Ethiopia TPLF admits US directed unsuccessful Assault on Addis Ababa

ADDIS ABABA – In a recent interview on Tigray TV, a spokesperson for the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) said the group, categorized as a terrorist organization in Ethiopia, was directed by the US to seize power, but Washington has publicly maintained a position of neutrality on the conflict.

“China’s intention is clear so I understand it. Whereas, the intention of the Americans is for us to enter Addis,” TPLF spokesperson Getachew Reda told Tigray TV’s Dimsti Woyane on December 8, according to a translation from Tigrinya by the Ethiopian outlet Borkena.

“Some European countries also have similar interest. But they told us to forge an alliance with different groups to avoid chaos when our forces take control of Addis,” he added.

“America’s concern is ridiculous and transactional. It looks like the Americans couldn’t make up their mind about us capturing Addis Ababa. There are interest groups who want Abiy to continue putting the country up for sale, and who do not want him to stop selling the country’s indispensable resources recklessly.”

In a statement given to the US state media Voice of America’s Amharic-language service on Monday, the US Department of State denied Getachew’s comments, saying the US “has never encouraged the TPLF to expand its military operations or enter Addis Ababa.”

Getachew’s comments further confirm the contents of a video filmed on November 21 of a Zoom meeting between numerous American and European diplomats and Berhane Gebre-christos, a longtime TPLF official who served numerous diplomatic and ministerial roles during the TPLF’s 27 years in power, including a 10-year posting as ambassador to Washington, DC, and two years as Ethiopia’s foreign minister.

As Sputnik reported, the Western diplomats praised the TPLF’s gains and floated various scenarios about how Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, the country’s first democratically-elected leader, might be forced to step down.

“I hope that you’ll have military success fairly soon, because it seems as if the situation is only becoming more drastic,” Vicki Huddleston, the former US deputy assistant secretary of defense for African Affairs and US assistant secretary of state for Africa, told Berhane. “Abiy should step down, there should be an all-inclusive transition government.”

The secretive meeting occurred under the auspices of a TPLF-connected think tank set up with financial backing from the US Agency for International Development (USAID), which is part of the US State Department, and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a CIA front group used to funnel support to US-aligned groups.

•pv> US Stays Neutral in Public

Despite the revelations, Washington has continued to maintain an official image of neutrality. A Sunday statement by the US Department of State urged both the TPLF and Abiy’s government to begin a peaceful dialogue “without preconditions” and to launch inquiries into alleged human rights violations by the TPLF in Afar and Amhara.

“The United States reiterates our support for diplomacy as the first, last, and only option to cease hostilities, just as we call for an end to human rights abuses and violations; negotiations without preconditions; unhindered humanitarian access; and the start to inclusive national dialogue,” the statement read.

Over the last 13 months, since the conflict began, the US has sanctioned both the Ethiopian government and its Eritrean allies for allegations of using denial of food aid as a weapon against the rebels and actions “that have contributed to the crisis and conflict, which have undermined the stability and integrity of the Ethiopian state.” However, similar punishments have not been meted out against the TPLF, despite evidence suggesting they seized hundreds of aid trucks belonging to the UN World Food Program that were intended for Tigrayan civilians.

The TPLF ruled Ethiopia for 27 years, during which time it constructed a federal system to control the country’s dozens of other ethnicities and moved most of its military and industries into the northern Tigray state. During that time, Ethiopia cooperated closely with the US War on Terror and the newly formed US Africa Command, providing facilities and troops that were key to advancing US interests on the continent, such as the 2006 invasion of Somalia that overthrew the Islamic Courts Union government. They also waged a devastating war against Eritrea, which had recently won independence from Ethiopia, that cost more than 120,000 lives.

•pv> Rebels Seek Return to Dominance

Abiy came to power in 2018 after the TPLF’s allied ethnic parties rejected another TPLF candidate and selected him, an Oromo, instead. While he has continued cooperation with the US, Abiy has also weakened the TPLF’s dominating position in Ethiopian politics with centralizing political reforms, and he signed a peace treaty with Eritrea that won him a Nobel Peace Prize. Under his government, the country has also continued its drift toward China, penning a number of infrastructure projects with Chinese firms and buying Chinese-made weapons.

