INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cablegate: Ethiopia: 1996 Annual Terrorism Report

Published: Thu 23 Jan 1997 09:30 AM
R 230930Z JAN 97
FM AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 0496
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ADDIS ABABA 000531
DEPT FOR S/CT, FOR REAP
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PTER ET
SUBJECT: ETHIOPIA: 1996 ANNUAL TERRORISM REPORT
REF: 96 STATE 223177
1. POST RESPONSES TO QUESTIONS, REFTEL, PARA 3 A-K:
A. HOST GOVERNMENT PROSECUTIONS FOR 1996: 1996 WAS A
YEAR OF SEVERAL SIGNIFICANT DOMESTIC TERRORIST INCIDENTS
IN ETHIOPIA TO INCLUDE 3 HOTEL BOMBINGS, AN ASSASSINATION
ATTEMPT ON A CABINET MINISTER, THE FATAL SHOOTINGS OF TWO
FOREIGN TOURISTS, AND AN AIRCRAFT HIJACKING AND
SUBSEQUENT CRASH. THE GOVERNMENT HAS REPORTED ARRESTS
FOR SUSPECTS IN ALL CASES EXCEPT THE HIJACKING. THE
HIJACKERS WERE BELIEVED KILLED IN THE CRASH. THE
GOVERNMENT OF THE FEDERAL DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF ETHIOPIA
(GFDRE) IS STILL PREPARING CASES AGAINST THE DETAINEES IN
EACH OF THESE INSTANCES. POST IS UNAWARE OF ANY OTHER
PROSECUTIONS FOR TERRORISM DURING 1996.
B. HOST GOVERNMENT EXTRADITIONS FOR 1996: POST IS
UNAWARE OF ANY SUCCESSFUL GOVERNMENT EXTRADITIONS FOR
TERRORIST ACTS IN 1996. THE GFDRE HAS FEW FORMAL
EXTRADITION TREATIES WITH OTHER GOVERNMENTS. THE HIGHEST
PROFILE EXTRADITION EFFORT IN RECENT YEARS IS THE ONGOING
CASE FOR THE MUBARAK ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT SUSPECTS.
EXTRADITION HAS BEEN SOUGHT FOR THE SUSPECTS FROM SUDAN
AND THAT COUNTRY'S NEGATIVE RESPONSE CONTRIBUTED TO A
SEVERE DOWNTURN IN RELATIONS BETWEEN ETHIOPIA AND SUDAN.
IN LATE 1995 INTO 1996, THERE WAS AN ATTEMPT TO EXTRADITE
FROM UGANDA A SUSPECT IN THE ATTEMPTED SHOOTING OF A
USAID EMPLOYEE IN 1994. UGANDAN AND ETHIOPIAN
AUTHORITIES, COMMUNICATING THROUGH THEIR INTERPOL
OFFICES, ATTEMPTED TO WORK OUT AN INFORMAL EXTRADITION.
BECAUSE OF SEVERAL DELAYS ON BOTH SIDES IN EXCHANGING
INFORMATION, THE SUSPECT WAS CHARGED WITH LOCAL CRIMES IN
UGANDA, PAID A FINE AND WAS RELEASED. THE GFDRE
INITIATED EXTRADITION DIALOGUE WITH THE GOVERNMENT OF THE
COMOROS ISLANDS IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING THE ETHIOPIAN
AIRLINES FLT 961 INCIDENT. HOWEVER, THE IDENTIFICATION
OF THE DEAD HIJACKERS NEGATED THE NEED TO CONTINUE.
C. IMPEDIMENTS TO PROSECUTIONS/EXTRADITIONS: CURRENT
ETHIOPIAN LAWS DO NOT ADDRESS TERRORIST ACTS
SPECIFICALLY. THE LACK OF EXTRADITION TREATIES WITH
OTHER COUNTRIES, INCLUDING THE U.S., IS THE MOST
SIGNIFICANT IMPEDIMENT TO PURSUIT OF INTERNATIONAL
TERRORIST ISSUES.
D. OTHER HOST GOVERNMENT RESPONSES: THE ETHIOPIAN
GOVERNMENT HAS BEEN QUICK TO SPEAK OUT AGAINST TERRORIST
INCIDENTS, BOTH DOMESTIC AND INTERNATIONAL.
