Mediterranean migrants crisis: Is military force the solution? By Jasmine ColemanBBC News 58 minutes ago From the sectionEurope

 

Rescued migrants stand aboard the Italian Guardia di Finanza vessel Denaro upon arrival to the Sicilian harbour of Catania on 23 April 2015.
 

European leaders are scrambling to find a way of stemming the flow of migrants across the Mediterranean after a large spike in deaths drew public condemnation.

The most eye-catching of the draft proposals being discussed is the push for a military mandate to destroy boats used by people traffickers before they set out to sea.

The idea has the backing of Italy’s Defence Minister Roberta Pinotti, who told Italian TV: “The plans for military intervention are there.”

But would military action really work – and if not, what would?

A migrant from Nigeria stands in a "boat graveyard" 22 April 2015 in Lampedusa, Italy.
A migrant from Nigeria stands in a “boat graveyard” in Lampedusa, Italy

Boats are “cheap and plentiful” and easily replaced, he added.

And while we do not know what form a direct attack on the vessels might take, Mr Northwood, a former captain in the UK’s Royal Navy, said this approach could result in unwanted loss of life.

Hans Lucht, writer and senior researcher at the Danish Institute for International Studies, points out that a mandate from the EU – possibly also the UN – would be needed for any military activity.

The authorities in Libya have admitted to the BBC that they rarely stop traffickers, as the collapse of central government and the rise of Islamic State militants leave the country in chaos.

It may be a challenge to get some counties, especially Russia, to go along with a new intervention in the country, Mr Lucht says.

And destroying the boats would not necessary stop the trafficking.

“We know little about the smugglers. They don’t have a main office that you can walk into and arrest everybody,” says Mr Lucht.

“Reports show that criminal activity and traffic in illicit goods – not just human beings but also drugs, weapons and smuggled goods – have become widespread and have strong local and ethnic ties.

“You can’t just expect to hit one or two smuggling operations and then the whole thing goes away.”

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Send them back

Earlier this week, Australian PM Tony Abbott urged Europe to follow his country’s lead, saying: “The only way you can stop the deaths is, in fact, to stop the boats.”

Australia detains all asylum seekers who arrive by boat, holding them in offshore processing camps.

In this October 14, 2009, file photo, Sri Lankan migrants bound for Australia remain on board their boat docked at a port in Cilegon, Banten province, Indonesia, after they were intercepted by the Indonesian navy
Sri Lankan migrants bound for Australia remain on their boat after being intercepted by the Indonesian navy

Military vessels also intercept migrant boats, towing them back to the country they came from or sending asylum seekers back in inflatable dinghies or lifeboats.

The EU’s proposals suggest considering “options for an emergency relocation mechanism” and a “programme for rapid return”.

Australia’s approach has been hailed by some European politicians, but criticised by rights groups and the UN.

Paul Barrett, a former secretary of Australia’s defence department, told the UK’s Guardian newspaper that returning vessels to Libya was very different from turning them back to countries such as Indonesia.

“If you turn around boats that are fleeing from Libya and send them straight back to Libya you’re injecting them straight back into the danger that they’ve fled,” he said.

Any operation would be obliged to observe the international legal principle of “non-refoulement” – meaning that people fleeing conflict or persecution are not sent back to a life-threatening place.

Meanwhile Gerry Northwood said his experience in Somalia showed that migrants were so not easily deterred, with the same people attempting a crossing a “third, forth, or fifth time around”.

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Boost naval patrols

He said the main lesson from the Atalanta anti-piracy operation is the need for co-operation between countries, as well as with the commercial shipping sector.

Other proposals being debated in Brussels include significantly boosting the EU’s maritime patrol to help rescue migrants – something aid agencies have long been calling for.

Some EU countries have argued that such operations encourage more people to attempt the perilous journey.

But Mr Norwood said he backed the increase. “There is value in these patrols in terms of maintaining law and order on the high seas,” he said.

Migrants (mainly from Africa), spotted 100m south of Lampedusa and rescued by Italian units deployed to Operation Mare Nostrum
Italy’s Mare Nostrum rescue patrol ended last year after EU leaders said they could not afford it

The only real solution to the problem, however, is to improve conditions ashore, while ensuring the criminal networks “do not have any targets”, he added.

