Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Millennium Challenge Series #32: Managing the culture of terror and crime in the Horn

Dear Patriotic Ethiopians and Friends of Ethiopia:

Millennium Challenge Series # 32: Managing Violence, Gangsterism, Criminal Fronts and Terrorist Pandemics in the Horn

It has been over 40 years now, since the culture of terrrorists fronts florished in the Horn.

A lot has been said over the years about the need to change the culture of violence, terror, rebels and gangsterism that takes different approach depending on the flavour of the time be it "ideology- Communism; religious fanatism- Exteremism and outright incompetent youth- revolution, etc.

At the heart of the problem, is lack of well developed institutions to engage young men and boys in creative and productive ventures that solves the incessant problems of poverty and lack of productivity and creativity.

As long as the children are not given creative outlets for their energies and the old folk are not made responsible and accountable through out their lives, they will perpetuate the myth of injustice, hatred and all out terror for generations to come.

The recent development in the Ogaden and Afar region where foreigners were killed, kidnapped along with Ethiopians is not tenable unless we make the local community6 trasparent and accountable for such behavior. Each time, such behavior is not accounted for, it encourages a new set of bravado and terrorism.

So, the challenge is to make the Shabab, Shabia and Alqaeda operatives in the area pay for their criminal activities in ways that there is a lesson for potential new recruits. Just asking for peace and political solutions for criminal activities will not change behavior. Behavior changes when there is constant, repeated enforcements of codes of behaviors. One cannot expect criminals to change their behavior just because you call them Deputy Prime Ministers like Aideed and President like Isayas and Chairperson like Husaine Tahir.

These are hardened criminals who will not change their behavior, what ever good titles you bestow on them. At the end of the day and the heart of their personalities these are deranged people, hardened by years of criminals and genocidal activities.

We need to develop a local Horn of Africa Court of Justice for all criminals regardless of their stations in life or assumed titles they acquired in their criminal journey.

The innocent can only be protected when all criminals regardless of the titles they acquire over time, are put to the same justice that local citizens are expected to comply with.

In short, Good governance with appropriate tools of transparency, accountability and culture of peace is what the Horn needs in this unique time of Millennial Change.

Kindly read below the recent Chinesse/Ethiopian Massacre in the Ogaden and the contnious massacre of our people in Mogadisho as the terror continues.

This is a shame and a sad scar in our modern conscience that needs to stop soon.

We need to build a new society of peace, prosperity and security. That is a challenge that the Horn has to address immediatley.

with regards

Belai Habte-Jesus, MD, MPH

2. Ethiopia hunts for seized Chinese oil workers
Wed 25 Apr 2007

Andrew Heavens and Tsegaye Tadesse
ADDIS ABABA, April 25 (Reuters) - Ethiopian troops searched on Wednesday for seven Chinese and Ethiopian workers kidnapped in a rebel attack on an oilfield that killed 74 people in a remote and barren southeastern region.

The Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), ethnic Somalis fighting for independence since 1984, claimed responsibility for the pre-dawn raid on the Chinese-run field that was one of the worst attacks to date on Beijing's growing interests in Africa.

The rebels have repeatedly warned energy companies they will not allow oil and gas exploration in the area as long as the Ogaden people are "denied their rights to self-determination".

"The Ethiopian government will hunt down the perpetrators and bring them to justice," Bereket Simon, special adviser to Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, told Reuters.

"Bringing back these people will be our number one priority. We have assigned an appropriate force for the task," he added.

Ethiopian officials said gunmen shot dead 65 Ethiopians and nine Chinese as they slept.

But in a statement published on its Web site, the ONLF blamed the deaths of a "handful" of Chinese on blasts caused by munitions during a battle that they say killed or wounded some 400 Ethiopian soldiers.

It denied abducting Chinese oil workers. "They have been removed from the battlefield for their own safety and are being treated well," the ONLF said in its overnight statement.

ANGER IN BEIJINGBeijing "strongly condemned" the attack, which has exposed the risks of its push to use Africa's under-developed energy resources to feed a rapidly growing economy.

