Friday, April 27, 2007

Plight of domestic servants in Yemen

A growing number of girls are being recruited in Ethiopia to work as domestic servants in nearby Yemen. Once there, they're often kept locked in the house, and are sometimes subjected to physical, mental and even sexual abuse.

Recruited in Ethiopia, exploited in Yemen (Radio Netherlands Worldwide) April 27, 2007

Unrest at Addis Ababa University

Students at the University of Addis Ababa have embarked on a mass protest for the second day, stoning students and breaking windows and doors and forcing students out of classes.

Death of a student sparks mass protest (AAU Graduate School of Journalism and Communication) April 26, 2007

Thursday, April 26, 2007

ONLF attacks an oil site

Indian Ocean Newsletter N°1212 25/04/2007
The Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), an organisation fighting for the independence of the Ogaden province in Ethiopia, claimed responsibility for the attack on 24 April of the oil exploration site operated by the Chinese company Zhongyuan Petroleum Exploration Bureau (ZPEB). Just before 4.30 a.m. an ONLF "Dufaan" commando attacked this site situated near Obale, a small town in the northern Ogaden about 120 km from Jijiga (east Ethiopia). Nine Chinese workers and several tens of Ethiopians were killed, the installations destroyed and the Ethiopian government forces overwhelmed. The two hundred or so attackers abducted several Chinese workers and Ethiopian soldiers.

This operation is the first to be carried out by the ONLF on this scale for many years. This organisation had issued a warning last year to foreign companies interested in searching for oil and gas in the south of Ethiopia. Also in 2006, a number of skirmishes had already taken place between groups of ONLF fighters and the government armed forces in another zone in the Ogaden. But especially, as soon as the Islamist forces took power in Somalia in July 2006, the ONLF infiltrated some hundreds of its combatants into Ethiopia via Djibouti (ION 1190) to pave the way for operations against the Ethiopian government forces.

The President of the ONLF, Mohamed Omar Osman is a former Somalia navy commander. Considered highly chauvinistic, he lived in London before moving to Eritrea where hundreds of his movement's recruits underwent military training in the Kalena and Addis Meskal camps near Tesseney (ION 1179).

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

ONLF kill 74 Ethiopians and Chinese

It's official, Islamic militant style massacre has arrived on Ethiopian soil, and it has arrived big, a downright bloodbath. And no, the perpetrators of this brutal crime are not Islamists from Mogadishu who at least have courage to engage Ethiopian military head on, but rather homegrown ONLF (Ogaden National Liberation Front) cowards who gun downed and kidnapped civilian oil workers trying to bring economic growth to a desolate and impoverished region. This is the same group with who Kinijit "North America" chose to form a controversial alliance (Alliance for Freedom and Democracy), and it remains to be seen if this union will be severed for the sake of avoiding more charges being levied on the real Kinijit leaders languishing in Ethiopia's prisons.

...Gunmen killed 65 Ethiopians and nine Chinese on Tuesday in a pre-dawn raid that Ethiopia blamed on rebels backed by regional foe Eritrea. A separatist guerrilla group, the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), said it carried out the attack on the oilfield staffed by the Chinese workers.

China condemns Ethiopia attack amid oil security fears (Reuters) April 25, 2007
ONLF statement on killings
Audio: BBC Focus On Africa

Somali war profiteers

Beyond clan rivalry and Islamic fervor, an entirely different motive is helping fuel the chaos in Somalia: profit.
A whole class of opportunists — from squatter landlords to teenage gunmen for hire to vendors of out-of-date baby formula — have been feeding off the anarchy in Somalia for so long that they refuse to let go.

In Somalia, Those Who Feed Off Anarchy Fuel It (New York Times) April 25, 2007

Friday, April 20, 2007

10,000m rivalry alive in marathon

Haile is competing in his third London Marathon, having already won the last Berlin and Fukuoka marathons. He meets his old friend and nemesis, Kenyan Paul Tergat, and they are expected to renew their fierce rivalry in Sunday's Flora London Marathon. Let's hope third time is the charm for Haile in London!

