Ethiopia’s devotion to peace
By Tesfye Lemma
Ethiopia overwhelmingly expressed its support for the international community on the war against terrorism, not only coordinating with the international community but also committed to scarify in fighting the terrorism in the Horn of Africa.
As a result, it has made hay the plots Al Shabab, a wing of the international terrorist al Qaida, of making the Horn of Africa particularly Somalia safe heaven to its activities, which contributes to prevent fleeing Al-Qaeda members from establishing a presence in Somalia.
Ethiopia’s need to fight anti-peace elements in the region emanated from its short and long term plan to get rid of poverty and backwardness since the thrive of democratic system in 1991, which has altered the overall situation and facilitated political dialogue, provided citizens with ways to peacefully air their concerns and allowed all nations, nationalities and peoples of Ethiopia to have full participation in their country’s political and economic situations that let the country with a vibrant civil society and free press as well as concerns of respecting human rights.
Ethiopia has devoted much of its attention to improve living conditions of its citizens and devoted to ensure sustainable economic development. Ethiopians who have to work reasonably hard to put bread on the table have also exerting the same effort to bring an enduring peace and stability. Ethiopia has devoted for this being recognizant of the fact that sustainable economic development is possible if and only if there is peace and stability.
Apart from working hard to curb the multifaceted problems the country had been facing for years, the government has shouldered responsibility in combating terrorism and exerting efforts to bring lasting peace not only within the country but also in the region. This has got a priority in the country’s national agenda.
In bringing lasting peace and stability in the Horn of Africa, it’s of paramount importance to make the region free of anti-peace elements and terrorist activities.
That is why Ethiopia gave a priority and stressed the importance of all African countries becoming more engaged in efforts to counter terrorist activities in the continent, as the same time highlighted the need to strengthen the African voice in the global discussion on terrorism.
In this regard, the country has planned and has been acting towards minimizing possibilities for efforts made by terrorist groups to strengthen their presence and enhance their activities in the region.
One important measure is eradicating poverty so that the number of people joining and participating in such terrorist activities could be meaningfully reduced. In line with fighting terrorists through armed forces, Ethiopia believes that working hard towards creating full understanding among the people and countries in the region and enhancing economic possibilities play greater roles in curbing anti peace activities.
It is vivid that this notion goes in accordance to the United Nations’ strategy shift of fighting terrorism. The adoption in 2006 of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy had marked a shift from a “hard” military style in countering terrorism, towards an approach that combines concerns over security with the pursuit of development and the promotion of human rights.
That is why Ethiopia has been struggling against terrorism considering bringing sustainable economic development along with the military activities in curbing extremism, which is believed to be an effective response to its impacts. It is believed that tackling anti-peace activities require more than military action mainly incorporating with defending human rights, combating poverty and promoting political inclusions.
Despite the tremendous effort that Ethiopian and other African countries have been exerting to curb terrorist activities and anti-peace elements in their respective region in particular and the entire continent in general, subsequent events have demonstrated that groups using terrorist methods have remained active across Africa.
These terrorist groups with the support they get from a few irresponsible states in the world in general and Africa in particular have sometimes been able to move easily across poorly guarded borders and committed their terrorist activities. They also manage to taken advantage of governments’ weak control over their territories like Somalia.
Ethiopia’s role in supporting the Somali people was so indispensable that it weakened the hold strong of the terrorists; crossing the al-Shabab frontline, Ethiopia has been contributing a lot in breaking down the plans of the terrorist groups in the Horn of Africa who have imposed a strict version of Sharia law in areas under its control, including stoning to death women accused of adultery and amputating the hands of thieves.
Al-Shabab joined al-Qaeda in February 2012 that al-Shabab’s leader Ahmed Abdi Godane said he "pledged obedience" to al-Qaeda head Ayman al-Zawahiri. The two groups have long worked together and foreigners are known to fight alongside Somali militants. Al-Shabab has also some links with militants groups in Africa, such as Boko Haram in Nigeria; ONLF, OLF and Ginbot 7 in Ethiopia.
Al Shaba has been attempting to recruit among disaffected populations in the Horn and began disrupting the region until it has hard hit by the Ethiopian troops in Somalia basically supported by the state in Asmara.
The recent deadly terrorist attack in Kenya is a cowardly deed. It’s the result of hopelessness and despair. Al-Shabab has said it carried out the deadly assault on a shopping centre in Nairobi killing at least 68 people.
Of course, similar deadly dramatic incidents took place before in different times The bombings in the US Embassy in Kenya, terrorist attacks in northern Uganda, in Somalia, Egypt and different foiled attacks in Ethiopia could be some among many others.
This terrorist group was responsible for a double suicide bombing in Uganda's capital, Kampala, which killed 76 people watching the 2010 football World Cup final on television.
At its 397th meeting held on 23 September 2013, the Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU) adopted a statement on the terrorists’ attack perpetrated in Nairobi.
The Council stressed that this attack on innocent civilians was an attack on the African continent as a whole. This terrorist attack highlights the need for renewed efforts to address the scourge of terrorism, on the basis of the relevant AU and international instruments, called on all Member States to redouble their efforts in this respect, and to enhance inter-African counter terrorism cooperation.
It was long ago that the Ethiopian government emphasized the need to come together in combating terrorism in Africa. Ethiopia has also believed that fighting terrorism in Africa also requires greater collaboration, both among African countries and between Africa and its international partners.
One of the efforts the country has been exerting is the fact that it coordinates with the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) countries in strengthen the struggle against terrorism.
IGAD, whose active members include Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda, was originally established to deal with drought and desertification, but has become increasingly active in seeking to resolve the region’s various armed conflicts.
The Ethiopian government has been acting against such terrorist movement in the region in general and within the country in particular. The Ethiopian government has also adopted anti-terrorism law in order to effectively make hay various terrorist activities and ensure peace and stability.
Ethiopia has managed to foil a number of previous terrorist attacks sponsored by the rouge state in Eritrea. One of these was the plan of the seven militants trained and armed by the Eritrean government that had taken to custody with their weapons by the Ethiopian security forces in the Afar region, bordering Eritrea.
It was public secret that the detainees confessed that they were trained, armed and received a direct order from the Eritrean government to perpetuate attacks on public facilities, transport vehicles, fuel stations, public centers and other main infrastructures in Ethiopia.
Owing to the considerate efforts and cooperation of the Ethiopian security and the entire people of Ethiopia, about 50 kilograms of explosives and various other weapons as well as large amount of Ethiopian currency enough to carry out their evil mission was found in their possessions.
Another plot, set to disrupt the assembly of the Africa Heads of States, was the foiled terrorist attack attempted during the 16th African Union (AU) summit in Ethiopia.
The terrorist groups responsible for that attack were put under control due to the collaboration of the entire people of Ethiopia and the security forces. Despite the presence of a few groups who have been cooperating with terrorists targeting Ethiopia under the pretext of political parties, Ethiopians above all want to pull their country out of the quagmire of poverty, making the space so narrow for terrorists to enhance their ill activities in the country.
The economic development and the thriving of peace and stability with in the country as well as the solidarity of nations, nationalities and peoples’ of Ethiopia coupled with the strength of the country’s security system have foiled the various terrorist attempts so far and has been narrowing the space for extremists to carry out their evil activities in the country.
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