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AU reacts to report of 2012 assassination plot against commissioner

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February 27, 2015 (KHARTOUM) – The African Union (AU) commented for the first time on reports that AU Commission Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma was a target of an assassination plot orchestrated by Sudan.

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Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC)

The comments were made in a statement issued by Zuma’s spokesperson, Jacob Enoh Eben, on Wednesday, saying that her office is fully aware of the purported assassination plot.

“The AU Commission is assuring the public that the chairperson is safe and sound,” the statement said.

“Since assuming her current responsibilities in October 2012, Dr Dlamini Zuma has been providing excellent leadership in steering the demanding, but very important work of the Commission in ensuring an integrated, prosperous and peaceful African continent, with the full support of all AU member states,” the statement adds.

The AU Commission also acknowledged the work of Ethiopian intelligence and services “in ensuring security and safety of the AU Commission chairperson, the leadership of the Union, as well as various diplomatic representations related to the AU”.

The statement also expressed the AU’s gratitude for the good cooperation and collaboration between AU member states, including South Africa as was mentioned in the report.

The content of the cables published by the Guardian newspaper and Al-Jazeera TV say that South African intelligence received information on the plot and relayed it to their station chief in Addis Ababa who got in touch with Ethiopian authorities to brief them on the imminent threat to the AU official.

The two sides agreed to beef up Zuma’s security detail as South African military intelligence General T Nyembe told his colleagues that “an unnamed state” was behind the plot and warned that there had been “another alert which further pointed out a potential assassination plot ... to be carried out at a different venue”.

At a meeting between security officials from Ethiopia and South Africa revelations were made that Sudan was behind the plot. However, the Guardian and Al-Jazeera gave conflicting accounts of who pointed the finger at Khartoum or supplied the list of people believed to be behind the plot.

According to the Spy Cables report, Ethiopia’s director of intelligence, Hadera Abera, crosschecked the names of the plotters with “all entry points especially those bordering Sudan” but found no matches.

Another secret document showed that intelligence assessments concluded Sudan “would not carry out such operations” as it had “paid dearly in the attempted assassination of Egypt former President [Hosni] Mubarak” in 1995.

But government sources in Khartoum speaking to Sudan Tribune on Wednesday said that the report appears to be “clearly fabricated” and “unbelievable for any sound mind”.

The sources posed the question “Each crime has a strong motive, what is Sudan’s motive for assassinating this woman?”

They expressed amazement that the South African government and Mrs Zuma herself remained silent all this time and never raised this issue if it was true.

“We believe these are fabricated reports and hastily written and without thought by circles that care only to tarnish Sudan’s reputation”.

(ST)

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