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Ethiopia:Commission Report Expected Today

The commission set up by the Ethiopian parliament to look into last year’s post-election violence is expected to release its report to the public today (Thursday). The commission’s former chairman, Wolde-Michael Meshasha who has since fled the country, told VOA the police committed a massacre. But according to news accounts, today’s report will say that the police did not use excessive force. Meanwhile, Ethiopia and Somalia continue to trade accusations. For the first time this week, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi admitted that he sent a few military trainers to Somalia. Now the Islamists who control much of Somalia have reportedly said they have captured an Ethiopian soldier. Bereket Simon is advisor to Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. He tells VOA English to Africa reporter James Butty Ethiopian troops did not engage the Islamists.

“This is no change in terms of deployment of force, I tell you. There is no one who is leading to Baidoa. That’s the fact. The Islamic Courts have not advanced to any one of the areas which are controlled by the government (the Somali Transitional government). So there is no fighting,” Simon said.

Simon denies the Islamists claim that they captured an Ethiopian soldier during fighting in the town of Bu’ale.

“Simply this is a dream which is not true. There was no clash as far as we know. There is no fighting taking place. So there is no captured soldier of anybody for that matter, not from Ethiopia.”

On the inquiry commission set up to probe last year’s post-election violence, Simon says the Meles Zenawi government has yet to see the report. But he says the commission will be making its report to the public Thursday.

“The commission report was submitted, I think last week, to the parliament. The commission has called a press conference for tomorrow (Thursday). They are going to explain their findings, I think,” Simon said.

The advisor to Prime Minister Zenawi defended his government’s decision to expel two European Union officials.

“Well, they have transgressed the boundary of their diplomatic mission and interfered in Ethiopian internal affairs. So basically, they took the wrong measure, and we have reacted to that. That’s what happened,” Simon said.

Simon says the European Union officials were caught while attempting to smuggle what he called “two fugitives” wanted by the government out of the country.

Simon says the two officials’ action was the continuation of that of Anna Gomez, the head of the European Union’s Observer Mission to last May’s parliamentary elections.

“You know she had the mandate to formally deliver the election report to the National Election Board, but before she gave to the National Election Board, she leaked it to the opposition which emboldened the opposition to move in the wrong direction. That’s what she did,” Simon said.

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