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Eritrea

Isaias Afwerki visit Ethiopia a country he fought for over 3 decades and seceded 1991


The Eritrean Dictator Isaias Afwerki, along with his delegation arrived in Addis Ababa in the morning for a three-day State visit. Thousands of people, many waving Eritrean flags, lined the streets of the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, to mark his visit. His visit comes just five days after Prime Minister Abiy visited Asmara.

From 1961 until 1991, Eritrea had fought a long war of independence against Ethiopia. For 1998-200 war,  according to a ruling by an international commission in The Hague, Eritrea broke international law and triggered the war by invading Ethiopia. The fighting also spread to Somalia as both governments tried to outflank one another. Eritrea Supported Ethiopian oppositions while Ethiopia supported anti-Eritrea movements.

 

Ethiopia accuses Eritrea of destabilizing security, but Eritrea Rejects !

Ethiopia has accused neighboring Eritrea of attempting to compromise its security by supporting “destructive” groups.

According to reports Ethiopia’s state television, Eritrea is supporting groups smuggling weapons across the border. Ethiopia is currently under a state of emergency as the country works to replace prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn who announced his resignation last month.

Eritrea’s government rejected allegations by neighboring Ethiopia that it’s trying to destabilize the country after Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn resigned last month.

“This false allegation doesn’t merit a serious response,” Eritrean Information Minister Yemane Gebremeskel said Monday in an emailed response to questions. “The regime is desperately trying to deflect attention from its intractable domestic crisis — of its own making — and find external scapegoats.”

Eritrea to Ethiopia: Deal with your security crisis, stop chasing scapegoats

Relations between Ethiopia and Eritrea are constantly strained, largely due to a difficult history between the two countries which has included two wars over independence and border disputes. It’s not unusual for Ethiopia to accuse Eritrea of compromising its security interests but this is the first case since the country’s latest state of emergency.

“This false allegation doesn’t merit a serious response,”  Eritrean Information Minister Yemane Gebremeskel said Monday in an emailed response to questions. “The regime is desperately trying to deflect attention from its intractable domestic crisis — of its own making — and find external scapegoats.”

The state-owned Ethiopian Broadcasting Corp. on March 17 quoted the country’s police chief as saying Eritrea has “tried to destabilize the peace and security of our country by organizing and sending anti-peace forces to Ethiopia.” The interference has taken place since before and after a state of emergency was declared in the Horn of Africa nation, it said.

Tensions along the border have raised concerns over security in the Horn of Africa. The EU said it was “deeply concerned” about the ongoing dispute over territory between the two nations.

“The EU remains deeply concerned that the present stalemate continues to put regional stability at risk, with potentially negative implications on international peace and security as well as international trade, and hampers regional cooperation and development,” EU chief Federica Mogherini said in a statement in April 2017.

Ethiopia must deal with its home generated security crisis

Ethiopia’s Security Crisis Self-inflicted  Herman Cohen

However, Ethiopia’s biggest problems right now are internal as the country holds its second state of emergency within a year and discontent among opposition groups increases. According to Ethiopian opposition politician Bekele Gerba, irreversible changes are taking place in the country.

“There is a huge change in this country, especially the region we live in, the Oromia state,” he said earlier this month. “We feel that some kind of air of freedom is here, but this is regarded by the federal government as a threat.”

Eritrean capital shocked by protest calling the end of the authoritarian regime!

Eritrea protest aftermath: military makes arrests, internet cut reported

Eritrean authorities shot and killed over 30 young protesters, wounded and jailed hundreds at the student manifestation against for transferring all schools to become community schools administered and financed by the public. Some of the protestors were chased, all the way to Akria the neighborhood of the school where many of the students were from.

Eritrea is known the North Korea of Africa.Eritrea is at war with all its neighbors. With Ethiopia from where the country breaks away in 1991, still in limbo no war no peace situation after 30 years of conflict. The great majority of Eritreans are living in exile.

The violence centered on the predominantly-Muslim neighborhood of Akriya, where the Diaa Islamic School of Asmara of students is located.

The protests provoked by the arrest of the school chairman, 90-year-old Hajj Musa Mohammed Nur who spoke against the educational transformation in a rally.

