By Sophia Tesfamariam,
Eritreans have been watching the flurry of reports emanating from the Ethiopian capital and have been following the minority regime’s latest shameful and embarrassing pandering at the UN Security Council. It was indeed a spectacle, one that the western media has chosen to ignore, for obvious reasons, but a spectacle witnessed by many, including Security Council members which include the regime’s powerful handlers.
Why were the minority regime’s cadres in such a ditzy, and what were they peddling this time around? The minority regime’s ignominious cadres left no stone unturned in yet another futile and desperate attempt to convince Security Council members to take further punitive actions against Eritrea and its people.
Unable to get the African Union to buy its latest allegations against Eritrea, the regime believed it could make its case against the State of Eritrea at the UN Security Council. Its incompetent blabbering cadres accomplished nothing, except to bring more attention to the regime and its partners at IGAD, their obvious and childish attempts to “skewer” Eritrea with un-diplomatic language and behavior.
This time, it is peddling a fabricated accusation that seems to have found its way into the Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group (SEMG) report.
In addition to alleged support for groups in Somalia, the SEMG makes two very serious accusations against Eritrea. It accuses Eritrea of plotting to attack the African Union and tries to implicate Eritrea in the July 2010 twin bomb attacks in Kampala Uganda. The western headlines have been busy regurgitating these false and unsubstantiated allegations with the hopes that the false accusations would somehow become fact. These accusations and others like it which are found in the SEMG’s report originate from Ethiopia, the origins of the pungent stench are not hard to find.
The SEMG relied on detainees in the custody of the minority regime, Eritrean defectors and traitors who have committed crimes against the State of Eritrea and its people and equally reprehensible individuals and groups who now reside in Ethiopia.
None of the accusations against Eritrea have been independently verified by the SEMG, making its 417-page report a collection of gossip, hearsay and outright lies. Let us take a look at the two cases that the SEMG showcases in its report.
Attack on the African Union
The SEMG claims that its investigations showed that it was an Eritrean Intelligence Officer that was responsible for planning the foiled attack on the African Union. The name provided by Ethiopia to the SEMG is a Gemechew Ayana. A quick check (Google) of that name reveals the real source of the accusation. Ayana, an Oromo who served in the Ethiopian Defense Forces defected to Eritrea in 2008 and is a member of the Oromo Liberation Front, an opposition group once allied with the Ethiopian regime. Meles Zenawi has labeled the OLF and other opposition groups in Ethiopia as being “terrorists” and has repeatedly accused Eritrea as being behind the growing internal dissent against the TPLF regime. The brutal genocidal regime’s racist ethnic policies are to blame for the various armed conflicts raging in Ethiopia today.
This is not the first time that the minority regime in Ethiopia has accused Eritrea of plotting to blow up the African Union. It made a similar accusation in 2007 and was widely reported in the western media.
On 2 February 2007, Steve Bloomfield reporting for the Independent wrote the following:
“Ethiopia has accused Eritrea of planning a bomb attack during this week’s summit of African leaders in Addis Ababa. A device was shown on Ethiopian state-owned television which officials claimed had been planted by Eritrean agents intending to blow up the African Union (AU) summit. A government spokesman claimed the bombs were planted by senior Eritrean officials but refused to give further details. Ethiopian officials did not say when the alleged attack was due to happen or where it was supposed to take place. There was no independent verification of the alleged plot and Eritrean officials were not available for comment”
Today, once again the regime in Ethiopia has made the same allegations against Eritrea and instead of independently investigating the matter, the biased SEMG seem to have taken it at its word.
Bomb attack in Uganda
The other blatant accusation against the Eritrea is the bombing in Kampala, Uganda. On the evening of 11 July 2010, Al Shabaab made good on its promise by launching two synchronized bomb attacks in Kampala, Uganda, killing 76 people including 8 Eritreans, as they watched the World Cup games at two public locations, one of them an Ethiopian restaurant. Neither the SEMG’s report, nor the many western headlines mention the fact that there were Eritrean casualties as that would not fit their narrative and desperate attempts to scapegoat Eritrea for all that ails the Horn of Africa today.
Al Shabaab, which has no links to Eritrea, took credit for the Uganda attacks. On the following day, Ugandan authorities arrested three Kenyan nationals and indicated that more arrests would follow. The July 11 bombings were the first attacks outside Somalia by Al-Shabaab, which claimed it was in retaliation for the Ethiopian invasion and occupation of Somalia and Uganda’s role in the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia (AMISOM). If any nation is to be held accountable for the acts of its citizens, it would be Kenya in this case, as the men accused were all Kenyans with absolutely no links to Eritrea.
