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Eritrea reduces support for al-Shabaab , says UN

07-19-2012 02:14 BJT

A UN Report now says Eritrea has reduced its support for the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab Militant group in Somalia under international pressure but that its still violating UN Security Council resolutions and remains a destabilizing influence. The UN Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea, which investigates violations of an arms embargo on both nations, said in a report to the Council that it had found no evidence of direct Eritrean support for al-Shabaab in the past year. The Council imposed the embargo on the tiny east African state of Eritrea in 2009 over concerns its government was providing finance and weapons to al-Shabab - charges Asmara denied.
Eritrea has long been accused of supporting the Islamist al-Shabaab militants in Somalia…accusations it has always denied….While the new report by the UN monitoring group in Somalia and Eritrea still does not absolve Asmara from blame its says that support has somewhat waned.

The report to be published later this week says this was "a symptom of growing friction between the authorities in Asmara and al-Shabab's leadership" as well as the "result of enhanced international scrutiny, which has made direct support, a much riskier undertaking than in the past. And Although it is possible that the Eritrean authorities have continued to provide financial and other forms of assistance to Somali armed opposition groups, without their activities being detected, it is the Monitoring Group's assessment that any such assistance is negligible,"

A first round of sanctions was imposed by the UN Security Council in December 2009, in an attempt to draw Eritrea away from supporting "armed groups" in Somalia which destabilize the region. Another round of sanctions followed in December 2011 .The al-Shabaab had controlled much of southern Somalia since 2007, imposing a strict version of Islamic law in areas under its control. But over the last year it has been forced out of the Somali capital Mogadishu and other parts of the south by the coordinated military operations of UN -backed African troops. Last year, the Monitoring Group alleged Eritrea was behind a failed plot to bomb an African Union summit in Ethiopia, had bankrolled known members of Al-Shabaab in Kenya and had been involved in the smuggling of weapons through Sudan and Egypt.

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Editor:James |Source: CNTV

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