The mosque where the protest initially boiled over made it clear that our issues are issues of freedom and liberty and not confined to religion or one religious group.

Eritrean dictators in the 11 hours of the authoritarian rule sanctioned by the UN  and an explosive situation with Ethiopia.

Prof. Muse

Zenawi’s nightmare scenario :”Africa’s $700 Billion Problem Waiting to Happen in the Red Sea coasts of Africa”

Africa’s $700 Billion Problem Waiting to Happen

Back in 2002, Meles Zenawi, then prime minister of Ethiopia, drafted a foreign policy and national security white paper for his country. Before finalizing it, he confided to me a “nightmare scenario” — not included in the published version — that could upend the balance of power in the Horn of Africa region.

The scenario went like this: Sudan is partitioned into a volatile south and an embittered north. The south becomes a sinkhole of instability, while the north is drawn into the Arab orbit. Meanwhile, Egypt awakens from its decades-long torpor on African issues and resumes its historical stance of attempting to undermine Ethiopia, with which it has a long-standing dispute over control of the Nile River. It does so by trying to bring Eritrea and Somalia into its sphere of influence, thereby isolating the government in Addis Ababa from its direct neighbors. Finally, Saudi Arabia begins directing its vast financial resources to support Ethiopia’s rivals and sponsor Wahhabi groups that challenge the traditionally dominant Sufis in the region, generating conflict and breeding militancy within the Muslim communities.

Fourteen years later, reality has exceeded Zenawi’s nightmare scenario; not only has every one of his fears come to pass, but Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Saudi King Salman bin Saud are working hand-in-glove on regional security issues — notably in Yemen and Libya — which has raised the stakes of the long-running Egypt-Ethiopia rivalry. If the worsening tensions in the Horn of Africa erupt into military conflict, as seems increasingly possible, it wouldn’t just be a disaster for the region — it could also be a catastrophe for the global economy. Almost all of the maritime trade between Europe and Asia, about $700 billion each year, passes through the Bab al-Mandab, the narrow straits on the southern entrance to the Red Sea, en route to the Suez Canal. An endless procession of cargo ships and oil tankers passes within sight — and artillery range — of both the Yemeni and African shores of the straits.

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Zenawi’s nightmare scenario, in other words, may soon become the world’s — and no one has a white paper to prepare for it

Zenawi’s nightmare scenario, in other words, may soon become the world’s — and no one has a white paper to prepare for it.A crisis in the Horn of Africa has been a long time in the making. The regional rivalries of today date back to 1869, when the Suez Canal was opened to shipping, instantly making the Red Sea one of the British Empire’s most important strategic arteries, since almost all of its trade with India passed that way. Then as now, the security of Egypt depended on control of the Nile headwaters, 80 percent of which originate in Ethiopia. Fearful that Ethiopia would dam the river and stop the flow, Egypt and its colonial masters attempted to keep Ethiopia weak and encircled. They did this in part by divvying up rights to the Nile’s waters without consulting Addis Ababa. For example, the British-drafted Nile Waters Agreements, signed in 1929 and 1959, excluded Ethiopia from any share of the waters. As a result, Egypt and Ethiopia became regional rivals, intensely suspicious of each other.

The Nile remains a high-profile source of tension between the two countries to this day; Sisi’s state visit last year to Ethiopia failed to achieve much, in large part because of Egypt’s unease over a huge Ethiopian hydroelectric project on the Blue Nile. But another important source of friction between the two countries has centered for some time on two of Ethiopia’s volatile neighbors — Eritrea and Somalia — which Cairo has long viewed as useful partners to secure its interests along the Red Sea littoral. Ethiopia has shown it will resist what it views as Egyptian encroachment near its borders. From 2001 to 2004, for instance, Ethiopia and Egypt backed rival factions in Somalia, which prolonged that country’s destructive civil war.

These fractures in the Horn of Africa have been deepened by Saudi Arabia’s reassessment of its security strategy. Worried that the United States was withdrawing from its role as security guarantor for the wider region, it resolved to build up its armed forces and project its power into strategic hinterlands and sea lanes to the north and south. In practice, that has meant winning over less powerful countries along the African coast of the Red Sea — Sudan, Eritrea, Djibouti, and Somalia — a region that Ethiopia has sought to place within its sphere of influence.