For pirates off the Somali coast, this means protecting vulnerable ships. But in the Mediterranean it means working to stop the flow of migrants.

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Let them in

The EU’s plans include supporting UN efforts to help form a stable government in Libya, and much emphasis has been put on the need to improve conditions in the countries the migrants come from.

The majority of migrants who arrived by sea in 2014 came from Syria, where a brutal civil war has raged for more than four years.

Activists and migrants take part in a march to outline the Mediterranean migrants crisis around the European Council in Brussels, on 23 April 2015
Activists and migrants protest outside the European Council in Brussels

In 2013 Sweden announced that Syrians seeking asylum there would be granted permanent residency.

And the deaths of more than 800 people in the Mediterranean on Sunday has only served to highlight calls for countries to let more migrants in.

“The root cause of people getting on rickety boats or paying smugglers in the first place is that they have been legally barred from travelling by any other means,” says John Lee from the action group Open Borders.

A rescued migrant with a number on his right arm, sits on bus after disembark off the Italian Guardia di Finanza vessel Denaro at the Sicilian harbour of Catania on 23 April 2015

“If EU countries let these people buy a plane ticket in the first place, you wouldn’t have the sort of deadly chaos we’re seeing now in the Mediterranean.”

European leaders facing economic pressures and concerns over immigration in their own countries are unlikely to transform their policies on this issue.

But Mr Lee argues that the problem will therefore remain.

“Ultimately if you prevent broad swathes of people from living in societies governed by safe and sane rule of law, simply because they weren’t lucky enough to be born into those societies, you are going to see civil disobedience to this arbitrary exclusion.”

ኤርትራዊ ሃገራዊ ባይቶ ንዲሞክራስያዊ ለውጢ ምምሕዳር ዞባ ኤውሮጳ ጨንፈር ካስል -by gereger

ኤርትራዊ ሃገራዊ ባይቶ ንዲሞክራስያዊ ለውጢ ምምሕዳር ዞባ ኤውሮጳ ጨንፈር ካስል Eritrean National Council for Democratic Change Administration of Europe Zone Branch of Kassel ህዝባዊ ኣኼባ ኣብ ከተማ ካስልን ከባቢኣን ጀርመን ንቀዳም ዕለት 25.04.2015 ካብ ሰዓት 14.00-17.00 ንኡስ ጨንፈር ኤርትራዊ ሃገራዊ ባይቶ ንዲሞክራሲያዊ ለዊጢ ካስልን ከባቢኣን ብህልዊ ፓሊቲካዊ ኩነታት ሃገራዊ ባይቶ ክንመያየጥ ስለዝኾና ኩሉ ኤርትራዊ ኣብ ካስልን ከባቢኣን ዝቅመጥ ብሃገራዊ ባይቶ ዝግደስን ሓባራዊ ቃልሲ ደንበ ተቃዉሞ ዝድግፍን ክሳተፎ ጻዊዒትና ነቅርብ፡፡

ኣጀንዳ፡

1. ሰላምታ

2. ሓበሬታ

3. ሰነዳት ካብ ኣሰናዳኢተ ሽማግለ ሃገራዊ ባይቶ

4. ኩነታት ኣካያዲት ሽማግለ ጨንፈር ጀርመን

5. ጸብጻብ ወርሓዊ ውጽኢት ንኡስ ጨንፈር ካስል

6. ዝተፈላለየ ቦታ፡

ክለብ ማሕበረሰብ ደለይቲ ፍትሒ

ብዳሓን ምጹ

ሽማግለ ካስልን ከባቢኣን 14.04.2015

Ethiopian mass protest against IS killings in Libya 22 April 2015 From the sectionAfrica

People at a rally in Ethiopia's capital the Addis Ababa, 22 April 2015
Ethiopians have been shocked by the killings which have been condemned throughout the world

Tens of thousands of Ethiopians have attended a rally in the capital, Addis Ababa, condemning the murders of Ethiopians by Islamic State militants.

More than 20 migrant workers – most thought to be Ethiopian Christians – were killed by the Libyan branch of IS.

