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The federal high court on Tuesday passed guilty verdicts against 10 individuals that have formed an al-Qaida cell.
A discovery of such a terrorist network is a first for the country which have its soldiers fighting al-Qaida-linked militants in neighboring Somalia.
A key ally for the US war on terror, Ethiopia’s military push against the militants has angered al-Shabab which called on its operatives to attack the country.
In a ruling read out on Tuesday’s court session, Judge Bahiru Darecha said the group members were mapping out plans and mobilized resources to carry out attacks against the country’s political, and economic establishments to coerce the public to accept radical Islam.

Four of the ten convicted individuals have been tried under police custody while the six are still at large.
Another individual who was under police custody for several months was acquitted of all charges. Darecha ordered his immediate release.
Among those convicted is a Kenyan national Hassan Jarso. When first charged in May, Jarso pleaded guilty to the charges but protested prosecutor’s claims that he is the leader of the group.
“We did plan the attacks and to open the [training] camp but none of it was realized,” Jarso had told the court. He added that he was waiting for money from al-Qaida operatives to establish the camp and start a militancy based in Oromia region.
Before entering Ethiopia from Somalia, Jarso fought alongside al-Shabab fighters against African Union peace keeping force deployed there to back the fragile Somalia government.
The other three convicts had denied the charges. They are all religious teachers. In a defense they alleged that they were beaten by police to confess and sign on documents and exhibits that were “planted on their houses”.
A three-judge panel did not accept the claims. Their ruling said the evidences and witnesses presented by prosecutors proved beyond reasonable doubt the individuals willingly aided plans to setup the envisaged terrorist camp and preached Jihad in mosques.
The court was adjourned to January 15 for sentencing on the 10 convicted individuals. All of the four in custody asked the court to consider their family and poor education level to commute for the sentencing. They are also planning to appeal their convictions to the Federal High Supreme Court.
A day after securing the convictions against members of the first alleged terrorist network, authorities say they made other arrests against another cell affiliated with al-Shabab and al-Qaida terror groups.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, the National Security and Intelligence Agency announced that 15 members of a terrorist cell affiliated with al-Qaida network in East Africa were put under police custody.
Military training manuals, jihad war videos and a variety of weapons were also discovered by police, according to the statement.
The 15 suspects were trained by al-Shabab forces in Somali and in Kenya. The group had been sent to Ethiopia to carry out attacks and launch operations based in Somali and Harar regional states, the statement reads.

Kirubel Tadesse is a freelance journalist and Associated Press writer based in Addis Ababa.