Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Ethiopia arrests dozens over 'terror plot'

Suspects were detained on August 28 on charges of colluding with the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), an Eritrea-based rebel group that Ethiopia lists as a terrorist organisation, to plant explosives and conduct bomb-training courses, government spokesman Shimeles Kemal said. He claimed they were members of the OLF. Nine of the detained are members of two opposition prominent parties, Demelash Woldemikael, deputy commissioner of federal police, told the Reuters news agency. Ethiopia has been accused of cracking down on opposition campaigners from the Oromo ethnic group, the Horn of Africa nation's biggest with 27 million people out of a population of 80 million. Rights groups have criticised Meles Zenawi, the Ethiopian prime minister, for crushing dissent. Meles says "terrorists" are using political party membership to hide their activities.Opposition politicians dismissed the charges, saying that the government is "well-known for its fabrications". "[The government doesn't] want to know the facts, so they come up with their lies," Andualem Arage, a senior member of the opposition Medrek coalition, said. "They are doing this to prevent people from standing up for their rights," Arage added, claiming the government is fearful Arab Spring-type protests could erupt in Ethiopia. Demelash denied any political motives behind the 29 arrests. "Their political activity had nothing to do with their incarceration," he said. "They were posing as peaceful activists but were in fact operating with the OLF, which is responsible for past killings of innocent civilians." source ( Aljazera)

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