Archive for Ethiopia
Ethiopia’s government said it hopes U.S. authorities will prosecute protesters who tried to take down the national flag on the grounds of its embassy in Washington. A security attache at the embassy, who has since returned home, fired a gun during the Sept. 29 incident, which has renewed tensions between Ethiopia’s government and dissident groups. Dina Mufti, a spokesman for Ethiopia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told Ethiopian state television that the protesters have ties with Eritrea and the Somali Islamic extremist group al-Shabab. He said the U.S. government is expected to protect the integrity of the embassy and to charge the “intruders,” who chanted anti-government slogans as they tried to take down the flag of Ethiopia. But on Oct. 2, a U.S. State Department spokeswoman in Washington indicated that authorities were instead looking to investigate the shooting incident, which reportedly caused no injuries. “In this case, we requested a waiver of (diplomatic) immunity to permit prosecution of the individual involved in that incident. The request was declined and the individual involved has now left the country,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on Oct. 2.
The Ethiopian government has pointed its finger at arch enemy Eritrea and Ethiopian opposition groups over a disturbance that took place at the Ethiopian embassy in Washington. Ethiopia’s ambassador to the US, Girma Biru, said around 15 people had been involved in the incident, which occurred at the embassy on Monday. “They first went to the consular service office and rudely demanded to speak to the ambassador. And when the officer told them that they needed an appointment, they insulted him and went out and tried to take down the Ethiopian flag,” he said. US security forces subsequently took members of the group into custody after they refused to leave peacefully. The culprits were detained for an hour, with authorities recording their names and addresses, before they were released. According to the ambassador, no legal demonstration had been planned on the day in question and group members are known to US authorities. He further went onto saying that the culprits were mercenaries of Eritrea and Ethiopia opposition groups who are reportedly upset by the successful outcome of recent discussion between the leaders of Ethiopia and the United States on boosting cooperation in the areas of trade, peacekeeping and fighting terrorism. The ambassador said the attack was as a “desperate act” in response to the growing relationship between the two countries.
An Ethiopian diplomat who fired a gun at his country’s embassy earlier this week left the United States, the U.S. State Department said. The U.S. initially requested that Ethiopia waive the individual’s diplomatic immunity so that he could be prosecuted in the U.S, State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said. Ethiopia reportedly denied that request, prompting the U.S. State Department to ask the diplomat to leave the country. No further details about the shooting or the individual were provided.
The U.S. Secret Service has arrested a man who officers believe fired a gun near the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington. U.S. Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary said in an emailed statement that Secret Service officers received a report of shots fired near the embassy around 12:15 p.m. Monday. When they arrived, officers detained a man believed to be the shooter. The man’s name was not released. The Secret Service said there were no reported injuries as a result of the incident.
Newsline: Ethiopian and Namibian ambassadors accused of role in Venezuelan envoy murder trial in Kenya
A lawyer in the Venezuelan envoy murder trial accused the Ethiopian and Namibian ambassadors of playing a role in the arrest of his client. Lawyer Katwa Kigen, who is representing the former first secretary of the Venezuelan Embassy Dwight Sagaray, said ambassadors Luise Gurbert and Juana Carlos insisted on having Sagaray charged with the murder of Olga Fonseca. The proceedings also saw a gardener, who still works at the Venezuelan Embassy, testify against Sagaray and his four co-accused. Julius Anini told Justice Weldon Korir that he knew the Ethiopian and Namibian ambassadors and that they came to act for the embassy when he was arrested with Sagaray for investigations into Fonseca’s murder.
The US Embassy in Addis Ababa urged American citizens residing or traveling to Ethiopia to exercise caution over a possible attack by a Somali terrorist group. The safety advisory the embassy said was issued due to threat from Al-Shabaab against Ethiopia and western interests in Ethiopia. Citing to multiple and ongoing credible threats, the US embassy urged its citizens to take the highest precautions to maintain their personal safety and security. “The Embassy continues to receive credible threat reports of Al-Shabaab’s intent and capability to attack Ethiopia and western interests in Ethiopia” it said in a statement. The embassy said that there have been a number of incursions along the Ethiopian-Somali border in recent weeks urging its citizens to maintain a high level of vigilance and to take appropriate steps to enhance personal security. Ethiopia, which is a regional security partner of the United States government, has a deployed forces in war torn Somalia to help the weak government battle the Al-Qaeda-allied Al-Shabaab group.
South Sudanese who recently entered Ethiopia from Kenya have accused the Ethiopian embassy in Nairobi of allegedly denying them travel visas. The refugees who originally fled the current conflict to Kenya and managed to cross the borders to Ethiopia this week claimed Kenyan authorities have restricted both land and air travels for South Sudanese headed to Ethiopia. Speaking exclusively to Sudan Tribune in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, two former South Sudan Government officials said they managed to cross borders to Ethiopia by bribing Kenyan brokers and security officials who allowed them through. The bribes, they claimed, were mainly given to the smugglers on the Kenyan side, not Ethiopia. They said a South Sudanese willing to travel to Ethiopia won’t find a visa from the Ethiopian embassy in Nairobi unless the individual produced a recommendation letter from the South Sudanese embassy in Nairobi. They assumed that the Ethiopian embassy took the move through the influence of the Kenyan government, further accusing the latter of providing support to the government of Juba in the ongoing battle against SPLM in opposition rebels led by former vice president Riek Machar. These accusations could, however, not be independently verified. When asked to comment on the matter, ambassador Dina mufti, the spokesperson for Ethiopia’s foreign affairs ministry told Sudan Tribune he would contact its envoy in Kenya to verify these allegations. The strongholds of the rebels are across the Ethiopian-South Sudanese common border. The conflict has forced over 150,000 people flee to neighboring countries.