Eritrea abhors terrorism and has fought it long before it became a household word in the West. Eritrea was Osama Bin Laden’s first victim in the Horn of Africa. One will be hard pressed to find a single terrorist act committed by the Eritrean Peoples Liberation Front (EPLF) during the 30 year struggle for Eritrea’s independence.
On the contrary, the history of Meles Zenawi’s TPLF in Ethiopia is replete with terrorist acts against foreigners and civilians.
As the title for this piece says, this is a classic case of the accuser being the culprit and this is yet another case of “accusations in the mirror” syndrome, which seems to afflict the TPLF regime when it wants to divert attention away from its political problems and scapegoat Eritrea. Contrary to what the TPLF regime peddled at the Security Council, the facts and the truth about the regime and its genocidal tendencies, its violations of human rights, its vote-rigging, its repressive governance, its detention and massacre of thousands of Ethiopians for voting it out of office, its detention and torture of individuals sent to CIA run prisons in Ethiopia, its international crimes against the people of Somalia, its violations of the Algiers Agreements, its rejection and refusal to abide by the Eritrea Ethiopia Boundary Commissions’ (EEBC) final and binding delimitation and demarcation decisions on the Eritrea Ethiopia border, as well as its terrorist acts are well documented.
Meles Zenawi’s TPLF, its long history of terrorism and destabilization acts against the State of Eritrea
The minority regime in Ethiopia led by Meles Zenawi has on several occasions announced that it is seeking to overthrow the Government of Eritrea and replace it with individuals and groups it found to be amenable to its aspirations in the volatile Horn region. Delusions of grandeur aside, let us take at a recent announcement as reported by AfricaNews on 6 April 2009. Here is an excerpt from that report:
“Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi, on Tuesday call for regime change in Eritrea and accused an opposition party, Medrek, of planning and instigating violence in Ethiopia. Zenawi has also accused Egypt of backing Eritrea’s effort to destabilize in that country“
The TPLF’s “terrorist” acts have been recorded by theMemorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism (MIPT), a non-profit organization dedicated to preventing terrorism on U.S. soil. MIPT is funded by the US Department of Homeland Security. Here are some of the terrorist acts committed by Meles Zenawi’s TPLF:
- Feb. 17, 1988: Members of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front abducted six European aid workers. The victims were three Irish nuns, two Belgian doctors and a Dutch nurse. All were released a week later.
- Oct. 1, 1987: a French nurse, Sophie Bedon, was kidnapped by TPLF rebels. The woman was taken hostage after an attack on an Ethiopian garrison in Rama. In the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, she was handed over to the French embassy after being held for over three weeks.
- Mar. 8, 1986: Two employees of the American relief agency World Vision were shot to death in the dining room of their residence compound in the northern town of Alamata by TPLF rebels. The victims were both Ethiopian nationals. According to western diplomatic sources, the attack marked the beginning of a new guerrilla offensive by the TPLF in northern Ethiopia against the Addis Ababa government (Menghistu Hailemariam Derg regime).
- Mar. 2, 1985: TPLF rebels seized a French disaster-relief aircraft, its five crew members and four medical staff members in the northern town of Lalibela. The plane had been flying supplies for Ethiopian villagers as part of the international effort to relieve the disastrous drought and famine. The hostages were freed a few days later.
- Oct. 17, 1984: Ten foreigners, including two American tourists, were seized by secessionist TPLF guerrillas in Lalibela. The captured include two Britons, an Australian, a Finn, three West German medics and a Swiss International Red Cross representative. An American tourist couple, a British national and a Swiss citizen were freed on October 30.
- June 1, 1976: Jon Swain, British correspondent for the Sunday Times of London, was captured by the TPLF near Axum in mid-June. He was released in Khartoum on September 5, 1976. It was not known what negotiations, if any, led to his release.
- Etc. etc.
The minority TPLF regime in Ethiopia led by the street smart, flip flopping genocidal Prime Minister Meles Zenawicontinued its terrorist activities after it usurped power from Menghistu Hailemariam’s Derg regime. In addition to terrorizing the Ethiopian people, the TPLF regime financed, harbored and sponsored terrorist groups that carried out terrorist acts against Eritrea.