E. MAJOR COUNTERTERRORISM EFFORTS FOR 1996: GFDRE
AUTHORITIES HAVE CONDUCTED SEVERAL RAIDS ON SUSPECTED
TERRORIST LOCATIONS IN ADDIS ABABA AND OTHER AREAS. IN
NOVEMBER 1996, ETHIOPIAN MILITARY FORCES CROSSED INTO
SOMALIA NEAR DOLO TO NEUTRALIZE THE THREAT FROM WHAT THE
GFDRE DESCRIBED AS A SUSPECTED TERRORIST TRAINING SITE
INSIDE SOMALIA FOR THE ISLAMIC FUNDAMENTALIST GROUP AL-
ITIHAAD. THE GDFRE FORCES THEN RETURNED TO THE BORDER TO
PROTECT THE BORDER CROSSING. IN EARLY DECEMBER,
ETHIOPIAN SECURITY FORCES RAIDED SEVERAL LOCATIONS IN
DIRE DAWA, NAZARETH AND ADDIS ABABA, MAKING NUMEROUS
ARRESTS AND SEIZING AN UNKNOWN QUANTITY OF WEAPONS AND
EXPLOSIVES. GFDRE AUTHORITIES IDENTIFIED THE LOCATIONS
AS CELLS FOR THE AL-ITIHAAD GROUP AND CLAIM THAT THE
CELLS WERE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE BOMBINGS AND ASSASSINATION
ATTEMPTS IN ETHIOPIA DURING 1996. THE ETHIOPIAN
AUTHORITIES HAVE ALSO SOUGHT TRAINING AND EXPERTISE FROM
SEVERAL SOURCES, INCLUDING THE U.S., TO HELP WITH THE
DEVELOPMENT OF THEIR TERRORISM DETECTION, RESPONSE, AND
INVESTIGATIVE CAPABILITY.
F. SIGNIFICANT HOST GOVERNMENT SUPPORT FOR TERRORISM:
SINCE THE DOWNFALL OF THE PREVIOUS GOVERNMENT IN 1991,
THE TRANSITIONAL GOVERNMENT OF ETHIOPIA AND THE CURRENT
GFDRE HAVE BEEN STAUNCH OPPONENTS OF ALL FORMS OF
INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM.
G. HOST GOVERNMENT STATEMENTS OF SUPPORT FOR TERRORISM:
THE GFDRE HAS MADE NO STATEMENTS IN SUPPORT OF
INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM.
H. SIGNIFICANT CHANGES IN ATTITUDE 1995 TO 1996: THE
GFDRE PREVIOUSLY MAINTAINED THE POSTURE THAT TERRORIST
INCIDENTS WERE NOT AN ISSUE IN ETHIOPIA. THE MUBARAK
ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT IN 1995 AND INCIDENTS WHICH
OCCURRED IN 1996, TO INCLUDE THE MAJOR ONES MENTIONED IN
THIS REPORT, HAVE FOCUSSED GFDRE ATTENTION ON THE
PROBLEM. THERE HAS BEEN A RECOGNITION THAT TERROR
INCIDENTS CAN BE DIRECTED AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT AND THAT
THERE IS A NEED TO DEVELOP A CAPABILITY TO IDENTIFY AND
COMBAT THE PROBLEM.
I. U.S. COUNTERTERRORISM EFFORTS/INITIATIVES: THE USG
HAS NOT HAD A NEED TO REQUEST SPECIFIC ACTION BY THE
ETHIOPIAN GOVERNMENT DURING THE PAST FIVE YEARS. THE USG
PROVIDED COUNTERTERRORISM TRAINING TO ETHIOPIAN
AUTHORITIES IN 1995 AND 1996 ON A LIMITED BASIS. THE
RISE IN SIGNIFICANT INCIDENTS IN 1996 PROMPTED THE
EMBASSY TO SEEK ADDITIONAL TRAINING TO ADDRESS THE
DEVELOPMENT OF THE GFDRE ABILITY TO DETECT, DETER, AND
RESPOND.
J. U.S. GOVERNMENT REQUESTS FOR COOPERATION, LAST 5
YEARS: THE USG HAS NOT HAD THE NEED TO FORMALLY SEEK
COOPERATION.
I) COOPERATION IN LEGAL PURSUIT OF SUSPECTS:
COOPERATION HERE HAS BEEN GOOD ON BOTH THE DIPLOMATIC AND
OPERATIONAL LEVEL. HOWEVER, THE LACK OF LAWS AND
TREATIES HAS HAMPERED THE COOPERATIVE PROCESS. THE
ACTUAL NUMBER OF REQUESTS HAS BEEN LOW.
II) COOPERATION IN PREVENTING FUTURE ATTACKS: THE
GFDRE HAS SHOWN A WILLINGNESS AND UNDERSTANDING TO
PROVIDE COOPERATION, WITHIN THEIR CAPABILITIES, FOR
POSSIBLE FUTURE ATTACKS AGAINST US PERSONNEL WITHIN
ETHIOPIA.
K. EXTENT OF COOPERATION FOR PREVENTION OF ATTACKS, LAST
5 YEARS: THE USG HAS NOT HAD THE NEED TO REQUEST
COOPERATION FROM ETHIOPIAN AUTHORITIES IN THE PREVENTION
OF A SPECIFIC ACT OF TERRORISM DURING THE PAST 5 YEARS.
SHINN
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