The documents released by Al Jazeera revealed that AU Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma was the target of an assassination plot planned for October 24 2012, just 12 days after she took up office.
The secret intelligence documents obtained from the South African State Security Agency were leaked to the UAE news agency and show that spies in Addis Ababa (headquarters of the AU) were alerted to a plot by “an unnamed state” to kill a top African diplomat.
Ethiopian agents later accused Sudan of involvement in the plan to assassinate African Union Commission (AUC) chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who had previously served as South Africa’s foreign minister, according to The Times.
Even though the assassination attempt did not take place, the documents show that South African and Ethiopian intelligence agencies were unprepared for the attack and admitted that they lacked “enough time” to “neutralise the operation” or apprehend those involved.
The documents also show how unarmed AU bodyguards had to sleep in corridors for four days with no food or water because the Union did not provide accommodation or resources for food. This, at times, resulted in them having to leave the chairperson unattended as they went to find food.
The leaked intelligence cables involve some of the world’s most high-profile intelligence agencies including the US’s CIA, the British MI6 and Israel’s Mossad. The documents span a period from 2006 until December 2013.
Read the full Al Jazeera report.

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