15 Ethiopians charged with terror offences
ADDIS ABABA, July 17 (Xinhua) — Fifteen Ethiopians have been charged on Monday before the Federal High Court in Addis Ababa with terror offenses for allegedly conspiring and committing terror acts to undermine the Ethiopian state.
The 15 Ethiopians are allegedly members of an outlawed ethnic rebel group Gambella People’s Liberation Movement (GPLM) who committed the terror acts from October 2015 to February 2017.
In particular, the charge alleges that the 15 defendants received prior training in Ethiopia’s northern neighbor and arch rival Eritrea before slipping back home to commit terror acts, which included targeting government and non-governmental developmental institutions and distributing terrorist pamphlets.
Ethiopia alleges GPLM and other rebel groups are supported by Eritrea. Eritrea in turn accuses Ethiopia of supporting Eritrean rebel groups and running an international campaign to isolate the Red Sea nation.
Eritrea had been a province of Ethiopia from 1952-1993, until a bitter 30 year armed struggle followed by a referendum in 1993, gave the Red Sea nation its independence from Ethiopia.
However, the two nations returned into conflict five years later in a bloody border war between 1998-2000 that left an estimated 70,000 people dead from both sides.
Since then, the common border between Eritrea and Ethiopia has had an uneasy calm punctuated occasionally by sporadic armed flare-ups.
The defendants had also allegedly planned to assassinate officials of Gambella regional state and civilians living in the regional state in order to ignite communal strife.
In one particular incident, the defendants are accused of attacking a public transportation vehicle travelling between cities in Gambella regional state that left five civilians dead and injured nine others.