Amidst confusion on the timeline of Ethiopian rebel leader’s arrest and extradition, Yemeni media provides contradictory information.
A Yemeni media reported that Andargachew Tsigie, leader of an Ethiopian rebel group, was in Sena’a at least until last Tuesday (July 8).
The British national and second-in-command of Ginbot 7 rebel group was detained in late June, at Sana’a international airport on transit.The date of his detention was reported as June 23 by the group, while an MP of European Parliament and confidant of the group Ana Gomez and Amnesty International said it took place on June 24.
The discrepancy does not end there.
The group’s leader Berhanu Nega (PhD) claimed that Andargachew was en route from from Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), to “a third country” and had to spend two hours in transit in Sena’a.
A spokesperson of the group, Ephrem Madebo, speaking on the group’s radio said that the origin of Andargachew’s travel was Bahrain and the transit time was one hour and half. It is not clear whether the spokesperson was confusing the two Gulf States – UAE and Bahrain. Yet, it is the spokesperson’s claim that Andargachew’s final destination was Asmara that is being echoed in the media. Eritrea is the base of Ginbot-7’s armed unit.
No one knows for sure how Yemeni officers detained Andargachew Tsigie while he was on their soil.
It is to be recalled that HornAffairs reported, citing an anonymous source, that Andargachew Tsigie was initially detained due to lack of proper travel documents (Direct Airside Transit visa), which led to further investigation of the identity of the man.
A program aired yesterday on ESAT (an online TV channel affiliated to Ginbot-7) corroborated Horn Affairs’ report claiming that Andargachew’s original travel plan was a direct flight from Dubai to Asmara. According to ESAT, Andargachew decided to take a flight to Sena’a at the last minute only because he missed his direct flight.
However, the statement from Ethiopia’s counter-terrorism unit, on Tuesday late evening, claimed that Andargachew was extradited to Ethiopia on the same day of his detention, adding that Yemeni authorities detained him based on the intelligence provided to them in advance by Ethiopian security officials.
However, Yemeni media remained unhelpful on the matter.
The news from Yemen Times, on Monday July 7, vaguely reported that:
According to [Foreign Minister official] Al-Awadi, [Andargachew Tsegie] had already been extradited in late June.
“This person is on the security wanted list and he was extradited in accordance with the agreement,” said Al-Awadi.
However, another Yemeni media provided a different story on Tuesday.
The Arabic news outlet, Yemeni Today, reported on Tuesday as follows (as translated by Horn Affairs’ Afaan Oromoo editor Abdulbasit Mohammed):
An Ethiopian Security delegation that arrived [on Sunday] received opposition Leader of Ginbot7, Andargachew Tsige, who has being held by Yemen Security Authorities in Sana’a since the twenty third of last June.
The Ethiopian National Security delegation, consists of 6 people, arrived Sana’a on Sunday. Sources close to security authorities told Yemen Today that the delegation will hand-over the leader of Ginbot7, a United States-based Organization, which is proscribed by Ethiopian Government as a terrorist Organization, to Addis Ababa in the coming few hours.
[Andargachew] Tsigie had already been moved from National Security prison in Sana’a to a Hotel in the capital, prepared by Ethiopian Security delegation, in preparation for transfer to his country.
Tsige had been detained at Sana’a Airport by National Security Forces a day before last week while he was about to travel to an Unknown destination.
Horn Affairs is still efforting to verify the accuracy of the news.
Yet, it beggars the imagination that less than 12 hours after Yemeni Today’s report that Ethiopia announced the capture and extradition of Andargachew Tsigie.
Please read previous reports on Horn Affairs’ Andargachew Tsigie’s saga archive for a full picture of the matter.
Stay tuned for news updates and expert comments on the matter.