Friday, March 17, 2006

ION update: 03/17/06

General Samora Yunis in Las Vegas
Indian Ocean Newsletter N° 1173 18/03/2006

The Chief of Staff of the Ethiopian army, Lieutenant General Samora Yunis went to Las Vegas on 2 March accompanied by an American official, Robert Orth, and General Ayalew. He had just visited the Nellis Air Force Base, a base situated north of Las Vegas. General Yunis took advantage of the visit to meet five selected Ethiopians in the restaurant Merkato. Other Ethiopians who tried to speak with him on this occasion were prevented from doing so by Robert Orth. General Yunis then went to Washington before returning to Addis Ababa.

Forthcoming mission to Ethiopia
Indian Ocean Newsletter N° 1173 18/03/2006

After the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) which has just sent a delegation to Addis Ababa (ION 1170), it is now the turn of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) to do likewise. This Brussels-based association has already criticised certain decisions taken by the Ethiopian government, notably concerning legislation of the media which had been controversial in Ethiopia. The IFJ delegation is to go on a fact-finding mission to Ethiopia in the coming weeks to investigate condition of imprisoned journalists.

The reasons behind an expulsion
Indian Ocean Newsletter N° 1173 18/03/2006

After the expulsion of the Italian Ambassador in 2001 and the sidelining in December 2005 of several Italian NGOs including Mani Tese (linked to the Vatican), Eritrea has once again made a move hostile to Rome. The First Secretary of the Italian Embassy in Asmara, Ludovico Serra, was declared persona non grata at the beginning of March and was given 24 hours to leave the country. He had been previously arrested at Massawa near the entrance to the villa Melotti despite his diplomatic status. He was held for a week-end in an Eritrean police barracks and his car confiscated. The Italian diplomat had gone to Massawa to see that the personal bodyguards of President Issayas Afeworki were occupying this magnificent colonial style villa with swimming pool, built in the 1930s and owned by the Italian Melotti family. The Eritrean President had wanted to take hold of it for some years.

ISS beefs up its team
Indian Ocean Newsletter N° 1173 18/03/2006

Just as the former Ethiopian Ambassador to Germany, Hiruy Amanuel Gebreselassie has taken up the head of the project to fight terrorism in the Horn of Africa, based in Addis Ababa (ION 1171), Commander Abebe Muluneh has become training coordinator in this same project played out by the South African Institute for Security Studies (ISS). A graduate of the Ethiopian Police College (1993), Abebe Muluneh worked for thirteen years as an instructor in this same police academy and has undergone training at the Rhinelandpfalz Police College in Germany and the FBI national academy in the United States. The Nairobi bureau of ISS has also been strengthened with the arrival of Augusta Muchai at the Arms Management Programme. She had previously worked for six years at the Security Research and Information Centre (SRIC), an NGO based in Nairobi. Mary Moraa Nyaoso joined ISS’s Nairobi bureau as programme assistant and office manager. ISS has recruited other people in South Africa, beginning with Guy Lamb who will head the Arms Management Programme. A specialist on security matters in Africa for a decade, he has been a researcher at the Nordic Africa Institute in Sweden. For his part, Cecil Aptel Williamson, who previously worked for the United Nations Office of Internal Oversight Services in Nairobi, has joined the ISS Peace Missions Programme. Poelo Rangoako has now become the ISS director of human resources, while ChandrĂ© Gould has joined the Crime and Justice Programme, and Wafula Okumu has taken up the lead of the African Security Analysis Programme and Trusha Reddy has become a researcher with the Corruption and Governance Programme based in Cape Town.