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Ethiopia Places $260,000 Bounty on Tigray Leaders

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The Ethiopian government has placed a bounty of 10million Birr ($260,000) on leaders of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

Gebremichael Debretsion, leader of the TPLF and others have been at loggerheads with Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed over the postponement of elections which were due for August 2020.

They accuse Abiy Ahmed of holding office illegitimately and extending his term unlawfully.

The TPLF attacked some state properties on the 4th of November. Reprisal attacks from the Ethiopian government led to the capture of Tigray and the death of thousands of people.

At least 95,000 people were granted refuge in Sudan during the conflict, which gained international attention. More than a million people also fled their homes during the period.

On the 28th of November, Ethiopian forces captured Mekelle in a “final offensive”. All through the battle, Gebremichael was in hiding as he accused the national government of abusing civilians and looting from them.

Worried about the threats he can pose, Addis Ababa, a powerful state in the Horn of Africa, and the host of the African Union, placed a bounty on the Army General’s head.

The incentive was announced by state broadcasting station, EBC.

Verification of information has been an arduous task since the battle began, as communication lines were cut in Mekelle, the Tigrayan capital.

The lines were restored earlier this week as citizens went back to their normal lives even though there are fears of a comeback by the TPLF forces.

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East Africa News

Somali Government Intercept Smuggled Weapons, Ammunitions

The ministry did not, however, identify the entities and quantity of ammunition intercepted nor did he provide any proof to back up the report either.

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The Somali government has commenced investigations into the source and origin of certain sophisticated weapons and ammunition which it intercepted while they were being smuggled into the country.

The country’s minister of information said there had been an attempt by Somali and foreign entities, to illegally import high caliber weapons and ammunition into the country without government knowledge and permission.

In a statement issued in the capita Mogadishu, the minister said “the federal government of Somali has a robust system in the supply chain of weapons and ammunition from the point of procurement to post distribution, and it is these existing frameworks that have enabled the government to respond timely and block the deliveries.”

The ministry did not, however, identify the entities and quantity of ammunition intercepted nor did he provide any proof to back up the report either.

The ministry said the Somali government takes very seriously, violations of territorial sovereignty and integrity as well as any actions that can have potential destabilizing effects.

“The government is investigating the origin and motives of the weapons and ammunition it has blocked intended for Somalia,” the report said.

Shortly after Somali plunged into civil war 25 years ago, The United Nations imposed a blanket arms embargo on the nation.

The statement followed hours of fighting in the southern town of Beled Hawo between the security forces of Jubaland and and government forces as the two sides battled to take control of the strategic town which is a key entry of the Gedo region.

The Somali government did however say its forces managed to repel the militia group, and managed to recover illegally imported arms and ammunition, also flushing out Jubaland security forces.

Bothe sides have reportedly suffered casualties, even though the local authorities have not established the number involved.

This is not the first time that The Somali government and Jubaland forces will battle over that land. In March 2020, both forces were engaged in a similar battle to take control of the town.

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Ethiopian Forces Detain Minors in Crackdown On TPLF Rebels

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An Ethiopian human rights commission group has found minors in the custody of Ethiopian forces in Western Gambella.

The minors, some found to be as young as 11 were arrested alongside members of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

The Tigrayans have been held since November, and the state still has not started investigations into their culpability.

“The Commission was alarmed to find two boys aged 11 and 12 and a girl aged 14 detained since mid-December 2020 on suspicion of being members of OLF Shane,” it said, following the arrest of Tigrayans and a breakaway group from the Oromo Liberation Front.

There is renewed tension in the country as the parliamentary elections, through which a Prime Minister is chosen, draws closer.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s Prosperity Party faces pressure from the country in the face of the Tigrayan crisis.

Read: More Ethiopian Refugees Flee Into Sudan’s Blue Nile State

Ethiopia runs a federal system of government with at least 10 regions having their parties including the TPLF, run by Tigrayans and the Oromo Liberation Front for the people of Oromo.

Abiy benefited from a coalition of various parties in 2018 when they kicked out the TPLF which had ruled for 27 years.

Opposition parties have revealed harassment of their members by the national government, with human rights activists asking for a look into Ethiopia’s current situation.

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Somalia Intercepts Smuggled Weapons and Ammunition Days Before Elections

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Somalia’s Ministry of Information, Posts and Telecommunication says investigators have begun investigations into origin of the sophisticated weapons and ammunition which it intercepted while being smuggled into the country.

The Ministry said the Somali and foreign entities had attempted to illegally import high calibre weapons and ammunition into the country without the knowledge and permission of the government.

“The federal government of Somali has a robust system in the supply chain of weapons and ammunition from point of procurement to post distribution.

“It is these existing frameworks in place that has enabled the government to respond timely and block the deliveries,’’ the ministry said in a statement issued in Mogadishu.

However, the ministry did not identify the entities and the quantity of weapons that were intercepted or provide proof to back up the report either.

The ministry said the government takes violations of territorial sovereignty and integrity as well as any actions that can have potential destabilising effects very seriously.

“The government is investigating the origin and motives of the weapons and ammunition it has blocked intended for Somalia,’’ it said.

The United Nations imposed a blanket arms embargo on Somalia shortly after the nation plunged into civil war 25 years ago.

The statement came hours after fighting erupted in the southern town of Beled Hawo between Jubaland security forces and government forces as both sides sought to wrestle control of the strategic town which is a key entry of the Gedo region.

However, the government said its forces managed to repulse the group of militia and managed to recover illegally imported deadly weapons after also flushing out Jubaland security forces.

There are casualties on both sides even though the local authorities have not established the number involved.

The Somali government and Jubaland forces previously fought over the control of the town in March 2020.

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