Overview: Over the last four years, East Africa violent extremist networks led by a limited number of al-Qa'ida personnel and other violent extremists linked to and supportive of al-Shabaab have increased in capability, numbers, and strength. The threat posed by these disparate and often times fluid decentralized networks, particularly the apparent increase of foreign fighters and other recruits, was a growing concern. The Government of Ethiopia has been historically concerned about the activities of terrorists in neighboring Somalia.

2010 Terrorist Incidents:

  • On April 24, a bomb attack at a tea room in the northern town of Adi Aro near the Eritrean border killed five people and injured 20. Ethiopian officials blamed Eritrean mercenaries for the attack as an attempt to disrupt the May 23 national elections.

  • On May 6, a group of people lobbed hand grenades at a group assembled for a political opposition party meeting in Adaba, Oromia. Two persons died and 26 were wounded. Ruling party and opposition party members blamed each other for the attack, and no group claimed responsibility for it.

  • On May 20, three days before national elections, a bomb exploded on a bus near the Eritrean border wounding 13 people.

Legislation and Law Enforcement: Ethiopia's National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), with broad authority for intelligence, border security, and VIP protection, was responsible for counterterrorism management. The Ethiopian Federal Police worked in conjunction with NISS. Ethiopia viewed instability in Somalia as a critical national security threat and maintained a defensive military presence along the Somali border to stem potential infiltration of extremists into Ethiopia.

Countering Terrorist Finance: In March, Ethiopia's central bank issued a customer due diligence directive for banks. In 2010, Ethiopia enacted anti-money laundering/counterterrorist financing (AML/CTF) legislation providing for the establishment of a financial intelligence unit, the Financial Intelligence Center (FIC). As of December, however, the FIC had not become operational nor did it issue specific AML/CTF directives. In August, Ethiopia applied for observer status in the Eastern and Southern African Anti-Money Laundering Group.

Regional and International Cooperation: Ethiopia was an active participant in AU counterterrorism efforts, participating in the AU's Center for Study and Research on Terrorism, and in meetings of the Committee of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa. Ethiopia acted as a member state of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), and participated actively in IGAD's Capacity Building Program Against Terrorism to bolster the capacity of IGAD member states to mitigate, detect, and deter advances by terrorists.

Countering Radicalization and Violent Extremism: The Government of Ethiopia has established a vocational training program for former Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) members from the ONLF faction that signed a peace agreement with the government in 2010.


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