The Saudi presence along the African Red Sea coast has grown more sharply pronounced since its March 2015 military intervention in Yemen, which drew in Egypt as part of a coalition of Sunni Arab states battling Iran-backed Houthi rebels. The coalition obtained combat units from Sudan and Eritrea, and scrambled to secure the entire African shore of the Red Sea. Then in January of this year — under pressure from Saudi Arabia — Djibouti, Somalia, and Sudan all cut diplomatic ties with Iran. By far the most significant of these was Sudan, which has had long-standing political and military ties with Tehran. For years, Iranian warships called at Port Sudan, and Iranian clandestine supplies to the Palestinian militant group Hamas passed freely along Sudan’s Red Sea coast (occasionally intercepted by Israeli jet fighters). Now Sudan is part of the Saudi-led coalition pummeling the Iran-backed Houthis.

But the most important geopolitical outcome of the Saudi-led Yemen intervention has been the rehabilitation of Eritrea, which capitalized on the war to escape severe political and economic isolation. After it gained independence from Ethiopia in 1993, Eritrea fought wars with each of its three land neighbors — Djibouti, Sudan, and Ethiopia. It also fought a brief war with Yemen over the disputed Hanish Islands in the Red Sea in 1995, after which it declined to reestablish diplomatic relations with Sana’a and instead backed the Houthi rebels against the government.

After the Ethio-Eritrean border war of 1998-2000, Eritrea became a garrison state — with an army of 320,000, it has one the highest soldier-to-population ratios in the world — and Ethiopia led an international campaign to isolate it at the African Union, United Nations, and other international bodies. This was made easier by Eritrea’s increasingly rogue behavior, including backing al-Shabab militants in Somalia. The imposition of U.N. sanctions in 2009 brought the country to the brink of financial collapse.

But the war in Yemen gave Eritrean President Isaias Afewerki a get-out-of-jail-free card. He switched sides in the Yemen conflict and allied himself with Saudi Arabia and its Gulf partners. As a result, the Eritrean president is now publicly praised by the Yemeni government and welcomed in Arab capitals. His government is also reaping handsome if secret financial rewards in exchange for its diplomatic about-face.

But the fact that Eritrea has decisively escaped Ethiopia’s trap does not mean it has suddenly become a more viable dictatorship. On the contrary, the renewed geostrategic interest in the country and its 750-mile Red Sea coast make the question of who succeeds Afewerki, who has been in power for a quarter century, all the more contentious — especially since Ethiopia has long sought to hand pick a replacement for the Eritrean president. Already, Ethiopia mounts regular small military sorties on the countries’ common border to let Eritrea know who is the regional powerbroker. It would not take much for these tensions to explode into open war.

Saudi Arabia’s revamped security strategy has also meant a sudden influx of Arab funds into Somalia. The Saudis promised $50 million to Mogadishu in exchange for closing the Iranian embassy, for example, while other Arab countries and Turkey have spent lavishly to court the allegiance of Somali politicians. This is partly intra-Sunni competition — Turkish- and Qatar-backed candidates pitted against those funded by the Wahhabi alliance — but it also reflects Somalia’s increasing geopolitical importance. In the country’s national elections scheduled for September, Arab- and Wahhabi-affiliated candidates for parliament could very well sweep the board.

All of this has made Ethiopia very nervous — as it should. The tremors of the region’s shifting tectonic plates may not directly cause a major crisis. The more probable outcome is deeper divisions between Egypt and Ethiopia, which could cause a proliferation or deepening of proxy disputes elsewhere in the region, such as the two countries’ competing efforts to shape the future leadership of Eritrea and Somalia.

Still, it’s impossible to rule out the possibility of a dramatic security crisis stemming from the shifting regional balance of power. It could come in the form of renewed fighting over Eritrea’s still-disputed land borders, or spinoffs from the war in Yemen, such as the eruption of maritime terrorism. That would lead to a dramatic escalation of the militarization of the region. It would also threaten to entirely close the region’s sea lanes — the ones that are so central to global commerce.

