An Ethiopian court has sentenced two people for planning a terror attack on the country in 2014. The two are said to have links with Somali insurgent group Al-Shabaab.
According to the federal attorney general, the two convicts, Bedris Yesuf and Anis Usman, had received training from Al-Shabaab and were also actively engaged in recruiting members and seeking to establish a terrorist cell in Ethiopia.
Ethiopia’s state-affiliated portal, FANA broadcasting corporate reported that Bedris received a jail term of six years and six months while Anis got a year lesser – i.e. five years and six months of rigorous imprisonment.
Bedris Yesuf is also said to have engaged in a shootout with African Union forces in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, nine years ago.
Ethiopian forces are actively engaged in the fight against Al-Shabaab in neighbouring Somalia. They have recently been reported as pulling out their troops gradually, a situation which security watchers say will further weaken Somalia’s security.
Kenya, unlike Ethiopia, has been at the receiving end of Al-Shabaab attacks for the role of its soldiers in the fight against the insurgency. The Westgate Mall and Garissa University attacks are typical cases.
Ethiopia is currently under a state of emergency that was imposed to quell deadly anti-government protests in the Amhara and Oromia regions.
Ethiopia’s security forces recently disclosed the arrest of 98 ‘Eritrean- sponsored anti-peace elements,’ stating that the arrested persons were trying to cross into the country after having received training to execute a mission by Eritrean-based terrorist organizations, Ginbot 7 and Oromo Liberation Front (OLF).
A senior security official of the Tigray zone is reported to have disclosed that the ‘anti-peace elements’ were arrested as a result of coordinated efforts of the defense force and local residents.