It released videos on Sunday of some of the men being beheaded and others shot.

Ethiopia’s prime minister warned the protesters about the dangers of illegal immigration and described the killings as “Satanic”.

IS and other jihadist groups are active in many towns in Libya, which has been torn by civil conflict since last year – and has been unstable since long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi was toppled in 2011.

Ethiopian demonstrators in Addis Ababa hold a banner during a rally - Wednesday 22 April 2015
There was a tone of defiance at the rally
Protesters hold a banner showing two of the people killed by IS in Ethiopia
Demonstrators held up placards of some of those who were killed
Relatives of some of the victims at the rally in Meskel Square
Some of the relatives of the victims also attended the rally in Meskel Square
Orthodox Christians at the Addis Ababa rally in Ethiopia - Wednesday 22 April 2015
And religious leaders from the Orthodox Church were in the crowd

“This week’s cruel act which was committed against our citizens in Libya not only gives a glimpse into terrorism, but also shows the Satanic acts and objectives of those who committed the act,” Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn told the mass rally in Addis Ababa’s Meskel Square.

He also urged unity in the fight against what he called “home-grown extremism” in Ethiopia, and said those who chose to an illegal route to migrate risked falling prey to human traffickers.

“It is clear to everyone that our fellow citizens all have the right to live and work in any part of the world. But the illegal migration that leads to unnecessary suffering and death carried out by illegal human traffickers must stop.”

However, later the government-condoned protest broke into scuffles with some parts of the crowd throwing stones, chanting anti-government slogans and clashing with police.

People scamper from police in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, after a mass rally condemning the IS killings - 22 April 2015
There were some scuffles towards the end of the event
People at a rally in Ethiopia's capital the Addis Ababa, 22 April 2015
Elections will be held in Ethiopia next month
People at a rally in Ethiopia's capital the Addis Ababa, 22 April 2015
Some complain that the failure to raise living standards fuels the flow of migrants

Police fired rounds of tear gas at some towards the end of the demonstration, the AFP news agency reports.

The rally comes a month before Ethiopia holds parliamentary elections, the first since the death in 2012 of long-time leader Meles Zenawi.

ደቂንስትዮን ካብ ወጻኢ ሃገራት ተመሊሶም ኣብ ኤርትራ ዝቕመጡን ናብ ታዕሊም ክወርዱ መጸዋዕታ ቀሪቡ Radio Erena: 21 April 2015

 womesawa

 

መንግስቲ ኤርትራ ከም መቐጸልታ ናይቲ ክሳብ 65 ዓመት ንዝዕድሚኦም ኣቦታት ከካይዶ ዝጸንሐ ወትሃደራዊ ታዕሊም፣ ኩለን ካብ 18 ክሳብ 45 ዓመት ንዝዕድሚኤን ደቂንስትዮ ከምኡ ድማ ካብ ወጻኢ ተመሊሶም ኣብ ኤርትራ ዝቕመጡ 2 ካብ ሚእቲ ዝኸፈሉን ናብ ታዕሊም ክወርዱ ደጊሙ መጸዋዕታ ዘርጊሑ።

ካብ 18 ክሳብ 45 ዓመት ንዝዕድምኤን ኤርትራውያን ደቂንስትዮ ናብ ታዕሊም ክወርዳ ምድላዋት ይግበር ከምዘሎን ኣብ ገለ ምምሕዳራት ከተማ ኣስመራ ድማ ወትሃደራዊ ታዕሊም ዝግብአን ደቂንስትዮ ናብ ናይ ታዕሊም ቦታ ክወርዳ ዝብል ሓበሬታ ተዘርጊሑ ከምዘሎ ሬድዮ ኤረና ኣቐዲማ ምሕባራ ዝፍለጥ’ዩ።

