16 March 2013

Ethiopia Arrests Four Al-Qaeda Allied Suspects

Photo: Daily Nation/Xinhua
The wreckage of a car bomb after it exploded outside a Somali government building in Mogadishu (file photo).

Addis Ababa — Ethiopian security forces have arrested four members of the Al-Qaeda allied Somalian Islamist extremist group, al-Shabaab.

According to the National Security and Intelligence Agency, the militants were arrested on Friday in Moyale town near the border with Somalia.

The suspects are accused of plotting terrorist attacks in Ethiopia's Somali region under the assignment of al-Shabaab.

An Ethiopian police source told Sudan Tribune that the suspects were planning to attack and kidnap foreign aid workers from a camp for Somali refugees.

Ethiopia has been a target of attacks by al-Shabaab militants in retaliation for its military intervention in neighbouring Somalia.

Ethiopia sent its troops to strife-torn Somalia in 2006 to help the weakened Somali government oust the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) and to battle al-Shabaab who at the time were in control of most parts of the country.

The Horn of Africa nation has been #the victim of a series of terrorist attacks in the past seven years.

Addis Ababa has repeatedly blamed its arch-rival Eritrea for the attacks on its soil, an allegation Asmara has always denied.

Ethiopia and Eritrea fought a bitter border war from 1998-2000 that killed over 70,000 people, with the two neighbours routinely trading accusations of helping rebels to destabilise their respective countries.

In January, Ethiopian security forces similarly arrested 15 members of an al-Qaeda affiliated East African terrorist cell.

Government officials said that the terror suspects - who were in possession of weapons - had been trained by al-Shabaab forces in Kenya and Somalia in order to carry out terrorist attacks.

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InFocus

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The wreckage of a car bomb after it exploded outside a Somali government building in Mogadishu (file photo).

The police have warned that militia group Al Shabaab could be planning to carry out a string of attacks in the country's capital, Mogadishu. Read more »