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Cablegate: Addis Ababa Eac Meeting to Discuss Possible Threat

P 051547Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2666

UNCLAS ADDIS ABABA 003050

SENSITIVE

DEPT FOR DS/IP/AF, DS/TIA/ITA, AF/EX

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ASEC
SUBJECT: ADDIS ABABA EAC MEETING TO DISCUSS POSSIBLE THREAT
OF TERRORIST ATTACK IN ETHIOPIA

1. (SBU) Summary: On November 5, 2008 the Addis Ababa EAC
convened to discuss the heightened security posture of the
Government of Ethiopia (GOE) in response to the possible
threat of a terrorist attack in Ethiopia. Members present
include: COM, DCM, CLO, CON, MGMT, PAO, DAO, OBO, POL/ECON,
RSO, USAID, ORA and the United States Mission to the African
Union. End Summary.

2. (SBU) On November 5, 2008 the EAC convened to discuss the
heightened security posture of the Government of Ethiopia
(GOE) in response to the increased threat of terrorist
attacks. RSO briefed EAC that GOE noticeably increased
security in Addis Ababa after the Joint Task Force of the
National Intelligence Security Service (NISS) and the
Ethiopian Federal Police (EFP) issued a warning, on November
4, 2008, through Ethiopian media warning the public to
increase their vigilance against possible terrorist attacks.
The statement also encourages the public to report any
suspicious activity or threats to safety via numerous
telephone numbers (011-552-4077, 011-552-6306, 011-157-2121
or 911). Within Addis Ababa EFP have increased their
presence throughout the city and have supplemented their
coverage of large hotels, to include the Hilton and Sheraton,
the airport and other facilities. Hotel security at both the
Hilton and Sheraton have implemented screening of all
vehicles and at the Sheraton have utilized SUV's to block
entrances while vehicles are being screened. EFP have
reportedly also conducted random street and neighborhood
searches. However, the GOE warning did not specify timing,
target/s or method of potential attack/s. Note: Within the
days following the October 29, 2008 bombings in Hargeysa and
Puntland, the EFP arrested over twenty-five individuals
described as "extremist elements" by EFP in the Bethel, Asko
and Lukanda neighborhoods of Addis Ababa. There are
unconfirmed reports of weapons and explosives being seized
during these arrests. End Note.

3. (SBU) EAC members agree that the Mission's security
posture continues to be appropriate for current environment,
although RSO has requested an increase in EFP support in and
around Mission facilities. Note: On November 4, 2008 RSO
completed an intruder drill with LGF and MSG using a scenario
that incorporated tactics employed in the October 29th
bombings in Hargeysa and Puntland. Additionally, RSO has
conducted duck-and-cover drills at USAID, CDC and scheduled
to conduct a drill at Peace Corps. End Note. EAC members
discussed the Marine Ball scheduled on November 15, 2008 and
deferred any action until after RSO, MSG and NISS/EFP
walk-thru scheduled for Monday, November 10, 2008. EAC would
also re-evaluate Mission personnel participation in the
upcoming Great Ethiopian Run scheduled for November 23, 2008.
The EAC agreed to issue a warden message, informing the
public about the GOE's increase in security in response to
the threat of terrorist attack in Ethiopia. Concurrently,
RSO will issue security notice reminding Mission staff to
increase personal security measures in response to GOE's
current security precautions.

4. (SBU) Post will continue to monitor the situation and
report accordingly.
YAMAMOTO
YAMAMOTO

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