African governments have generally welcomed China's Africa push, which comes free of the political conditions often imposed by Western countries. But there is concern in some quarters Beijing may be gaining too much control, treating local labour forces badly, and flooding Africa with cheap goods.

Some Chinese oilworkers were kidnapped in Nigeria, while Zambian workers have rioted over pay at a Chinese-owned mine.

But the Ethiopian case is believed to be the most serious incident of its kind.

Bereket said their bodies were due to be flown back to the capital Addis Ababa later on Wednesday to be met by Chinese embassy officials. Chinese diplomats would not comment.

The latest separatist attack in the Horn of Africa country comes a month after rebels seeking autonomy for the northern Afar region kidnapped five Europeans and eight Ethiopians.

Analysts say the unrest in Ethiopia's remote corners highlights simmering opposition to centralised rule in Addis Ababa from the country's many ethnic groups.
Dissent has grown since disputed elections in 2005, with Ethiopia accusing arch-foe Eritrea of fomenting rebellion in the country of 75 million.

Asmara denies the charges.
The United Nations has said ONLF and Oromo Liberation Front guerrillas were fighting alongside Islamists in a conflict with the Ethiopian-backed interim government in neighbouring Somalia.

The ONLF said Ogaden remained a "battle zone" between its forces and those of the government.
"It is not a safe environment for any oil exploration to occur," it added in statement on (Additional reporting by Chris Buckley in Beijing)

TPLF foreign minister Seyoum Mesfin has been called by
his masters at the State Dept. He is currently in
Washington DC

Excerpted from the News Story below:

"US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was due to
discuss the situation today with her visiting
Ethiopian counterpart, Seyoum Mesfin, officials said."


US accuses Eritrea of fueling Somali War

April 24, 2007

THE United States accused Eritrea today of providing
funding, arms and training to insurgents battling
Somali forces and allied Ethiopian troops in

The State Department's top Africa official, Assistant
Secretary of State Jendaye Frazer, also called for
renewed ceasefire talks to end the deadliest fighting
that Somalia has seen in years.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was due to
discuss the situation today with her visiting
Ethiopian counterpart, Seyoum Mesfin, officials said.

The fighting in Mogadishu pits heavily armed Ethiopian
troops allied to the country's UN-recognised interim
government against an Islamist militia known as
al-Shabab and other insurgents supported by the city's
dominant Hawiye clan.

Ethiopia intervened in Somalia, with tacit US support,
in December to help oust an Islamist movement which
had seized control of much of the country from the
transitional federal government.

Since then, Ethiopian forces and the insurgents in
Mogadishu have battled with tanks, mortars and other
heavy weapons in fighting that has claimed more than a
thousand lives, more than 250 of them in the past
week, and forced hundreds of thousands of people to
flee their homes.

Ms Frazer, who visited Somalia early this month,
singled out Eritrea today for helping fuel the
fighting in order to weaken Ethiopia, its regional
arch rival.

"Eritrea has not been playing a constructive role in
Somalia because they continue to fund, arm, train and
advise the insurgents, especially the al-Shabab
militia," she said.

Ms Frazer also said the Ethiopians were actively
trying to negotiate a truce with the Hawiya clan,
which has remained estranged from the interim

"We know that Ethiopia is very quietly working very
closely with especially the Hawiya clan and the
transitional federal government to negotiate a
long-term ceasefire," she said, without elaborating.

"We're pushing for the ceasefire, and for those
discussions to bear fruit so that they can end this
violence," she said.

Ms Frazer also called on the interim government to
step up efforts to broaden its base to include more

"It's very clear that the key to solving the situation
in Somalia and stabilising it is to have this
inclusive dialogue," she said.

"Trying to get the transitional federal government to
reach out to the various clans and sub-clans is a
large part of our diplomacy," she said.

Ms Frazer went on to accuse the Islamist militia of
trying to undermine reconciliation efforts by
targeting Hawiya clan leaders willing to talk to the

"They are actually trying to spoil this process of
political dialogue and reconciliation," she said.

The US also backs the planned deployment of some 8000
African Union peacekeepers to help stabilise Somalia.

But so far only about 1500 Ugandan soldiers have
arrived and their presence has made little difference.

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