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Ethiopia says opposition group plotted assassination, not coup.

May 2, 2009 (ADDIS ABABA) -- The arrested members of the opposition "Ginbot 7" group meant to create havoc in the country, but not a plot to endanger the existing government, said Ethiopia's minister of communication. Ethiopian authorities arrested on Saturday April 23, some 40 people accusing them or preparing to commit terrorist attacks in the country. The Ginbot 7 led by Birhanu Nego rejected the accusation describing it as "baseless and total fabrication" "The intention of these immobilized desperados was not to conduct coup d'E[umlaut]tat and we are not implicating them with coup plot" minister for government communications Bereket Simon said in a press conference held on Friday. The 'desperado' group was intending to assassinate top government officials, people linked to government and to blow up government buildings and public facilities such us power plants and other strategic installations, the minister said. According to the minister, government from the beginning had the knowledge about their planned plot. "If there had been laxity from the government these problems would have been seen" he said adding that almost all (to what Bereket referred them as "desperados") are arrested. "Our security forces so far have arrested a total of 40 suspects which we believe are members of the Ginbot 7 group" Most of the suspects in custody are said to be current or ex-army officers, led by an active duty army general. "Among the arrested suspects 6 army officers including an army general were on active duty while the remaining 34 suspects were former army members who were expelled from the army on grounds of misconduct" Breket added. According to the official, police investigations have also found evidence implicating that some of the suspects in custody are Ex-CUD (Coalition for Unity and Democracy party) members, an opposition group that lunched wide protests in 2005 accusing the ruling PM Meles Zenawi led government rigging the ballot . The 2005 post-election violence led to deaths of nearly 200 protesters and to the arrest of hundreds of opposition supporters and opposition leaders, whom among, Ginbot 7 leader Birhanu Nega being one of them. The Ethiopian government believes that the intent of the plot by Ginbot 7 ,(term taken from may 15, 2005 national election ) was to create havoc by assassinating government officials, blowing up public facilities and create a ground to repeat street violence like the one Ethiopia experienced in 2005. The communications minister said that the Ethiopian government will consider for the extradition of the alleged plot orchestrater, Birhanu Nega,leader of the self calling Ginbot 7 who currently is working at a US university as economics professor. However the US embassy in Addis Ababa underlined that the two countries are not signatories of extradition agreement. (ST)

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Publication:Sudan Tribune (Sudan)
Date:May 3, 2009
Words:467
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