Unfortunately, the international community is sorely unprepared for such an outcome. A well-established, multi-country naval coalition patrols the sea lanes off Somalia’s coast to combat piracy, but no international political mechanism currently exists to diffuse a regional crisis. In the relevant bureaucracies that might be called upon in an emergency — from the United Nations to the U.S. State Department — Africa and the Middle East are handled by separate divisions that tend not to coordinate. The EU’s special envoy for the Horn of Africa, Alex Rondos, has taken the lead in developing an integrated strategy for both shores of the Red Sea, but the EU’s foreign policy instruments are ill-suited to hard security challenges such as this that span two continents.

For its part, the African Union has developed a sophisticated set of conflict management practices for its region. It has taken a hard line against coups and pioneered the principle of non-indifference in the internal affairs of member states — foreshadowing the doctrine of “responsibility to protect.” Its summits serve as gatherings where peer pressure is used for the informal management of conflicts, with more success than is usually recognized. The Gulf Cooperation Council, the regional alliance of Gulf monarchies that would inevitably be involved in a major regional dispute of this kind, should learn from these African best practices. That would require a dramatic change in the mind-set of Arab royal families, which assume that their relationship with Africans is one of patron and client. Too often, the Africans reinforce that mind-set by acting as supplicants. For example, when the African Union sent a delegation to the Gulf countries in November, the agenda wasn’t strategic dialogue or partnership — it was fundraising.

But to prevent Zenawi’s “nightmare scenario” from coming to fruition, the Africans and the Arabs need to recognize the Red Sea as a shared strategic space that demands their coordination. A sensible place to start would be by convening a Red Sea forum composed of the GCC and the AU — plus other interested parties such as the United Nations, European Union, and Asian trading partners — to open lines of communication, discuss strategic objectives for peace and security and agree on mechanisms for minimizing risk. The fast-emerging Red Sea security challenge is well suited to that most prosaic of diplomatic initiatives — a talking shop.

The problem is, all these actors tend to start talking only after a crisis has already exploded. Here’s a timely warning.

Image credit: SIMON MAINA/AFP/Getty Images

Chatham House Proposal many fear could break Eritrea ?

ChathamHouse10

Original title  “Eritrea and Ethiopia: Beyond the Impasse”

Briefing
Jason Mosley, April 2014

Download paper here

Summary:

  • Opportunities exist for external efforts to foster improved relations between Eritrea and Ethiopia. This will involve questioning some of the underlying assumptions about their conflict and current regional dynamics. A fresh approach should involve engagement with each country individually, rather than immediate attempts to promote dialogue between them.
  • The initial focus should be on promoting the conditions in each country for an eventual confident re-engagement with the other. It is important to avoid a narrow focus on the specifics of the border conflict, and post-conflict boundary demarcation, which has hitherto dominated external engagement.
  • Economic incentives are central to enabling improved relations between the two states. However, the prospective economic benefits of re-opening the border will not be the initial catalyst for improved ties given that economic considerations were insufficient to prevent the war.
  • International engagement on areas of mutual interest, especially on trade and investment, could go some way to fostering a sense in Eritrea of stable economic sovereignty in the face of Ethiopia’s economic and demographic predominance.
  • Waiting for a change of leadership before making significant efforts to engage is untenable. There is no guarantee that subsequent leaders would adopt a significantly different foreign policy.

 

Download (PDF, 396KB)

Eritrea pays warlord to influence Somalia – U.N. experts

Louis Charbonneau

Somali opposition alliance in Asmara , executive council officials
September 25, 2007

Eritrea is undermining stability in conflict-ravaged Somalia by paying political agents and a warlord linked to Islamist militants to influence the Mogadishu government, U.N. sanctions experts said in a confidential report.

The Eritrean government has long denied playing any negative role in Somalia, saying it has no links to Islamist al Shabaab militants fighting to overthrow the Somali government. It says the U.N. sanctions imposed on it in 2009 for supporting al Shabaab were based on lies and has called for the sanctions to be lifted.The latest annual report by the U.N. Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea to the Security Council’s Somalia/Eritrea sanctions committee casts fresh doubt on Asmara’s denials, undermining its case for lifting the sanctions against it.

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“The Monitoring Group has received numerous reports about the warming of relations between Asmara and Mogadishu, and has obtained evidence of Asmara’s control of political agents close to the Somali presidency and some of the individual spoilers,” the group said in the report, seen by Reuters.

