"In August 1999, Ethiopia's former intelligence and security chief Kinfe Gebre-Medhin met with senior members of Harkat Al Khalas Al Islami in Mekkele, the capital of the Tigray province. According to sources familiar with the meeting, Ethiopia then transferred a contingent of weapons to that group as well as another group known as the Eritrean Islamic Jihaad."
OGADEN ONLINE SPECIAL REPORT
ETHIOPIAN LINKS TO AL-QAEDA
Despite Ethiopian efforts to appear as the Global Coalition's staunchest ally in the war on terrorism, reports are surfacing that the Ethiopian regime has actively supported Harakat al Khalas al Islami (Eritrean Islamic Salvation Movement) a movement known to have strong links to Al-Qaeda.
Informed sources indicate that a decision to actively support the Eritrean Islamist group was made in mid 1998 following the beginning of the war between Ethiopia & Eritrea. The decision was reportedly made by Prime Minister Melez Zenaawi with his closest confidants
In August 1999, Ethiopia's former intelligence and security chief Kinfe Gebre-Medhin met with senior members of Harkat Al Khalas Al Islami in Mekkele, the capital of the Tigray province. According to sources familiar with the meeting, Ethiopia then transferred a contingent of weapons to that group as well as another group known as the Eritrean Islamic Jihaad.
A senior TPLF official familiar with the transfer of weapons to the group is Sebhaat Nega, who is said to have been in Mekkele during the meeting with the group along with Kinfe Gebre-Mehdin.
Prime Minister Zenaawi is reported to have approved the support for the group as well as Eritrean Islamic Jihaad provided that no ties back to the TPLF regime could be made.
A senior member of Ethiopia's security service, Issayas Wolde Giorgis, who is of tigrayan origin is reported to be handling support for the Eritrean Islamists. Giorgis is an officer in an elite security services unit known as Liyu Tebeka which has offices near the OAU headquarters in Addis Ababa.
Reports from Addis Ababa indicate that the Ethiopian government is now concerned about that link surfacing in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, but that senior Ethiopian military officer's are still involved in providing military support to both groups and consider this support to serve to foreign policy interests for Ethiopia.
1. The groups will contribute to the destabilization of the Eritrean Regime
2. Prominent acts by the group will provide an additional reason for Ethiopia to attack Eritrea under the claim that they are under threat by Islamic terrorist groups (as they are now claiming in Somalia).
What remains to be seen is whether increased international scrutiny on terrorist organizations and their financiers will reveal Ethiopia's role in supporting Eritrean Islamist groups with clear links to Al-Qaeda
Ogaden Online Special Report
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