Ethiopia Arrests 15 in Alleged Plot to Bomb UAE Embassy

Police officers guard ballot boxes in a warehouse of the National Election Board of Ethiopia (NEBE), in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on October 2, 2020. (Photo by EDUARDO SOTERAS / AFP) (Photo by EDUARDO SOTERAS/AFP via Getty Images)
EDUARDO SOTERAS/AFP via Getty Images

Ethiopian state media Wednesday announced the arrest of 15 people in connection with a plot to attack the embassy of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). A similar attack was reportedly planned against the UAE embassy in Khartoum, Sudan.

According to Ethiopian news reports, the would-be embassy attackers “took the mission from a foreign terrorist group and was preparing to inflict significant damage on properties and human lives.”

A cache of weapons and explosives was seized at the time of their arrest. Some of the suspects had been seen in the vicinity of the UAE embassy in Addis Ababa. Others had received payment from their alleged foreign managers, one of whom was also arrested in Sweden following consultation between Ethiopian and Swedish security agencies.

Ethiopia’s National Intelligence Security Service (NISS) is reportedly working with Sudanese security officials on the plot against the UAE embassy in Khartoum.

Turkey’s Anadolu news agency on Wednesday quoted an NISS statement that identified the leader of the accused terrorists as 35-year-old Ali Ahmed Adaito. Another was identified as Mohammed Abdulkedir, while the mastermind, Ahmed Ismail, was arrested in Sweden.

The UAE attempted to mediate the conflict between the Ethiopian government and its restless Tigray region that became an armed conflict in November. 

Tigrayan militants accused the UAE of backing Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in the conflict and allowing drone strikes to be launched against Tigray from a UAE base in neighboring Eritrea. The government denied these allegations, and outside observers said that while UAE drones were stationed in Eritrea, there was no evidence of them being used in Tigray.

The UAE has long-standing economic ties with both Ethiopia and Eritrea and supported Ahmed’s reforms, which greatly reduced the influence of Tigrayans over Ethiopian government. 

As of Thursday morning, there was no confirmation from the UAE, Sudan, or Sweden about the details of the Ethiopian news story, and the NISS had not indicated which foreign terrorist group allegedly ordered the attack.

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