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Africa’s Guantanamo

Ethiopia sits in the center of one of the most contentious regions in the world. Surrounded by countries like Eritrea, Sudan and Somalia, Ethiopia has long seemed the most stable stage for the US to get a foot hold in the region. In recent years, the Horn of Africa has become the African arena for fighting the War on Terror. Around four years ago, accusations arose that Osama Bin Laden was hiding in southern Somalia and that al-Queada was being harbored by the former Somali government, the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC). In 2007, Ethiopian forces reached Mogadishu and ousted the UIC. Since then, a controversial relationship between the US and Ethiopia has existed.

In 2007, detainees from Southern Somalia were caught in Kenya. Kenyan authorities transported them back to Somali jails where some claim that they were handpicked be transported to Ethiopian jails. These former detainees claim that they had been interviewed by US or British officials and threatened to be handed over to the Ethiopian authorities who have become known for their vicious ways of eliciting information from prisoners. Last year Ethiopia claimed to be holding forty one foreigners suspected of terrorism in its prisons, and this year it claims that it still had ten suspects detained. When asked, Ethiopian officials are unsure as to whether the detainees have even stood trial yet. Regional human rights watch groups are calling this a novel form of rendition. In recent years, Ethiopia has become notorious for accusations of torture of detainees. Ethiopian government officials adamantly deny these claims.

For more reading, click here BBC.

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