From: Biniam Haile \(SWE\) (email@example.com)
Date: Sat Aug 08 2009 - 08:11:33 EDT
Eritrea denies deportation of diplomat
By LUCAS BARASA and CYNTHIA VUKETS
Posted Saturday, August 8 2009 at 13:40
Eritrea on Saturday emphatically denied that one of its diplomats and
another national had been deported from Kenya for security reasons.
Ambassador Salih Omar Abdu however confirmed the country's Foreign
Minister was in Kenya to deliver a special message to President Kibaki,
just two days after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton vowed to act
on Eritrea for allegedly supporting Somalia insurgents.
In an interview with the Nation at the Eritrean embassy in Nairobi, Mr
Abdu said: "None of the Eritrean embassy staff has been deported for the
last two and half years that I have been in the country and before."
The Nation had earlier reported that an Eritrean diplomat and a
businessman had been expelled from Kenya. Immigration public
communications officer, Mr E Njeru, said, "There are two cases involving
Eritreans who were deported on security related grounds." But Mr Abdu
said the reports were "groundless and baseless."
The envoy denied Mrs Clinton's remarks that Eritrea was backing
al-shabaab militias who are fighting the Somalia government and said
Eritrea was not involved in efforts to destabilise the Ethiopian
Although the Horn of Africa country with 5.5 million people sympathises
with Somalis and wants their government reconstituted through
comprehensive political reconciliation, the envoy said it had nothing to
do with the al-shabaab.
Al-shabaab, which is believed to enjoy the backing of some foreigners,
has killed hundreds of people and displaced thousands in its efforts to
over-throw Sheikh Shariff Sheikh Ahmed government.
"Apart from Sheikh Ahmed who stayed in Eritrea for two years and hosting
of conferences to try and bring peace to Somalia, Eritrea does not host
the fighters," the envoy said.
He added that Sheikh Ahmed's rival, Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys also
stayed in Eritrea. "Al-shabab has never stepped in Eritrea," he said.
According to the envoy, the Oromo Liberation Front that is fighting the
Ethiopian government is "struggling for self-determination."
Mr Abdu accused Ethiopia of occupying Eritrea's land, even after the
latter fought for independence for 30 years and engaged in another war
with it in 1998.
He said Eritrea severed links with Inter-Governmental Authority on
Development (Igad) for "blessing" the invasion of Ethiopian forces to
Somalia despite a UN security council resolution that countries
bordering it should not engage there.
Eritrean Ambassador to Kenya Salih Omar Abdu addresses journalists on
Saturday. PHOTO/WILLIAM OERI
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