Horn of Africa mapIn the past few days I have come across some rather strange stories about Eritrea, South Sudan and Kenya.

Rather than keep them to myself I am sharing them here.

But they come with a health warning: I cannot vouch for their accuracy. All I can say is that the sources of this information are normally reliable.


These are the stories in brief, with the most reliable first and the least reliable last:

  1. The USA and Ethiopia are both insisting that Salva Kiir and Riak Machar step down if there is to be a settlement in South Sudan.
  2. Ethiopian forces have created a buffer zone inside Somalia 100 km deep and will not give it up as long as al-Shabaab remains a threat.
  3. Kenya has taken over the extraction of bribes relating to the illegal charcoal smuggling operation from Somalia that was once controlled by al-Shabaab.
  4. On March 20th this year, when Ethiopian jets used a rocket to attack the Bisha mine in Eritrea, another Ethiopian operation was under way. This involved Ethiopian special forces who came by helicopter. They attacked a storage fascility used by the Tigray People’s Democratic Movement (TPDM). A number of ‘Stalin organs’ – Katyusha rocket launchers – were destroyed.
  5. In February Eritrean President Isaias suggested to a senior Chinese minister that the Chinese should start one company to operate the potash reserves on both sides of the Eritrea-Ethiopia border. An Israeli company – Allana Potash –  already operates a mine in Ethiopia.
  6. The attack on the Westgate shopping centre in Nairobi in September 2013 was actually all about property. A Kenyan politician, close to the seat of power, arranged for Somali mercenaries formerly with al-Shabaab to carry out the attack. The aim was to oust the Israeli company that owned the site.

Which – if any – of these stories is accurate? I leave that up to you to judge.