One such operative, the monitors said, is “Eritrean agent of influence Abdi Nur Siad ‘Abdi Wal,’ … who is reported to have a close relationship with a senior al Shabaab commander.”

The monitors describe Abdi Wal as a “warlord.”

“Abdi Wal is now a close ally of former ARS-Asmara (a Somali Islamist network in Eritrea) leader Zakaria Mohamed Haji Abdi, for whom he provides security in Mogadishu,” the monitors said. “He is known to command the allegiance of about 100 fighters in Mogadishu and is involved in contract killings.”

The monitors said in their report that they have “obtained direct testimonies and concrete evidence of Eritrean support to Abdi Wal and Mohamed Wali Sheikh Ahmed Nuur.” The Monitoring Group has reported on Ahmed Nuur in the past, describing him as a “political coordinator for al Shabaab” and a recipient of funds from Eritrea.

“A source on the Eritrean payroll in direct contact with Abdi Wal has confirmed that Abdi Wal has admitted in closed-door meetings that he is acting as an agent for the Eritrean government,” the group said in its latest report.

Eritrea’s U.N. mission did not respond to a request for comment.

RUSSIAN AND ITALIAN COMPLAINTS

The latest report said that Ahmed Nuur, also known as Ugas Mohamed Wali Sheikh, has repeatedly held meetings in Khartoum with Mohamed Mantai, Eritrea’s ambassador to Sudan and, since December, Iran.

“During these meetings, options for Eritrean financial support to Ahmed Nuur were discussed,” the report said.

“Mantai, a former military intelligence officer, has a history of operating in Somalia and was expelled from Kenya in 2009 after he returned from Somalia following meetings with al Shabaab agents,” the monitors said.

In addition to their nearly 500-page report on Somalia and Eritrea, the Monitoring Group produced a separate report of around 80 pages focusing solely on Eritrea.

Council diplomats said the longer Somalia/Eritrea report will be made public soon, but the shorter Eritrea report will not be published because of Russian objections.

According to a letter the Russian delegation sent to Ambassador Kim Sook, chairman of the Somalia/Eritrea sanctions committee, Russia “objects to the publication of the (Eritrea) report due to the biased and groundless conclusions and recommendations contained in it.”

Italian Ambassador Cesare Maria Ragaglini also wrote to Kim complaining about the report because of “misleading information and undocumented implications of violations of the arms embargo.” Reuters has obtained both letters.

According to diplomats familiar with the U.N. monitors’ shorter Eritrea report, an Italian helicopter exported to Eritrea for mining survey purposes was seen at a military facility there, raising the possibility of a sanctions breach.

The monitors said Italian authorities failed to provide additional information as requested, the diplomats added.

Ragaglini dismissed that allegation, saying “we did provide the information they requested (e.g. on financial flows), but there is no evidence whatsoever of military assistance from Italy to sustain the undocumented claims of the experts.”

China, diplomats say, is annoyed about references in the Eritrea report to Chinese machine tools procured for a large government depot in Eritrea that houses tanks, missiles and dual-use civilian trucks. But the envoys said there was no suggestion the Chinese government was violating U.N. sanctions.

Eritrean General sells Eritrean refugees to Arabs as medical spare parts

Eritrean B.General Teleke Mengus sells Eritrean refugees to Arabs as medical spare parts
Eritrean B.General Teleke Mengus sells Eritrean refugees to Arabs as medical spare parts. (Watch Videos)
The head of the Eritrean Boarder Surveillance department B. General Tekel Menejus with his colonels control the human trafficking and body part commercialization of Eritrean refugees. In the past the Eritrean soldiers were ordered to shoot escaping Eritrean to the neighboring countries with live rounds, but now they cash them and sell them to Bedouins.
The Main head for such enterprise is Col. Fessum who supposedly heads the Ethiopian opposition movements in in the western areas is the key ally of the Bedouins for such highly lucrative body part market in the Arab world. Every week of thousands of Eritreans are sold to the Bedouin tribes known as Rashid’s dispersed in Eritrea, Sudan, Egypt and Arabian Peninsula. They are known  as nomadic businessman. They sell anything starting from petrol, foodstuff, electronic, car spare parts and arms. This is the  most lucrative  Human trafficking chain in the horn of Africa. The Col. used to travel to Dubai and other bushiness centers to touch his share of the human parts trafficking in Eritrea with different passports having different names.


