Home | News    Wednesday 27 March 2013

Ethiopia thwarts kidnap-for-ransom plot against UN staff

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March 26, 2013 (ADDIS ABABA) - Ethiopian security forces have thwarted an alleged kidnapping plot by members of Somalia Islamist extremist group, against foreign United Nations aid workers based in Ethiopia’s Somali region.

According to Ethiopia’s National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), eight suspected members of the al-Qaida allied Al-Shabaab group who were in possession of weapons to carry out the kidnap are now under police custody.

Foreign aid workers of the World Food Programme and the UN’s Development Programme at Dollo refugee camp were the prime targets of the kidnapping, officials said on Monday.

The suspects were planning to take the abducted aid workers to neighbouring Somalia to extract a ransom.

Backed by the United States, Ethiopia sent troops to strife-torn Somalia in 2006 to overthrow the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) from de facto power in Mogadishu and withdrew in 2009 and later redeployed forces to help the weak Somalia army battle al-Shabab who had been in control to most parts of the country.

Somalia’s al-Shabaab group had in the past repeatedly issued warnings against Ethiopia’s military intervention and the country has since been a target of different attacks in retaliation.

However the Horn of Africa nation has foiled many terror attacks plotted by the group and has detained many infiltrated members of the terrorist cell.

Earlier in January Ethiopia’s security forces arrested 15 militants who were trained by al-Shabaab in Somalia and Kenya.

Officials then said the suspects were in possession of arms, military training manuals and jihad war videos were preparing terrorist attacks in Ethiopia’s Somali and Harar regional states.

(ST)

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