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US warns of possible terror attack in Ethiopia

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By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

June 1, 2014 (ADDIS ABABA) - 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 Sudan Tribune received on Sunday.

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.

“While there is no known specific information regarding the timing or location of an attack, we would like to remind U.S. citizens to be especially vigilant in areas where large numbers of US and western citizens congregate, including restaurants, hotels, bars, places of worship, supermarkets, and shopping malls” the statement said.

The embassy highly recommended for Americans living in Ethiopia and those travelling to Ethiopia to enrol in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).

“The STEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates, and makes it easier for the U.S. embassy or nearest U.S. consulate to contact you in an emergency. If you don’t have Internet access, enrol directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate” it added.

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.

In the past Al-Shabaab has repeatedly warned to carryout massive attacks in Ethiopia in retaliation for its military intervention and Addis Ababa takes such threats seriously.

However government officials often disclose that the country’s defence force and intelligence are capable enough to thwart Shabaab’s terror plots and to defend the country from any external enemy.

Addis Ababa says it will remain determined to keep its troops in Somalia till order, peace and security is fully restored in Somalia.

However Ethiopian opposition politicians on the contrary call on government for immediate pull-out arguing keeping the troops longer will increase the risk of retaliation attacks against the horn of Africa’s nation.

(ST)

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