Results update: London Marathon 2007 (BBC) April 22, 2007

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Moral decay betrays national heroes

...On the evening of 7 March 2007 the [Abebe Bikila & Mamo Wolde] burial statues were vandalized and while the police have been investigating they so far have not been able to identify the criminals.

Campaign launched to re-erect Bikila and Wolde statues (IAAF) April 18, 2007

Friday, April 13, 2007

Ethiopia upsets the Hawiye

Indian Ocean Newsletter N° 1212 14/04/2007
Since the bloody confrontations at the end of March, a large part of the Hawiye community wants Ethiopian troops to leave Mogadishu.

Beyond an active core of Somalian insurgents, a large proportion of the Hawiye community now wants to see the back of the Ethiopian troops in Mogadishu. These insurgents are former partisans of the Islamic Court Union (ICU) whose leaders have returned to Mogadishu and are mainly of the Hawiye/Habr Gedir sub-clan Ayr ethnic group. This anti-Ethiopian feeling is so widespread that it has pushed the Deputy Prime Minister of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG), Hussein Mohamed Farah Aydeed (Hawiye/Habr Gedir/Saad) in his turn to call for the departure of the Ethiopian troops during his recent visit to Asmara in Eritrea.

The actions of the radical Islamic armies against the Ethiopian soldiers in Mogadishu at the end of March benefited from the support of Somalian former officers, like General Mohamed Nur Galal (Hawiye/Habr Gedir/Ayr) trained at the military academy in the former Soviet Union. But these insurgents have also obtained political support from some Hawiye/Abgal (although the Abgal mainly support the TFG) like Abdi Iman Omar (sub-clan Harti) who is the brother of the Imam Mohamud Imam Omar. They are also supported by Abdullahi Sheikh Hasan Ali a politician of the Wa’buudan sub-clan and Maalin Hashi Mohamed Farah, who had been a member of the former Islamist Shura.

Finally, the insurgents obtained tacit approval from other dignitaries, like the political head of the Ayr, Mohamud Mohamed Ulusow. This former governor of the central bank, appointed in 2005 to this post by the current Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi, has now gone over to the opposition. It is true that his house in Mogadishu had been attacked last month by the TFG troops. Several traditional chiefs of the Hawiye community are now openly calling for the departure of the Ethiopian forces. They consider that their community has been sidelined inside the TFG and are wary of a strengthening of the political power in Mogadishu of the Darod community, which includes the Somalian President Abdillahi Yussuf. One of the Hawiye spokesmen defending this line is Ahmed Diriye (Habr Gedir, Suleiman) who in the past has been a supporter of the warlord Mohamed Farah Haideed. Hussein Siad Qoorgaab, spokesman for the Hawiye committee for a cease-fire, openly denounced the American government this week for its support of the action of the Ethiopian army in Somalia.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Friends in high places

Three months after the United States successfully pressed the United Nations to impose strict sanctions on North Korea because of the country’s nuclear test, Bush administration officials allowed Ethiopia to complete a secret arms purchase from the North Koreans, in what appears to be a violation of the restrictions, according to senior American officials.

North Koreans Arm Ethiopians as U.S. Assents (New York Times) April 8, 2007

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Historical items on eBay

What makes an object a national treasure? Is it the mere age of the item, or perhaps past historical significance giving it social importance? One wonders if these eBay items for sale (click image to enlarge) are really authentic, and if so, how such rare bibles and manuscripts continue to enter private hands. Ill-gotten national treasures are apparently not a rare sight on eBay.

A 40-year-old intern with the National Archives pleaded guilty Wednesday to stealing 164 Civil War documents, including an official announcement of President Lincoln's death, and putting most of them up for sale on eBay.

Intern Robbed U.S. Archives (Time) April 4, 2007