Let us take a look at the TPLF regime’s destabilization activities against the State of Eritrea. As the record will show, the minority regime’s destabilizing agenda against Eritrea precede the issue of Somalia, now being used as a pre-text to impose sanctions against Eritrea:
- “Ethiopia has hosted meetings of various factions of the Eritrean Liberation Front, trying to bring the ELF-Revolutionary Council and the ELF of Abdullah Idris together. It has offered support to three small Eritrean Marxist opposition parties, and to an opposition Kunama party, and has recently set up an Afar Red Sea Democratic Organisation to try and build up Afar resistance to the Eritrean government”-(Patrick Gilkes, BBC News 2 March 1999)
- “Ethiopia has given support to the opposition Alliance of Eritrean National Forces (AENF), now based in Ethiopia. It anticipates that this will be able to mobilise former Eritrean Liberation Front supporters, and Muslim critics of the present government”- (Patrick Gilkes, BBC News 19 May 2000)
- In May 2003, Herui Tedla and the Eritrean National Alliance were brought to Ethiopia and provided with “material support” to set up a military wing to attack strategic targets such as television and radiocentres. (BBC 2 May 2003)
- “Eritrean Democratic Alliance launched a six-day congress here on Thursday. EDA is Eritrea’s opposition umbrella embracing 13 sisterly political organizations”- (15 February 2007 Ethiopian News Agency)
Meles Zenawi was personally in charge of the failed Congress of February 2007, which brought together disgruntled defectors, criminal and treasonous individuals and groups that make up the EDA.
A 30 July 2009 Press Release entitled “Red Sea Afar Democratic Organization (RSADO) and RSF (Eritrean Salvation Front) have joined forces to strike At the Eritrean Regime in Asmara”[i], said the following:
“In the past six months the afar rebel group have carried out more than five attacks, causing significant blow to Afwerki’s regime, last November it has destroyed a military radar system and attacked military camp killing 285 soldiers in a place called Sanafi at the heart of Akale Guzay, with co-ordinated and simultaneous commando type operation which killed 13 Eritrean soldiers. They have also collected 9 Kalashnikov assault rifles, 1 RPG weapon, 1 Heavy Machine Gun and 3 mobile phones. The combined forces have also captured five elite soldiers and brought them back in to Ethiopia.”
Emboldened by the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution, the minority regime in Ethiopia began its destabilization agenda against Eritrea almost immediately.
On 29 December 2009, just days after the Security Council adopted the illegal, unjust and unfair Resolution 1907 (2009), a group financed, harbored and supported by the minority regime in Ethiopia boasted of attacks against sovereign Eritrean territories. Here is what the Sudan Tribune reported at the time:
“An Eritrean opposition group said prepared to attack the government army as the United Nations decided to impose sanction on Asmara last week. DMLEK is a member of the Ethiopia based coalition Eritrean Democratic Alliance, of which two other groups have also waged a nascent armed struggle often staging hit-and-run attacks.
This week three opposition groups met in the Ethiopian capital to discuss preparations for a unity conference they plan to organize in order to establish a new political structure. The chairman of the Sena’a Cooperation Forum and representative of the Ethiopian government, Mr. Hubur Gebrekidan, in remarks delivered at the opening sitting of the meeting, praised the merger of the three groups and pledged the support of the Ethiopian government and the regional forum to the meeting”
In a news report about RSADO, another group financed, harbored and supported by Meles Zenawi’s minority regime in Ethiopia, the Sudan Tribune reported the following on 3 January 2010:
“An Eritrean rebel group, Red Sea Afar Democratic Organization (RSADO), has vowed to step up military attacks this year to overthrow the east African nation’s government. RSADO Chairman IbrahimHaron said that the military measures will undertaken jointly with other rebel forces” Some eight political groups have built a joint military front to depose the tyrannical Eritrean government” said Ethiopia-based Ibrahim. He said the coalition “will collectively launch massive military attacks in 2011 and we expect major victories along the year” The group says it has killed and wounded hundreds of government soldiers in attacks inside Eritrea since early 2009″
Tigray Online posted a Press Release about another attack on Eritrea, by a terrorist group harbored, financed and supported by Meles Zenawi’s minority regime in Ethiopia. Here is what the 17 February 2010 Press Release said:
“On Feb 15, 2010, at 5:00 am (RSADO) Red Sea Afar Democratic Organization carried out yet another successful operation on FURI military base, in Central-Dankaliya, Inflicting heavy damage to the military as well as personnel. RSADO’s insurgency group has killed 17 enemy soldiers, wounded 20 soldiers, seized caches of ammunitions and varieties of enemy guns just this passed New Year’s Eve, RSADO, in collaboration with our partnering pastoral societies from ENSF have carried out a massive of operations outside Dankaliya including Sanafee, Akale Guzay, and Area”
On 23 April 2010 Reuters reported of another terrorist attack against Eritrea by the Red Sea Afar DemocraticOrganisation (RSADO) and the Eritrean National Salvation Front (ENSF) – groups financed, harbored and supported byMeles Zenawi’s minority regime in Ethiopia. Here is an excerpt from that report:
“Two Eritrean rebel groups said they killed 11 government soldiers and wounded some 20 others in a coordinated attack on military camps in southern Eritrea. Both of the rebel groups are members of the Eritrean Democratic Alliance (EDA), a coalition of 11 Eritrean political organisations, who say they are increasingly working together and coordinating their attacks”
A document carrying a list of terrorist acts carried out by the Red Sea Afar Democratic Organization (RSADO) said to have been compiled from RSADO statements and news releases between 1999 and 2010[ii], says that there have been about 27 attacks against Eritrea causing a total of 958 casualties-448 killed, 501 wounded and 9 were said to have been captured.
