and Martin Schibbye will continue on November 1, 2011.

Eritrea rebels say they killed 12 government troops

Filed under: Eritrea — ethiopiantimes @ 9:33 am

* Afar rebels fighting for autonomy

* Asmara says group members are ‘puppets’ of foreign governments

By Aaron Maasho

NAIROBI, Oct 21 (Reuters) – Two little known Eritrean rebel groups said on Friday they had killed 12 government soldiers in an early morning attack.

The Red Sea Afar Democratic Organisation (RSADO) and the Eritrean National Salvation Front said they carried out the raid on Thursday in Kermed, Adi Metras, Ingra Abo, Adi Tela’a and Meshal Akran, all in southern Eritrea.

“The enemy units were engaged for nearly two hours,” the groups claimed in a statement.

“They suffered both human casualties and material losses that included 12 dead and more than 15 wounded, in addition to various types of military hardware.”

The claims were the first since last year when RSADO said it killed 17 intelligence agents and wounded another 37 in an attack on army barracks.

There was no immediate comment from the Eritrean government but authorities in Asmara often dismiss foreign-based opponents as “puppets” acting under the orders of foreign governments
Eritrea accuses arch-foe Ethiopia of working to destabilise the Red Sea state, while Addis Ababa declared openly in April that it would support Eritrean rebels in a bid to oust President Isaias Afewerki’s administration.

RSADO says its operations are in response to Asmara’s refusal to grant autonomy to the Afar, whose homeland straddles Eritrea, Ethiopia and

October 20, 2011

2 Swedish journalists detained in Ethiopia plead not guilty to charges of terrorism

Filed under: Ethiopia,Meles Zenawi — ethiopiantimes @ 6:46 pm
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ADDIS ABABA — Two Swedish journalists arrested in Ethiopia pleaded not guilty on Thursday to charges of terrorism but admitted to violating immigration laws.

Johan Persson and Martin Schibbye were captured by Ethiopian troops in July during a clash with rebels in the country’s restive eastern region. Journalists are prohibited from traveling freely in the region, also called the Ogaden, which borders Somalia.Read More>>>

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