The Associated Press reported, citing an official, that Ethiopia’s government has expelled two Arabs who flew in from the Middle East after the pair went to a mosque and tried to incite violence. The news, published a few hours ago, stated:
The two men visited Addis Ababa’s Grand Anwar Mosque on Friday and disseminated materials and made inflammatory statements, said Shimeles Kemal, state minister of communications.
“The Ethiopian government found them to be persona non grata and they were immediately deported,” he said. The men’s nationalities were not made public.
The deportations come one week after security forces arrested a Muslim religious leader in the Oromia region accused of radical statements. A group of Muslims tried to free the imam and clashed with police. Four of the demonstrators were killed and 10 police were wounded, Shimeles said.
“A number of suspects are in police custody. The elders in the community there have helped contain the situation and it remains peaceful since the incident,” Shimeles added.
In a related development, the Ministry of Federal Affairs issued a stern warning on Thursday. The Ministry noted the protests for the last 11 weeks that centered on Administrative issues related to Awelia religious school and the Majlis(the Supreme Muslim Council) has become a threat to peace.
The statement claimed an unnamed group is using the protests to promotes its illegitimate objectives through violence, despite the fact that the initial demands had been sufficiently addressed. This is in reference to the reinstatement of suspended Awelia school teachers and a re-election of the Majlis leadership. Both remands were accepted by the Majlis, though it has yet to set a date for elections. Yet, the protests continued, albeit at a smaller scale, almost every Friday and the demands became vaguer and vaguer.
The Ministry said this group has mistaken the government’s deep respect for the Muslim people as a fear, thus its illegal activities, coordinated with foreign forces has become intolerable.
The statement claimed that the group is explicitly acting in concert with forces that caused the 2005 post-election violence and later proscribed as terrorists by the parliament – this seems to be a reference to US-based Ginbot 7 led by Berhanu Nega (PhD).
The Ministry also indicated that these forces are using PalTalk and facebook and working in coordination with local language services of foreign media outlets to disseminate destabilizing anti-government propaganda.
The statement mentioned a couple of incidents where ‘these forces’ went violent. Such as an alleged attack on a police officer around Anwar Mosque, in the Capital, on Friday April 20 and physical attacks on several imams(preachers).
Thirteen accomplice of this group, recruited from Amhara, Tigray and Oromiya regions, have been detained in Kelem-Welega zone, Oromia region, according to the statement.
The statement claimed that despite the government’s patience to reason them arranging several discussions with the leaders of this movement, they chose to wage a wide anti-government smear campaign. The Ministry claimed these groups are defying the Constitution.
It is to be recalled that Ethiopian police detained eight members of al-Qaeda last February after they were allegedly found “organizing, providing training and educating recruits with the assistance from the East Africa al-Qaeda group”. The Anti-terrorism taskforce indicated at the time that “the terrorist cell in Ethiopia have strong links with the Somali terror group, Al-shabab and Al-queda terrorist cells in Kenya, Sudan, Philippines, Saudi Arabia and South Africa”.
The Ethiopian prime minster underscored the threat of extremists belonging to the Salafi Muslim sect in his appearance at the parliament in mid-April.
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