መንግስቲ ኤርትራ፣ ኣቐዲሙ’ውን ክሳብ 65 ዓመት ዝዕድሚኦም ኣቦታት ከይተረፉ ናይ ሓደ ወርሒ ታዕሊም ክወስዱ ኣገዲዱ’ዩ።

ናይ ግዜ ገደብ ዘይብሉ ሃገራዊ ኣገልግሎት ናብ 18 ኣዋርሕ ክምለስ ምዃኑ ብዓሎቕ ወረ ዘናፍስ ዘሎ መንግስቲ ኤርትራ፣ በንጻሩ ድማ ኩሉ ብረት ክዓጥቕ ዝኽእል ኤርትራዊ ወትሃደራዊ ታዕሊም ክወስድ የገድድ ምህላዉ ይግለጽ።

ኣውራ ጠንቂ ስደት ኤርትራውያን ምዃኑ ዝንገረሉ ናይ ግዜ ገደብ ዘይብሉ ሃገራዊ ኣገልግሎት ናብ 18 ኣዋርሕ ክምለስ ወከልቲ ሃገራት ሕብረት ኤውሮጳ ንመንግስቲ ኤርትራ ኣብ ዘቕረብዎ ሕቶ፣ ኣማኻሪ ፕረዚደንት ኣቶ የማነ ገብርኣብ እቲ ጉዳይ ኣብ መስርሕ ከምዘሎን ድሕሪ 2016 ኣብ ዘሎ ግዜ ድማ ኣብ ግብሪ ክውዕል ከምዝኽእልን ገሊጹ’ዩ።

እንተኾነ ወከልቲ ሃገራት ሕብረት ኤውሮጳ፣ እቲ ንዓኣቶም ጥራይ ዝተዋህቦም መግለጺ፣ ወግዓዊ ኮይኑ ንህዝቢ ክንገር’ዮም ዝጠልቡ።

መንግስቲ ኤርትራ፣ ብጉልባብ ሃገራዊ ኣገልግሎትን ጸጥታ ሃገርን ኣብ ልዕሊ ዜጋታቱ ማእለያ ዘይብሉ ግፍዕታት ይፍጽም ከምዘሎ ዝፍለጥ’ዩ።

Traffico di esseri umani, 24 indagati: nomi e foto dei fermati

 

 

 

Mediterranean migrants: Details emerge of deadly capsize 21 April 2015 From the section Europe

Mohammed Ali Malek, 21 April
Mohammed Ali Malek was arrested when the Italian coastguard vessel docked in Sicily

Prosecutors in Italy say the captain, who survived and faces multiple homicide charges, crashed the boat by mistake against a merchant rescue ship.

The capsize is the deadliest recorded in the Mediterranean, the UN says.

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) says deaths in 2015 are 30 times higher than the same period last year and could rise to 30,000.

Media captionAs Yolande Knell reports, it is believed up to 60 children could have been trapped below deck when the boat went down

Italian police said they issued an arrest warrant for the Tunisian captain of the boat, Mohammed Ali Malek, 27, and crew member Mahmud Bikhit, a 25-year-old Syrian, as soon as the coastguard vessel Bruno Gregoretti docked.

At the scene: BBC’s James Reynolds in Mineo, Sicily

More than a dozen survivors of the weekend shipwreck are being guarded in a house inside the Mineo migrant centre.

They’ve become the most important witnesses in an official criminal investigation into the wreck of their boat. Italian officials instructed us not to approach or speak to them.

After midday the survivors came out of the house and were escorted the few steps to a waiting minibus. The survivors – all young men – boarded the bus in single file and in silence.

One of them sat next to the window. I caught his eye and signalled a thumbs up or thumbs down sign as a question. He replied with a thumbs up – and then broke out into a smile.

The survivors were then driven a short distance to the dining hall, where they were served a lunch of pasta, rice, chicken and vegetables. They ate in silence.

Special report: Europe’s migrant crisis

Capt Malek was accused of causing a shipwreck, multiple first degree homicides and being accomplice to clandestine immigration. Mr Bikhit was accused only of the third charge.

The charges on both men have yet to be formally laid by a judge. The pair will appear in court on Friday.

The Italian prosecutors said there appeared to be two causes of the capsize.

Mohammed Ali Malek, 27, (left) and Mahmud Bikhit, 25, 21 April
Malek (left) and Bikhit will appear in court in Catania, Sicily, on Friday

They said the migrant boat captain had tried to come alongside the rescue vessel and “accidentally caused the small fishing boat to collide with the bigger merchant ship”.