The Armed Slaves Of Eritrea (strategypage)

July 3, 2012: Ethiopia has emerged as East Africa’s political powerhouse, despite being landlocked. Eritrea controls what used to be Ethiopia’s seaports, before Eritrea became a separate nation in 1991. Since then Ethiopia has relied upon Djibouti and the Somaliland Republic for port access. Last year Ethiopia and Djibouti discussed constructing a new railroad line between the two countries. Recently Ethiopia announced that it had reached a deal with two major construction companies to extend and improve its railroad network. One company is Turkish and the other is Chinese. The project is long term, but by 2020 Ethiopia plans to have an additional 5,000 kilometers of railroad track. The project is designed to improve transportation within Ethiopia but the strategically critical link is a new rail link from northern Ethiopia to Djibouti’s Port Tadjourah.

July 1, 2012: Every so often Ethiopia calls attention to the Eritrean refugees living in refugee camps inside Ethiopia. The refugees are always good for horror stories about food shortages, arbitrary arrests, and corruption in Eritrea. Between 60,000 and 70,000 refugees live in the camps. Others gather in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa. However, last year more and more Eritrean draft dodgers began crossing the border. The complaint is broader than avoiding military conscription; many of the draft dodgers are in fact draftees who have deserted after serving far longer than what they regard as a reasonable tour of duty. According to the conscripts who have deserted, a draftee’s initial service, at least for those lacking political connections, can last for several years. These refugees have told reporters that sometimes draftees serve for a decade, not just in the military but in various government jobs or even businesses owned by the ruling party. Eritrea began mass military conscription in the mid-1990s, as a means of building up its military in the face of what its government called the threat from Ethiopia. The strategic concept was the creation of an armed people. If the far larger and stronger Ethiopia attacked, the Ethiopian Army would ultimately have to fight everyone in Eritrea. At least that was the idea. Initial military training and service lasted 18 months. Sometimes draftees worked on road and military-related construction projects. Now it appears the definition of military-related construction has changed. The continual influx of draftees who have deserted has to have some deleterious effect on Eritrea’s armed forces, but how large an effect is open to speculation. It is clearly an indication of declining morale. One recent report quoted refugees who claimed that some Eritrean Army units (ie, the ones of which they had direct knowledge) had only 25 percent of their assigned personnel. How much a given conscript actually knows about his unit’s authorized level of personnel is a fair question to ask, because he might be assigned to a reserve unit. However, many of the refugees interviewed indicated that units throughout the army are under-strength. Eritrea could carry these under-strength units on its order of battle as full-strength units in order to inflate the size of its army and thereby deter Ethiopia, but that wouldn’t fool Ethiopian military intelligence analysts for very long.

In neighboring Kenya gunmen attacked a church in the town of Garissa. The attackera killed two policemen, stole their rifles, and then killed 15 and wounded 40 inside the church. The policemen had been assigned to guard the church because of rising violence in the region. Attackers also struck a second church in Garissa using grenades. Three people were wounded by grenade fragments. Garissa is not far from the Kenya-Somali border and militant Somali Islamists have been threatening to launch more attacks on Kenyan Christians. The Kenyan government has pointed out that Kenyan Muslims also feel threatened by the Islamist attacks. Several Kenyan tribes have both Muslim and Christian members. The attack on a worshipping congregation is similar to attack launched by the Nigeria militant Islamist organization, Boko Haram. Al Qaeda and the Somalia Islamist group Al Shabaab have claimed that they are organizing militant Islamists throughout Africa.

June 30, 2012: Kenyan authorities are looking for a group of gunmen who kidnapped four aid workers at the Dadaab refugee camp (about 100 kilometers from the Somali border). The Kenya deployed helicopters, search aircraft and ground troops to find and rescue the captives.

June 29, 2012: Gunmen attacked a convoy and seized four foreign aid workers near the Dadaab refugee camp. Their Kenyan driver was killed in the attack.

In the central Somali town of Baladweyne an al Shabaab roadside bomb struck an Ethiopian Army convoy. There were no casualty reports. Ethiopia still occupies Baladweyne.

