By Tesfa-Alem Tekle
July 8, 2014 (ADDIS ABABA) – The Ethiopian National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) on Tuesday confirmed that Yemeni authorities have extradited to Addis Ababa an exiled Ethiopian opposition leader.
Andargachew Tsige, secretary-general of Ginbot 7, a US based Ethiopian opposition movement, was sentenced to death in absentia in 2009 for alleged role to overthrow government and for crimes of terrorism.
Tsige, was arrested by Yemeni security forces last month at Sanaa’s El Rahaba International Airport while he allegedly was on transit to Eritrea via the Arab nation.
NISS said the opposition figure has lived in Eritrea, Ethiopia’s bitter rival, for five years where he had been collaborating with the regime in Asmara and other anti peace elements to destabilise nation.
The intelligence agency further said Tsige had been giving trainings to regional terrorists in the red sea nation.
Tsige who is second-in-command of the movement is one of a group of 13 men who were convicted in absentia of plotting a coup.
He is handed over to Ethiopia under an extradition treaty signed in 1999 between the late Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and Yemeni’s former president Ali Abdela Salah, to enable exchange of wanted criminals.
The opposition group has warned to retaliate if Tsgie falls in to the hands of Ethiopian authorities and urged Yemen from making a “historic mistake”.
“We will retaliate in any way and at any place for any harm done to the body, spirit and life of Andargachew Tsgie,” the group said in a recent statement.
“Andargachew has been given for slaughter ... We declare a war in the name of Andargachew for justice, freedom and equality,” the group said in its statement.
Tsgie is Ethiopian-born with British citizenship. NISS said having dual citizenship won’t prevent anyone from legal accountability.
Ginbot-7 was founded in 2008 by Berhanu Nega, who also was sentenced to death in 2009 along with Tsgie.
The group says it is fighting for democracy in Ethiopia and calls for regime change through any means.
The group was designated as terrorist entity in June 2011 by the Ethiopian government along with Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and Somalia’s Al Shabaab