Ethiopia Sentences 41 Al-Shabab Militants, Including Leader to Prison Terms

Addis Ababa — The Ethiopian government on Monday announced that 41 members of Al-Shabab fighters including a military leader were sentenced to jail terms. The leader is sentenced to life in prison.

It is the 4th bench of Ethiopia's Federal high court in Dire Dawa that sentenced them after they failed to bring a defense witness.

Reports from government sources identified Hussien Almed (alias Hussein Gap) as the first defendant. He was working for the militant organization as a military leader - according to the Ethiopian government. Ibrahim Jibril, a junior military leader, was the second defendant.

They were reportedly charged with terrorism charges after Ethiopia's Ministry of Justice's Transborder Crime Affairs Division Directorate General heard 57 witnesses and 396 documented evidence in October 2022.

All 41 defendants were reportedly members of the Somalia-based Al-Shabaab terrorist group since 2019 and were involved in launching an attack in the Somali region of Ethiopia in 2021 after completing their training, it was said. They were operating in several districts in the Afder zone. Some of the suspects were charged with supplying arms to the group that was tasked to carry out terrorist activity within Ethiopia.

They have reportedly caused the death of 265 citizens and injured 323 others including Somali region's special forces. In terms of property, the report from the Ethiopian government said the damage they caused is estimated to be 13,550,000 Ethiopian birr. Furthermore, they had looked at two lorries of goats and sheep as well as 119 camels from the part of the Somali region of Ethiopia where they had been operating.

Apart from terrorism charges, they were accused of being a member of a designated terrorist organization - Al-Shabab.

The government indicated that the suspects were provided with five chances to bring a defense witness which they declined.

Hussien Almed is sentenced to life in prison while 19 other defendants are sentenced to 11 and 12 years prison without parole. 8 defendants are sentenced to 8 and 9 years without parole. And 10 defendants with 7 and 8 years prison without parole.

There had been recurring reports of foiled al-Shabaab terrorist activities in Ethiopia in the past few years.

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