The Reporter (Addis Ababa)

7 June 2014

Ethiopia: Intel, Federal Police Taskforce Captures 'A Terrorist Cell' Based in Jimma

The Joint Anti-Terrorism Taskforce of the National Intelligence and Security Service and Federal Police disclosed on Thursday that it has captured two terrorist cells in Ethiopia belonging to a terrorist sect identified as "Kaworja."

According to the Taskforce, the said terrorist cells, which were under investigation, were comprised of a group of 25 individuals who were organized in two groups possessing a network with two Somali insurgents Al-Shabaab and the global terrorism designated organization, Al-Qaeda. In a statement the Taskforce issued, it said that the two groups have taken training in neighboring Somalia and other foreign nations including The Sudan, South Africa as well as Nigeria.

The Anti-Terror Joint Taskforce noted that the Kowarja group, which allegedly has close links with Al-Qaeda, is an Islamic fundamentalist group that mainly receives leadership and order from South Africa. The Taskforce further said that the first group received instructions from an unnamed terrorist organization operating from South Africa. The group also received training from Al-Shabaab in Somalia and shuttles between Kenya and South Africa and was planning to start operating from Jimma town, some 300km west of Ethiopia.

The second group was receiving support and instructions from similar Kaworja jihadist cells in Yemen, the UK and The Sudan. It is also reported that the group has the same Islamic fundamental teachings and intents as that of Boko Haram of Nigeria.

In a related incidence, it has been less than a week since the government announced last that it foiled series of terror attacks attempted by Al-Shabaab. The arrest came after the US government warned its citizens living in and traveling to Ethiopia through its embassy in Addis Ababa. The Anti-Terror Joint Taskforce, Ethiopia's security network of the National Intelligence and Security and Federal Police, announced through state media that it defused unsuccessful terror attacks here and there attempted by the Al-Shabaab group members. The terror agent, who was arrested in Addis Ababa, was suspected to be launching suicide terror attacks in several locations in Addis Ababa, according to the statement. A security expert at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) told The Reporter that the Somali-based Islamic extremists attempted to commit attacks on different strategic locations to destruct critical infrastructure bases in Ethiopia.

"Al-Shabaab has been threatening Ethiopia since day one for the last several years. Thanks to our security apparatus it has never materialized and will never materialize in the future," Ambassador Dina Mufti, Spokesman of MoFA told The Reporter. The Al-Shabab group had declared war against Ethiopia and other neighboring Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) countries. It has of course succeeded to launch the same terrorist attack in the rest of the countries, Djibouti, Uganda and Kenya that have militarily joined the AMISOM, UN sponsored African peacekeeping forces assisting the Somali government in the fight against the Islamist groups in Somalia. A week ago, the United States had issued early security warning through its embassies in Djibouti, Kenya and Ethiopia against Al-Shabaab terrorist plots to attack Western interests in the Horn of Africa, particularly in Ethiopia. The embassies alerted American citizens living in or traveling to Ethiopia to exercise "serious cautions" urging them to follow every security update issued by the Department of State. "The US Embassy in Addis Ababa would like to remind US citizens living or traveling in Ethiopia to maintain a high level of vigilance and to take appropriate steps to enhance personal security," the alert reads. The Embassy said it continued to receive credible threat reports of Al-Shabaab's intent and capability to attack Ethiopia and western interests in Ethiopia. While the Embassy didn't get specific information regarding the timing or location of an attack, it reminded US citizens to be especially vigilant in areas where large numbers of US and western citizens congregate. In recent weeks, there have been several incursions along the Ethiopian-Somali border," the reminder notice added. According to Geeska Afrika Online, Turkish security court issued last week an international arrest warrant for five top Al-Shabaab members linked to terrorist activities and actions. The terror group members, identified as Ahmed Abdi Aw-Mohamed -Godane (Somaliland,) Sheikh Muhtar Robow (Bay-Bakool region,) Fuad Mohamed Khalaf (Puntland,) Hassan Dahir Aweys (Dhusa-mareeb) and Hassan Abdulah Hersi Al-Turki (Kabridahar, Somali-Ethiopian,) are accused of ordering a terror attack on the Turkish Embassy in Mogadishu, Somalia, It is to be remembered that Ethiopia's military force has officially joined AMISOM at the beginning of this year.

In the other unwavering event, the Taskforce disclosed on Thursday that it has captured four students who are accused of carrying out bombings last month at Haromaya University.

The Taskforce further reported that one of the suspects committed suicide while he was in prison.

The report named the suspected student bombers as Abeba Urgessa, Nuredine Hassan, Megersa Worku and Nimoni Chali.

According to the Taskforce statement, four of the suspects are students at Haromaya University in separate facilities and they came organized to throw a bomb while students were watching

football games on television.

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