In addition, the Global Terrorism Database recorded the following terrorist acts committed by RSADO and DMLEK, groups financed, harbored and supported by Meles Zenawi’s minority regime in Ethiopia.
- 02/15/2010: On Monday, in Asmara, Maekel, Eritrea, rebels of the Red Sea Afar Democratic Organization (RSADO) attacked the 28th Sub-division military camp. It was unknown if the attack caused any damage. Seventeen intelligence agents were killed and 20 others were injured in the attack. The 28th sub-division military camp in Asmara, Eritrea was targeted in this attack.
- 6/01/2008: On Sunday, a military vehicle ferrying food rations was blown up after Red Sea AfarsDemocratic Organization members attacked soldiers in Morad, Eritrea. No casualties were reported. A military truck carrying food rations was targeted.
- 06/01/2008: On Sunday, four Eritrean soldiers, including a senior commander, were killed and more than 10 others wounded when Red Sea Afars Democratic Organization members attacked them in Morad, Eritrea. Eritrean soldiers were targeted.
- 11/05/2007: The Democratic Movement for the Liberation of the Eritrean Kunamas (DMLEK) destroyed the office of the Shembeko town administration with an RPG in Western Eritrea. No casualties were reported.
- 11/05/2007: Militants using firearms from the Democratic Movement for the Liberation of the EritreanKunamas (DMLEK) attacked government soldiers, killing or wounding fifteen of them in Mlzay, Eritrea.
- 02/25/2009: On Wednesday, in Haykota, Gash-Barka, Eritrea, a bomb killed two civilians and injured eight others at a restaurant in the semi-urban centre. The restaurant was damaged in the attack. No group claimed responsibility. A restaurant was targeted in Haykota, Gash-Barka, Eritrea.
Sudan Tribune, which seems to serve as the official news site for the various Eritrean terrorist groups financed, harbored and supported by the minority regime in Ethiopia reported in its August 2010 report[iii] that a group of 10 Eritrean organizations were holding a conference in the Ethiopian capital. One of the terrorist groups at the Addis Ababa conference was the Red Sea Afar Democratic Organization (RSADO). According to the RSADO’s head of communication, YasinMohamed Abdela, “The conference is expected to pass common stance on when, how to collectively launch military attacks” against the State of Eritrea.
As the record shows, the minority regime in Ethiopia is the only destabilizing regime in the Horn of Africa. It is high time that the UN Security Council and the US State Department stop cuddling the lawless mercenary minority regime, which has enjoyed the US-led international community’s diplomatic, financial, military and political aid and shield for the last 12 years at the expense of the people of the region.
Today, its feels emboldened to attack Eritrean Americans and other members of the Eritrean Diaspora because it falsely believes that Washington will allow its belligerence and subordinate the rights of its citizens and residents to the whims of a genocidal regime. The minority regime in Ethiopia and its leader Meles Zenawi may very well be a “staunch US ally”, but the rights of the Eritrean American Diaspora should never be and can never be, subordinated to the fanciful whims of a brutal repressive dictatorial regime and its mercenary henchmen. No self respecting US lawmaker should sit, or will sit, idle and watch as US citizens of Eritrean origin, are targeted by the lawless regime, using the UN as a cover.
The UN Security Council ought to reject the minority regime’s latest tantrums and prevent its ignominious cadres from further eroding the Security Council’s credibility, efficacy and integrity. They ought to tell the TPLF regime that it has grossly exaggerated its position at the United Nation. Its rights and privileges are no more than that of other member states, including Eritrea and that it cannot advance its foreign policy for Eritrea using the UN, as it has done with the African Union and IGAD.
The rule of law must prevail over the law of the jungle!