US: Eritrea backs Somali insurgents

The Geeska Africa Online news service, reporting from Nairobi April 10, quoted Jendayi Frazer, US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, accusing Eritrea of backing the Islamist insurgents in Somalia. “No insurgency group can survive without support from neighboring countries, certainly Eritrea is the country of greatest concern,” Frazer said. She added that while the “global jihadist network” is also supporting the Shabaab insurgents, Eritrea will do “anything that will hurt” its southern neighbor. “This is very much aimed at Ethiopia,” she said.

Frazer made the comments after returning to Nairobi after five hours in Baidoa—the first trip to Somalia by a US official in over a decade. Her comments on Eritrea were also picked up, in abbreviated form, by the New York Times.

The Eritrean government dismissed the charges. “The Eritrean government is not disposed to reply to such a statement by an amateur diplomat that does not reflect the U.S. administration’s official stance,” a statement posted on the government Web site said. (Reuters, April 10)

Note that Frazer has made such allegations before.

See our last posts on Eritrea and Somalia and the struggle for the Horn.