Eritrea blames neighbours for Somalia’s woes

By Branko Brkic 22 October 2009

Somalia’s violence has been fuelled by interference from neighbouring countries, says Eritrea’s President Isaias Afwerki. He blames Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti for having fanned the conflict. And conflict there is, with Kenya and Ethiopia both accused of recent cross-border raids, following a 2006 Ethiopian invasion and fairly quick withdrawal. The Eritrean president is a former Marxist guerrilla, so being godless, one would think that he has no time for radical Islamist groups. But a week or so ago, Somalia’s foreign minister Ali Ahmed "Jengeli" said Eritrea should be punished for threatening the Horn of Africa region by supporting militant al Shabaab rebels, a group Washington says is linked to al-Qaeda. The US, Britain, the UN and the African Union also accuse Eritrea of supporting al Shabaab, with Britain telling the UN Security Council it is ready to punish Eritrea. But Eritrea’s Isaias says because the US is preoccupied with hunting terrorists, it complicates the peace process. We say, what peace process?

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