The second cause was the “overcrowding of the fishing boat, so the boat was tipped off balance by the wrong manoeuvre, causing the migrants on board to shift. It then capsized”.

Chief prosecutor Giovanni Salvi said the huge death toll was as a result of so many migrants being locked below on the three-deck boat.

More on the Mediterranean’s deadly migrant routes

The prosecutors said it appeared the merchant vessel, the Portuguese ship King Jacob, was not to blame.

The IOM’s Flavio Di Giacomo said the survivors were “very tired, very shocked” when they arrived in Catania.

Adrian Edwards, a spokesman for the UN refugee agency, said it had interviewed most of the 28.

Media captionBBC Arabic’s Nawal Assad reports from Sicily, where migrants have been expressing their gratitude for the opportunity of a new life in Italy

He said about 350 on board were believed to be Eritreans, with refugees from other nations including Syria, Somalia, Sierra Leone, Mali, Senegal, Gambia, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia and Bangladesh.

More than 1,700 migrants are believed to have died so far in 2015.

IOM spokesman Joel Millman told reporters in Geneva: “The 2015 death toll now is more than 30 times last year’s total at this date… when just 56 deaths of migrants had been reported on the Mediterranean.

Media captionThe BBC’s Damian Grammaticas spoke to one survivor of the boat which capsized off Rhodes

“IOM now fears the 2014 total of 3,279 migrant [deaths] on the Mediterranean may be surpassed this year in a matter of weeks, and could well top 30,000 by the end of the year, based on the current death toll. It could actually be even higher.”

Separately in Greece, two Syrian men rescued from a vessel which ran aground off Rhodes on Monday, killing three of about 90 migrants on board, will face charges linked to illegal transportation.

UK pledge

The charges came after the EU set out a package of measures to try to ease the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean.

They include an increase in the financial resources of Frontex, the border agency runs the EU’s Mediterranean rescue service Triton, and an extension of Triton’s operational area.

The EU had been criticised over the scope of Triton, which replaced the larger Italian operation Mare Nostrum at the end of last year.

On Tuesday, UK PM David Cameron said it was right to extend the rescue efforts and that Britain would contribute.

There will also be a new campaign to destroy traffickers’ boats.

An emergency EU leaders’ summit on the migrant issue will be held on Thursday.

Are you or anyone you know affected by the issues in this story? Have you made the crossing from Libya to Europe? Send us your experiences.

ኣብ ሊብያ 30 ንጹሃት ኢትዮጵያውን ስደተኛታት ዝቐተለ ኣረሜናዊ ዳዒሽ ኤርትራውያን ሒዙ ከምዘሎ’ውን ተገሊጹ Radio Erena: 20 April 2015

 

  30ethi

ኣብ ሊብያ ዝንቀሳቐስ እስላማዊ ጉጅለ ዳዒሽ፣ 30 ኢትዮጵያውያን ስደተኛታት ኣመንቲ ክርስትና እናሰየፈን ብጥይት እናረሸንን ዘርኢ ቪድዮ ዘርጊሑ።እቲ ኣረሜናዊ ሽበራዊ ጉጅለ ነቶም ናብ ስደት ዘምርሑ ዝነበሩ ንጹሃት ኢትዮጵያ ኣመንቲ ክርስትና ኣብ ሊብያ ንልዕሊ ወርሒ ሒዝዎም ድሕሪ ምጽናሕ’ዩ፣ ብዘስካሕክሕ ኣገባብ እናሰየፎምን እናረሸኖምን ዘርኢ ቪድዮ ዘርጊሑ ዘሎ።

እስላማዊት ሃገር ንምምስራት ከምዝንቀሳቐስ ዝገልጽ ኣረሜናዊ ሽበራዊ ጉጅለ ዳዒሽ፣ ቁጽሮም ብልክዕ ዘይተፈልጡ ኤርትራውያን ዝርከብዎም ስደተኛታት ሒዙ ከምዘሎ’ውን ቅድሚ ሒደት ሳምንታት ካብ ሊብያ ናብ ሬድዮ ኤረና ዝደወሉ ስደተኛታት ገሊጾም’ዮም።

