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News: Eight individuals sentenced for Al-Shabaab ties, involvement in extremist activities

Addis Abeba – The Federal High Court in Dire Dawa, Branch 4 of the Criminal Bench in Jigjiga, has sentenced eight individuals to prison terms ranging from 5 to 12 years for their alleged involvement with the Al-Shabaab terror group and participation in terrorist activities.

State-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporation reported that the defendants were arrested by the Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF) and regional security agencies. The Federal Police Commission’s crime investigators, in collaboration with regional police, conducted the investigation.

Those sentenced in the first case include Hassan Ibrahim (Hafo), Aman Qasim (Salhadin), Jibril (Nasredin) Rasha, Abdulhakim (Zeid) Hussain, and Tamam (Hamza) Sheh Abdo, who each received 11 to 12 years. In the second case, Abdi Tahir Kole, Aden Salad Kadye, and Maali Dr. Gure were sentenced to 5 years each for providing information to the Somalia-based extremist group.

The prosecutions followed a joint investigation by federal police and regional security forces after the defendants were arrested in 2022 during an alleged cross-border incursion by al-Shabaab militants into eastern Ethiopia. The Federal Police Commission’s crime investigators, in collaboration with regional police, have been conducting the investigation since then.

Authorities stated that al-Shabaab militants had infiltrated into eastern Ethiopia’s Somali region from Somalia in an apparent bid to launch attacks. Mustafe Omer, President of Somali Regional State, said at the time that the militants aimed to reach areas with oil resources and advance toward the country’s center through the Afdheer zone. However, their plot was “completely foiled” in joint operations by federal and regional forces.

The Dire Dawa Office of the Ministry of Justice organized the proceedings, and the prosecutor of cross-border criminal cases filed charges against the defendants under Decree No. 1176/2012 for the prevention and control of terrorist crimes. The accused were charged with treason, allegedly having been trained as members of the Al-Shabaab terror group based in Somalia.

During the trial, the prosecutor stated that the defendants had accepted a mission to coerce the government by terrorizing the people and had been involved in terrorist activities in various areas of the Somali region since the end of 2022, while also supporting the terrorist group and providing information.

After considering the prosecutor’s argument for increased punishment and the defendants’ plea for leniency, the court sentenced Hassan Ibrahim (Hafo) to 11 years of imprisonment, while the 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th accused received 12 years each. In the second case, Abdi Kole, Tahir, Aden Salad Kadye, and Maali Dr. Gure were found guilty of providing information to Al-Shabaab and were each sentenced to 5 years in prison. AS

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