AMERICAN diplomats and military have recently begun to question their local contacts about the FRUD Afar rebel movement and its allies in the region.
Since Washington made Djibouti into a lasting home for its military base, its diplomats and military are keeping a keen watch on all the kinds of risk that they could be exposed to in the country.
They have for a while taken a particular interest in the Front pour la restauration de l’unité et de la démocratie (FRUD, Afar rebel movement in the north of the country) which advocates armed struggle and whose impact could grow if President Ismaïl Omar Guelleh (IOG) continues to close the door to democratic reform and systematically represses the civil opposition of the Union pour le salut national (USN).
Accordingly, representatives of the US embassy in Djibouti and the American army are keen to obtain information whenever they travel to the Tadjourah, Obock and Dikhil districts. They tried to estimate the number of FRUD combatants and evaluate their support among the Afars in Djibouti, Eritrea and Ethiopia, as well as their influence with Afar elders and particularly their links with the Sultan of Rahaita, Abdoulkader Daoud, who is banned from entering Djibouti.
Something else that the Americans are trying to elucidate is the nature of relations between the USN and the armed FRUD.
This quest for information would seem to be orchestrated. According to our sources, while visiting Addis Ababa in early May, the US Secretary of State John Kerry also asked the leaders of the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF, coalition in government in Ethiopia) about the alliances with the armed FRUD in the region and its position towards the United States.
Consequently, the Ethiopian intelligence service officials asked several of their embassies abroad to inquire about the FRUD, its leaders and what its links may be with Eritrea.
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