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Friday, January 05, 2007

Ethiopian style repression in new Somalia - EHRCO condemns arrest of Somali reporters

Also in the news: [Amnesty International fears Teachers' Association officials being tortured by Ethiopian government] - [Attack Ethiopia troops, Qaeda leader urges Somalis] - [Ethiopia says its forces to quit Somalia in 2 weeks] - [Somalia: Explosion in the capital aimed at Ethiopian troops] - [Unsure of peace, Somalis buy guns]

International: [Bush to Replace 2 Top Generals in Iraq] - [Hosni Mubarak: Hanging 'makes martyr of Saddam'] - [N.Korea 'All Set for Second Nuke Test'] - [Iranian agents arrested in Baghdad] - [Bush declares 'no back rubs' for Germany's Chancellor] and more of today's top stories

Ethiopian soldiers patrol Somalia's port city of Kismayu, January 5, 2007. REUTERS/Stringer

Coalition for HR5680 has organized a Round Table Discussion Forum with Members of the Inquiry Commission to be held in Los Angeles on Sunday January 21, 2007 at the University of California (UCLA) with; Judge Firehiwot Samuel (Chairman, Inquiry Commission), Ato Teshome Mitiku (Member, Inquiry Commission), Ato Alemayehu Zemedkun (Deputy Attorney General, Civil Division). Moderator for the event is Prof. and Attorney Alemayehu Gebremariam. (More...)

EHRCO condemns arrest of Somali reporters

Ethiopian Human Rights Council (EHRCO)

The Ethiopian Human Rights Council (EHRCO) is saddened by and condemns the arrest of Yusuf Abdi Gabobe and Ali Abdi Dini, managing editor and editor-in-chief, respectively of Haatuf newspaper. EHRCO also denounces the confiscation of properties belonging to Haatuf Media House on Jan 02, 2007.

We condemn all forms of violations of freedom of press and urge the Somaliland authorities to immediately and unconditionally release the above journalists and respect freedom of press at all times. We further call upon the Somaliland authorities to restore all the confiscated equipment to the Haatuf Media House, and conform to the international standards of freedom of press.

Finally, EHRCO calls upon the international community to urge Somaliland authorities to unconditionally release Yusuf Abdi Gabobe and Ali Abdi Dini and respect freedom of press in Somaliland.

Also see: Newspaper executives arrested in Somaliland, radio reporter arrested in Baidoa

Amnesty International fears Teachers' Association officials being tortured by Ethiopian government

Officials of the Ethiopian Teachers' Association (ETA)

Tilahun Ayalew (m)
Anteneh Getnet (m)
Meqcha Mengistu (m)

The three men named above are prominent members of Ethiopia's main teachers' trade union, which has been critical of the government. Tilahun Ayalew and Anteneh Getnet are reported to be in custody, and are believed to have been tortured. Amnesty International considers them prisoners of conscience, detained solely for the non-violent expression of their opinions and trade union activities.

Tilahun Ayalew was detained on 14 December, and allegedly tortured. He is reportedly held incommunicado by police at the headquarters of the Central Investigation Bureau (Maikelawi) in the capital, Addis Ababa, where prisoners have allegedly been tortured. Anteneh Getnet has reportedly been held at the same place since 29 December, and allegedly tortured. Both men have been produced in court, but not charged or given access to legal counsel or their relatives.

The third ETA official, Meqcha Mengistu, has not been seen since 15 December and is believed to have been detained by the police. He had allegedly been under police surveillance for several days prior to his "disappearance". His relatives and friends have made enquiries as to his whereabouts but the authorities have denied all knowledge. He is believed to be in secret custody and at risk of torture.(More...)

Attack Ethiopia troops, Qaeda leader urges Somalis

"The real battle will begin with your campaign against the Ethiopian troops," - Zawahri

DUBAI (Reuters) - A purported audio tape message by al Qaeda's deputy leader urged Somali Islamists on Friday to launch an Iraq-style guerrilla campaign of suicide and other forms of attacks against Ethiopian forces in Somalia.

Ethiopian forces helped Somalia's interim government rout Islamists in a two-week war.

"As happened in Iraq and Afghanistan, when the world's strongest power was defeated by the campaigns of the mujahideen troops going to heaven, so its slaves shall be defeated on the Muslim lands of Somalia," said Ayman al-Zawahri, deputy to al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

"You must ambush, mine, raid and (carry out) martyrdom campaigns so that you can wipe them out," he said. (More...)

Press releases regarding the Somali Issue

-EPRDF: A danger to Ethiopia’s National Interest

-An Appeal to the International Community

Unsure of peace, Somalis buy guns

Fearing the worst, residents armed themselves despite their fragile government's desire to disarm the population of the volatile capital.

MOGADISHU, Somalia - Four months ago, in the unaccustomed calm that had settled over this lawless city after Islamist militias took over, Ali Mohammed Nuur thought that it finally was safe to sell the AK-47 rifle he had used to protect his family.

Today, the Islamists are on the run, having been ousted from power a week ago by an Ethiopian force in support of a weak transitional government.

And on Thursday, as the deadline approached for all Mogadishu residents to hand in their weapons, a first test of the transitional government's power, Nuur stood in one of the city's biggest gun bazaars and purchased another AK-47 for about $50.

''I bought a gun to defend my life and family,'' said Nuur, 33. ``The security situation in Mogadishu is fragile, and everyone like me expects fierce fighting.''

The brisk business in weapons despite the government's call for disarmament underscores Somalia's shaky new reality.

The leaders of the transitional government are afraid to enter the capital, as are their 10,000 troops. The government's 1,000 police officers are also outside the city.(More...)

Ethiopia says its forces to quit Somalia in 2 weeks

DUBAI, Jan 5 (Reuters) - Ethiopia's prime minister said his country will pull its troops out of neighbouring Somalia within two weeks after helping the Somali interim government rout Islamists in a two-week war.

"We will stay there for a few days to help the transitional government in preserving stability then we will pull out our troops ... this will take a week or a maximum of two weeks," Meles Zenawi told Al Jazeera television in remarks aired on Friday. His remarks were dubbed in Arabic.

"We will not stay there for an extra hour after finishing our mission," he said. "We have concluded all combat operations."

Somali Islamists took control of the capital Mogadishu in June and had imposed sharia law across much of the south.(More...)

Somalia: Explosion in the capital aimed at Ethiopian troops

Unknown gunmen have attacked Ethiopian troops in Somalia capital, Mogadishu with a hand grenade or similar device on Thursday evening in an attempt to resist the presence of the Ethiopian soldiers in the country. The troops responded with firing at the attackers.

An eyewitness told Somalinet tonight that the bomb explosion has occurred near Sahafi Hotel in south of Mogadishu where the Ethiopian forces are stationing.

“Unknown armed men have thrown a a hand grenade at Ethiopian soldiers standing outside of their base and they responded with opening fire on the attackers,” local shopkeeper who declined to be identified said.

Reports say that the body of unknown person was laying on the ground shortly after the accident. (More...)

Today's Top Stories

-Bush to Replace 2 Top Generals in Iraq
-Hosni Mubarak: Hanging 'makes martyr of Saddam'
-N.Korea 'All Set for Second Nuke Test'
-Sanctions imposed on Iran, Syria arms suppliers
-Iranian agents arrested in Baghdad
-Bush declares 'no back rubs' for Germany's Chancellor Merkel
-Bank issues credit card to cat