27 January 2011

Kenya: Ethiopia Downplays Fears of Terrorist Attack At AU Summit

Addis Ababa — Ethiopian authorities have downplayed the 'reliable terrorist attack risk' at the forthcoming African Union (AU) summit later this week in Addis Ababa, notified by western countries.

Ethiopia's Foreign ministry's spokesperson Ambassador Dina Muftui told the Nation that the country was aware of the risk but it was not beyond the control of the government.

"It is not such imminent and Ethiopian security have contained possible threats and its security forces are working to ensure safety. There is a threat and we are aware of it but it's a bit exaggerated by western countries," Amb. Dina said.

He added, "Our region is always prone to terrorist attack and it's not such a surprise for such kind of alert"

Several western governments have warned their citizens in Ethiopia of credible threats of terrorist bomb attacks during the AU summit.

Australia's Foreign ministry issued a serious security alert for Ethiopia on its website. Other western embassies in Addis Ababa including United States and Britain have also sent out a warning.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, UN chief Ban-Ki Moon and more than 30 African head of states are expected to attend the summit in Addis Ababa this week.

Ethiopia has blamed its arch-foe Eritrea for a move to discredit Ethiopia's ability to host the summit.

A week ago, Ethiopian security forces arrested seven individuals who are allegedly trained in Eritrea and a member of Ethiopian rebels in Ogaden (Somali) region of Eastern Ethiopia.

The Somali extremist group al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for twin suicide bomb attacks in the Ugandan capital, Kampala last July, weeks before the city hosted the last AU summit.

More than 70 people were killed in the blasts, which struck two public viewing centres during the World Cup soccer finals.

Ethiopian government has installed tight security all over the city in Addis Ababa, including public places surrounding of the city.

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