Eritrea backing armed groups against Ethiopia and Djibouti – U.N. experts

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Eritrea backing armed groups against Ethiopia and Djibouti – U.N. experts

A United Nations report says Eritrea’s continued support for some anti-government elements continue to heighten security in the Horn of Africa region. The activities of the said groups are intended at destabilizing Ethiopia and Djibouti.

The document titled: ‘Report of the Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea’ presented to the U.N. Security Council (UNSC), however, emphasized that the said groups do not pose a critical threat to the target nations.

“Eritrea continued to provide support to armed groups intent on destabilizing Ethiopia and Djibouti, including the Benishangul People’s Liberation Movement, the Front for the Restoration of Unity and Democracy (FRUD-Armé), Patriotic Ginbot Sebat (PG7) and the Tigray People’s Democratic Movement.

While none of these groups poses a critical threat to either Djibouti or Ethiopia, the support of Eritrea for them continues to generate insecurity in the region and undermines the normalization of relations between regional Member States.

“While none of these groups poses a critical threat to either Djibouti or Ethiopia, the support of Eritrea for them continues to generate insecurity in the region and undermines the normalization of relations between regional Member States,” the report said.

The 8-member team led by Kairat Umarov said for the fourth consecutive year of its work, it had failed to find conclusive evidence of allegations that Eritrea was supporting Somalia insurgent group, Al Shabaab.

The said allegations are the reason behind a 2009 arms embargo slapped on Eritrea by the UNSC. The U.S. backed sanction said al-Shabaab was being armed by Eritrea but the experts said the sanctions had to be lifted. Somalia is also affected by a similar sanction which is affecting its fight against terrorism.

Addis Adada and Asmara continue to trade accusations at each other over plots to destabilize the other. Ethiopia says Eritrea is backing anti-government miscreants in the Oromia region. They have also said Ethiopia is behind skewed reports of a rare protest by students in the capital Asmara.

A border tension dating to 2009 persists between the two countries. Eritrea also has border issues with Djibouti. The tensions escalated earlier this year when Qatari peacekeepers on a disputed border region withdrew amid the Gulf crisis.

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