June 27, 2012: Twenty-three Ethiopians involved in opposition politics were convicted of terrorism. An Ethiopian journalist was also convicted on terrorism charges. They all face life imprisonment now. The defendants argued that they were prisoners of conscience and were not engaged in terrorism but legitimate democratic political action.

June 26, 2012: An Al Shabaab claimed its fighters ambushed a Kenyan Army convoy near the town of Haluqua (inside Kenya, near the Somali border), killing 23 Kenyan soldiers and wounding nine. The claim is unsubstantiated and Kenya did not report an incident. Both Kenya and Al Shabaab, however, acknowledge that there is a fight going on in the Somali town of Badhaadhe. Kenya reported that it killed five Al Shabaab fighters. Three Somalia Transitional National Government (TNG) soldiers were killed in the firefight which occurred when Al Shabaab fighters attacked a Kenyan and TNG base in the town.

The government of South Sudan said that Ethiopian forces had captured a Jonglei tribal spiritual leader who had fled South Sudan. The spiritual leader opposes South Sudan’s tribal disarmament policy in Jonglei state. Ethiopia has indicated that it will send the spiritual leader back to South Sudan. Ethiopian forces also captured some of the leader’s supporters who were accompanying him.

June 23, 2012: Djibouti opened its new Djibouti Naval Operations Center. The U.S. and France helped Djibouti build and equip the center, which will be used to track ship movements in Djiboutian territorial waters, the Red Sea area, and very likely the Gulf of Aden. One of its missions is counter-piracy. The European Union’s EU NAVFOR squadron will also be involved with the center.

An Ethiopian criminal court convicted a UN security guard of communicating with a terrorist group, sentencing him to seven years in jail. The government said that the guard had used his job to gather information for the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), an Ethiopian rebel group.

June 22, 2012: Ethiopia announced that it will keep troops in Somalia until Somalia passes a national constitution and has a military that is able to protect the country. This is a major change from what Ethiopia said it would do earlier this year. At one time Ethiopia indicated that its forces would leave Somalia this fall.

Ethiopia arrested 14 gunmen who were involved in the April murder of 19 people in the Gambella region (western Ethiopia). The group ambushed a passenger bus. The same group of gunmen had been involved in a skirmish with South Sudanese security forces.

Kenyan authorities arrested several men, including two Iranian nationals, who were allegedly planning terrorist attacks in Nairobi and Mombasa. The group is connected to the Somalia’s Al Shabaab. The group had stored chemicals used in making explosives at a golf club near Mombasa.

June 18, 2012: UN officials accused Eritrea of torturing political prisoners and conducting summary executions of political prisoners. Human rights violations by the Eritrean government include forced labor.

June 16, 2012: Kenyan media reported that the Kenyan military has lost 12 people in operations in Somalia. Five died in combat and seven in accidents. The figures are unconfirmed.

June 15, 2012: The Kenyan government denied that it is letting the U.S. use Kenyan territory or airspace to conduct aerial surveillance missions. The Kenyan denial, however, was very carefully worded. Kenya basically said that it does not know about any US use of Kenyan airspace, but Kenya does share intelligence information with the US.

June 12, 2012: The Kenyan military intends to launch a final assault on the Al Shabaab-held seaport of Kismayo sometime in August and Kenya wants international participation in the operation. That means several things. Kenya has asked the U.S. to provide funding assistance. Ethiopia has suggested that it may send troops south to help the Kenyans attack Kismayo. Kenyan forces are now flagged as members of the AMISOM peacekeeping operation in Somalia so conceivably other AMISOM peacekeepers (form Uganda, Burundi, possibly Djibouti) could participate. Kenya has also approached the European Union and asked for naval support.

Local Somalis report that some Al Shabaab fighters have returned to the town of El Bur after Ethiopian forces pulled out on June 10.

June 10, 2012: An Ogaden rebel website accused an Ethiopian paramilitary police unit of burning down the center of the town of Degahbour on June 8.

June 8, 2012: The U.S. government announced that it is offering $33 million in rewards for information that leads to the capture of senior Al Shabaab leaders. The US is offering seven million dollars for Al Shabaab’s founder, Ahmed Abdi aw-Mohamed Nom de guerre is Godane).

Extract From  strategypage.com