እቲ ጉጅለ ነቶም ካብ ፖለቲካዊን ቁጠባውን መከራታት ካብ ገዛእ ዓዶም ሃዲሞም ናብ ሃገራት ኤውሮጳ ብምእታው ዑቕባ ንምሕታት ንሊብያ ከም መሰጋገሪ ክጥቀሙላ ናብታ ሃገር ዝኣተው ንጹሃት ስደተኛታት ብዘስካሕክሕ ኣገባብ ምስያፉን ምርሻኑን ክኹነን ዝግብኦ ሰይጣናዊ ተግባር’ዩ።

ጉጅለ ዳዒሽ ኣቐዲሙ’ውን ካብ ዶብ ግብጺ ንዝጨወዮም ግብጻውያን ኣመንቲ ክርስትና ኣብ ገማግም ባሕሪ እናሰየፎም ዘርኢ ቪድዮ ድሕሪ ምዝርግሑ፣ መንግስቲ ግብጺ ኣብ ልዕሊ መደበራት ናይቲ ኣረሜናዊ ጉጅለ ናይ ነፈርቲ ደብዳብ ከምዘካየደ ኣይርሳዕን።

ካብ ናይ ኢትዮጵያ ዜና ከይወጻእና፣ ኣብ ደቡብ ኣፍሪቃ፣ ኢትዮጵያውያን ኣብ ልዕሊ ዝርከብዎም ዜጋታት ዝተፈላለያ ሃገራት ዝካየድ ዘሎ መጥቃዕቲ ብህጹጽ ደው ክብል ቀዳማይ ሚኒስተር ኢትዮጵያ ኣቶ ሃይለማርያም ደሳለኝ ንመንግስቲ ደቡብ ኣፍሪቃ ተማሕጺኑ።

ኣቶ ሃይለማርያም ደሳለኝ ነዚ ምሕጽንታ ዘቕረበ፣ ምስ ፕረዚደንት ሩዋንዳ ፖል ካጋመ ኣብ ኣዲስ ኣበባ ተራኺብኑ ድሕሪ ምዝርራቡ’ዩ።

ፕረዚደንት ሩዋንዳ ፖል ካጋመ ኣብ መበል ራብዓይ ዋዕላ ጣና ንምስታፍ’ዩ ናብ ኢትዮጵያ ኣትዩ።

ኣብቲ ኣብ ጉዳይ ጸጥታ ኣፍሪቃ ብፍላይ ድማ ኣብ ጉዳይ ሽበራ ዘተኮረ ዋዕላ ጣና መራሕቲ ሃገራት ሩዋንዳ፣ ኡጋንዳ፣ ማሊ፣ ሶማልያ፣ ቦትስዋና፣ ደቡብ ሱዳንን ከምኡ ድማ መራሒ ርእሰ ምምሕዳር ፑንትላንድን ከምዝተሳተፉ’ውን ክፍለጥ ተኻኢሉ።

እቲ ዋዕላ ብፕረዚደንት ናይጀርያ ነበረ ኦሉሶጉን ኦባሳንጆ’ዩ ተመሪሑ።

Ethiopia’s Anti-Extremist Policies Could Put It in Militants’ Crosshairs BY SIOBHÁN O’GRADYAPRIL 20, 2015 – 6:01 PMSIOBHAN.OGRADY@SIOB

Ethiopia’s Anti-Extremist Policies Could Put It in Militants’ Crosshairs

 

The United States for years has praised Ethiopia’s fight against terrorism in East Africa, but that hard-line approach to extreme Islamism may have contributed to the bloody execution of dozens of Ethiopian Christians who were targeted by the Islamic State in Libya.

Addis Ababa has been long consumed with a bigger threat on their borders — against the militant group al-Shabab in neighboring Somalia. The slaughter of two groups of Christians, in Libya likely seeking work or passage to Europe, newly confronts Ethiopia with the world’s fastest-spreading insurgency.

Militants in Libya claiming affiliation with the Islamic extremistsdocumented the brutal killings of two groups of Ethiopian Christian men, whom they accuse of belonging to “the hostile Ethiopian Orthodox Church.” Men in one group, clad in orange jumpsuits on the beach, were beheaded. Others, dressed entirely in black, were lined up and shot.

