16 April 2008

Somalia: Ethiopia Denies Involvement in Killing of British

Addis Abeba — The Ethiopian Military Base in Mogadishu on Monday denied involvement in the assassination of three foreigners in Beledweyne, rejecting allegations from the Islamist guerrilla group that Ethiopian was behind the killing, the ....reported on Tuesday citing Prime Minister Meles Zenawi's office.

Somali Islamist leader on Monday alleged that Ethiopian Secret agents inside Somalia were behind the deaths of the British female teacher and the Kenyan, who were killed in Beledweyne.

"Ethiopia is looking into the reports from Somali TFG or from Baladweyne Regional Administration regarding the deaths of the three foreigners, and is learning for the first time the details being reported in the media in the past few hours," the report quoted Meles's office in a statement.

"Ethiopia rejects the attempt by the Islamist terror groups to attribute to it any involvement in this incident. We have nothing further to add," the statement said, according to the report.

But according to Baladweyne Regional Administrator the killers doesn't necessarily have to be Ethiopia or Al-shabab Islamists, because "these people make a lot of internal enemies." The report said Ethiopia's defense ministry declined to comment, though an Ethiopian military official said he learned of British female death from the Geeska Afrika Magazine news reports while on a working visit to the region - Southern Somalia.

Al-Shabaab - known as the Islamic Youth Movement - is described by the U.S. as a "violent and brutal extremist group with a number of members affiliated with al-Qaeda." It seems that the group became known for raids on Somali cities, as the violence is part of a dispute in central Somalia between Islamist militia and Somali government troops backed by Ethiopian soldiers.

Al Shabaab controlled the capital of Mogadishu and much of central and southern Somalia up to 2006. According to the AP, the Islamists regrouped in Eritrea, Ethiopia's principal enemy, the report said.

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