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AU Aware of Chairperson Assassination Plot in Leaked Cables

  • VOA News

FILE - Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, chairwoman of the African Union Commission.

FILE - Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, chairwoman of the African Union Commission.

The African Union said Thursday it is aware of a leaked South African intelligence report about a 2012 plot to assassinate AU Commission Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

The report was part of a batch of cables leaked to Al Jazeera and the Guardian newspaper. Each began publishing some of the documents this week. A series of the intelligence reports described a plot to kill Dlamini-Zuma in Addis Ababa just after she began serving as the AU's first female chairperson.

"The AU Commission is assuring the public that the Chairperson is safe and sound," the commission said in a statement. It also commended the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) of AU headquarters host Ethiopia for their security efforts.

Intelligence reports released by Al Jazeera on Wednesday say the NISS increased Dlamini-Zuma's security after a request based on "an eminent threat to her." The reports say South African intelligence received alerts that assassins arrived in Addis Ababa three days before Dlamini-Zuma took office with a target date to act 12 days later, but "could carry out the assignment at any time."

There has not been any public indication any attempted attack ever took place.

South African State Security Minister David Mahlobo condemned the intelligence leaks Wednesday, saying the disclosures dangerously undermine security efforts.

"A full investigation has been launched into the purported leakage," Mahlobo said in a statement. "Its veracity and verification will be handled in terms of the protocols governing the management of classified information."

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