Monday, April 20, 2015

Ethiopians Shocked by Islamic State Killings

Many in Ethiopia are reeling from the news that several Ethiopians were killed in Libya by the Islamic State group, which over the weekend released a video purporting to show the killings.

The killings, which have shocked many in the predominantly Christian country, were condemned by Pope Francis and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

The victims were planning to go to Europe by boat from Libya but were captured and then killed by the Islamic extremists, said grieving family members and government officials. Ethiopia's government on Monday declared three days of mourning.

Pope Francis on Monday sent a letter to the patriarch of Ethiopian Tewahedo Orthodox Church, Abuna Matthias, expressing "distress and sadness" at the "further shocking violence perpetrated against innocent Christians in Libya.

Ethiopia's Desisa Wins Boston Marathon; Kenya's Rotich First Among Women

Ethiopia's Lelisa Desisa has won the elite men's Boston Marathon and Caroline Rotich of Kenya finished first in the elite women's division.

Delisa, who previously won the race in 2013, won today with a time of 2:09:17. Yemane Adhane Tsegay (2:09:48), also of Ethiopia, finished second; Kenyans Wilson Chebet (2:10:22) and Bernard Kipyego finished third and fourth, respectively. Dathan Ritzenhein, seventh, was the highest-placed American. Defending champion Meb Keflezighi, also American, finished eighth in 2:12:42.

Rotich crossed the finish line on Boylston Street with a time of 2:24:55. Mare Didaba (2:24:59) and Buzunesh Deba (2:25:09), both of Ethiopia, finished second and third. American Desiree Linden finished fourth with a time of 2:25:39.

Desisa last won the race in 2013 — the same year as the deadly bombing near the race's finish line. He returned his medal to the city in honor of those killed and wounded.

Ethiopian bloggers on trial in case seen as crackdown on free expression

Yikanu Yelma, Soliyana Shimeles' mother, describes the search of her house by security forces following the arrests of the Zone9 bloggers. Her daughter Soliyana, who has been charged in absentia, was out of country during the arrest, and is one of three Zone9 members who now live abroad. (Simona Foltyn/Washington Post)
April 20 at 3:30 AM
They met online in 2010 while raising money for a charity case: nine young, university-educated Ethio­pian professionals. Eventually, they decided to launch a blog about social and civic issues in Africa’s second-most-populous nation.
“Initially, it was not about political activism or about criticizing the government. It was to connect with like-minded people,” said Soliyana Shimeles, 28, one of the founders of the blog Zone 9.
Today, six of the bloggers are in jail facing terrorism charges in what human rights and press-freedom advocates call an example of an alarming crackdown on government critics.
The Zone 9 bloggers are accused of “creating serious risk to the safety or health of the public” under the country’s controversial anti-terrorism law passed in 2009. The charges further allege the bloggers were linked to Ginbot 7, an opposition movement based abroad that the government labeled a terrorist group in 2011. The bloggers have pleaded innocent.
Their attorney, Ameha Mekonnen, has complained that the charges offer few particulars. The trial began at the end of March but was adjourned until after the national elections in May. If convicted, the defendants could receive death sentences.

White House condemns ISIS video that purportedly shows killing of Ethiopian Christians in Libya

The White House Sunday evening condemned a video purportedly showing a mass execution of Ethiopian Christians in Libya by terrorists affiliated with Islamic State.
"We express our condolences to the families of the victims and our support to the Ethiopian government and people as they grieve for their fellow citizens," National Security Council spokesperson Bernadette Meehan said in a statement. "That these terrorists killed these men solely because of their faith lays bare the terrorists' vicious, senseless brutality."
In the video released Sunday, Islamic State militants in Libya shot and beheaded groups of captive Ethiopian Christians. The attack widens the circle of nations affected by the group's atrocities while showing its growth beyond a self-declared caliphate in Syria and Iraq.
The release of the 29-minute video comes a day after Afghanistan's president blamed the extremists for a suicide attack in his country that killed at least 35 people -- and underscores the chaos gripping Libya after its 2011 civil war and the killing of dictator Muammar Qaddafi.
It also mirrored a film released in February showing militants beheading 21 captured Egyptian Christians on a Libyan beach, which immediately drew Egyptian airstrikes on the group's suspected positions in Libya. Whether Ethiopia would -- or could -- respond with similar military force remains unclear.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Hundreds of Migrants Believed Dead in Shipwreck Off Libya

Boat capsizes after passengers rush to one side
ROME—As many as 700 migrants are believed to have died in a shipwreck off the Libyan coast, piling pressure on European leaders who have been stymied in their search for a solution to the migration problem by rising anti-immigration sentiment, chaos in Libya and the crush of asylum seekers in some countries.

According to the Italian Coast Guard, a 20-meter-long fishing boat, which was heavily overcrowded and had departed from Libya, launched a distress call during the night Saturday. The Italians sent a Portuguese mercantile vessel, the King Jacob, to help the boat, but when the migrants, all sub-Saharan Africans, saw the ship approach, they rushed to one side, capsizing the boat, said the coast guard.

Ethiopia condemns Libya killings, not sure if its citizens

ADDIS ABABA, April 19 (Reuters) - Ethiopia said on Sunday it had not been able to verify that about 30 people shown in a video being shot and beheaded by Islamic State in Libya were
Ethiopian Christians, but said it condemned the "atrocious act." "We have seen the video but our embassy in Cairo has not been able to confirm that the victims are Ethiopian nationals,"
government spokesman Redwan Hussein told Reuters. "Nonetheless, the Ethiopian government condemns the atrocious act."

He said Ethiopia, which does not have an embassy in Libya, would help repatriate Ethiopians if they wanted to leave Libya.

ISIS ‘executes’ Ethiopia Christians in Libya-Pictures

ISIS group on Sunday released a video purporting to show the executions of some 30 Ethiopian Christians captured in Libya.
One group of about 12 men are seen being beheaded by militants on a beach