Friday, July 06, 2012

US blacklists senior Eritrean officials for aiding Somalia militants

(July 06. 2012, BBC)--The US has imposed sanctions on six people, including Eritrea's spy chief and a senior military officer, for allegedly aiding Somali militants.

A Muslim cleric in Kenya and a Sudanese man are also accused of providing financial and logistical support to the Islamist al-Shabab group. Two other Kenyans named by the US Treasury Department are in jail. Eritrea is already subject to UN sanctions for supporting the al-Qaeda aligned militants, which it denies.

Al-Shabab, which joined al-Qaeda earlier this year, is fighting a UN-backed government in Somalia. The group still controls much of the country but is under pressure from pro-government militias, an African Union force and troops from Ethiopia - which remains Eritrea's bitter foe after their 1998-2000 border war.

"The United States is determined to target those who are responsible for the ongoing bloodshed and instability in Somalia," Adam Szubin, the director of the US Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control, which administers the sanctions, said in a statement.

The move will freeze the assets of the men in the US and block them from doing business in the country. The US statement said that Eritrea's intelligence officer Col Tewolde Habte Negash was the principal architect of his government's relationship with al-Shabab, going back eight years, and was the main co-ordinator of financial and logistical support. Read more from BBC »

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