On Monday, J. Peter Pham, the director of the Africa Center at the Atlantic Council think tank in Washington, told Foreign Policy that Ethiopia’s involvement in the fight against al-Shabab and other local extremist groups could make Ethiopians an attractive target for the Islamic State.

“The Ethiopian government in the last few years has taken a much stronger line against political Islamism in their own country,” Pham said. “The Ethiopian government acting against jihadists in the horn of Africa and in their own country to repress acts of political Islamism in jihadist circles makes them an attractive target for extremist groups.”

A State Department official told FP Monday that despite broad cooperation between the United States and Ethiopia on anti-terrorism initiatives, there is currently no collaboration between the two governments on a specifically anti-Islamic State program. The State Department’s focus in Ethiopia has landed more heavily on countering al-Shabab, the extremist group responsible for attacks in Somalia and Kenya. The United States has provided equipment, training, and technical support to help counter the group and maintain peace in the region.

“Ethiopia is an important partner in regional-led efforts to counter terrorist group al-Shabab and bring stability to Somalia,” said the official, who refused to be identified by name in this story, following department guidelines. “Ethiopia is contributing over 4,400 personnel deployed as part of the AU [African Union] mission in Somalia.”

The execution is just the most recent example of the Islamic State targeting Christians in its campaign to implement its extreme version of Sharia law in the areas it occupies or controls. In Iraq and Syria, the group has destroyed Christian communities and historical sites. The militants claim they offer Christians the opportunity to convert to Islam or pay a tax to continue practicing Christianity unharmed.

The Islamic State also has repeatedly targeted Shiite Muslims, secular Sunnis, and Iraq’s minority Yazidi population.

This group’s murders mirrored the beheadings of a group of Egyptian Coptic Christians on a Libyan beach in February, and the video even features the same English-speaking militant who narrated that execution. The Egyptian government launched airstrikes just hours after that video’s release.

The Ethiopian government, however, has not yet announced any kind of retaliatory strike, and the Ethiopian embassy in Washington did not immediately return a request for comment. Just four weeks out from a general election, Pham said it is unlikely the ruling party, which is vying for reelection, would launch any military effort that could be seen as controversial by many Ethiopians hoping not to get involved in an international conflict.

But the government did declare three days of mourning Monday, and said lawmakers will use that time to deliberate a response to the killings.

In a press briefing Monday, White House spokesman Josh Earnest maintained the U.S. focus on stopping the spread of Islamic State-related attacks throughout the region. “That these terrorists killed these men solely because of their faith points to the terrorists’ vicious, senseless brutality,” Earnest said.

Earnest noted some claims of affiliation with the Islamic State may lack validity. But he also said the possibility of extremists’ expansion into Libya should be taken seriously — and is a major reason President Barack Obama is focused on eliminating the Islamic State at its roots in Iraq and Syria.

Obama remains focused on curbing the Islamic State, and will “not allow it to continue to spread across the region in a way that it could further destabilize an already volatile region of the world,” Earnest said.

UN chief deplores ‘barbaric’ killing of Ethiopian nationals in Libya

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras (file)

20 April 2015 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has condemned in the strongest terms the killing of a number of Ethiopian nationals in Libya by extremists affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), according to a United Nations spokesperson.

In a statement released earlier today, Mr. Ban said he “utterly deplores” the targeting of people on the basis of their religious affiliation and expressed his condolences to the families of those who lost their lives as a result of the attack.

The Secretary-General reaffirmed that the UN-backed political talks remained “the best chance” for Libyans to overcome their country’s crisis and encourage the parties to make all the necessary compromises to reach an agreement.

“Only by working together will Libyans be able to start building a state and institutions that can confront terrorism,” concluded the statement from Mr. Ban’s spokesperson.

ISIL, which is also known by its Arabic designation, Da’esh, has been operative in Libya over the past few months amid intensifying UN-backed efforts to facilitate a political resolution to the country’s ongoing crisis. In late February, for example, the militant group claimed responsibility for a series of attacks killed at least 45 people and injured scores of others in the city of al-Qubbah.