The conflict began in November 2020, when TPLF forces attacked Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) units, which had been deployed in the northern Tigray state in response to an illegal election being held in violation of a national postponement of elections due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the ENDF quickly seized the capital of Mekelle, the TPLF regrouped in the countryside and counterattacked, driving government forces out of Tigray and launching their own offensive into neighboring Amhara and Afar states in July.

The TPLF’s southern advance along Highway 2 toward Addis Ababa was stalled in November about 190 kilometers away from the capital city, and a counterattack by the ENDF has pushed the TPLF back by hundreds of kilometers.

The UN estimates that more than 4 million people have been displaced by the conflict, with more than 70,000 crossing the border into Sudan, creating a massive humanitarian crisis. The WFP estimates 9.4 million Ethiopians are in need of food assistance.

The UN Human Rights Council is set to hold a special session on Ethiopia on Friday morning. However, not a single African nation has been invited to the proceedings, and all 13 African states on the council voted against the motion to hold the special session.

Source: Dehai Eritrea Online

The Nurenebi File: A Review

The English translation of Tesfaye Gebreab’s Amharic historical novel, “Yenurenebi Mahder”, was inaugurated yesterday, 14th December, at Emba Soira Hotel in Asmara.

“The Nurenebi File,” translated by author and historian Alemseged Tesfai, is a historical novel that chronicles the lives of four generations of a family across a time spanning the Italian, British and Ethiopian colonizations of Eritrea. It is the story of ordinary Eritrean individuals who, for the freedom of their beloved country, showed great acts of heroism and sacrifice. The story follows the titular character, Nurenebi, as well as the three generations that come after him who, in their own ways and in their own times, attempted to break free from the shackles of colonial rule.

Before going any further, I must first admit that I am not a historian. I am not by any measure an expert or an authority of Eritrean and Ethiopian history. On second thought, I actually realized that my being a layman in this particular topic could be an advantage as I may be able to write from the point of view of an ordinary reader.

If someone were to ask me to describe The Nurenebi File with just one phrase, that phrase would be Four Generations in One Book, a quality that makes the novel quite unique. It’s a historical novel that explores the history of one hundred and fifty years cleverly woven into the lives of the Nurenebi family. The book falls somewhere in between a novel and a history book, every so often oscillating from one end to the other. The novel is written using a combination of writing styles such as prose, references, historical accounts, folk songs and poems, all of which help provide a rich historical context for the story. The main characters are all real people, as the pictures in the book show, yet their conversations and interactions have been brought to life with some level of imagination on the part of the author. For instance, while Nurenebi was, in fact, a real person, his detailed experiences during the drought, migration and his days as a shifta (outlaw or rebel) involved works of fiction.

The fact that the story is based on a real family makes it all the more real for the readers. It provides an insight into the lives, experiences and state of mind of the Eritrean people during the past century. History ceases to be a list of events and dates, as it is often reduced to, and historical figures cease to be formidable beings of the past; this book breathes life back into them all, beauty and ugliness alike.

From the descriptions of the drought of 1888 to the descriptions of the bustling and lively Massawa of the 1890’s, and the Battle of Adwa in 1896, I was continuously moved by the vivid imagery and description so much that I could see it all, scene by scene, in my mind’s eye. In the first few pages, the author himself talks about how those documents that led him to write the book made him feel.

“The windows and doors of the past took turns to open up for me era by era. The ears of my conscience heard all […] the discourse, anger, laughter and pain of the ages. The eyes of my conscience saw all […] the plains, the mountains, the plowing fields […] the faces, the brows, the moisture in the eyes…I felt as if I was there myself.”

The author was able to transmit his own vision to the readers, allowing us in turn to vividly imagine and feel as if we were there ourselves, which I believe is a big accomplishment.

Among numerous things that I learned about Eritrean and Ethiopian history through “The Nurenebi File”, I was surprised to learn about the slave trade in East Africa, of which I had no previous knowledge. I was saddened by the treatment of Eritreans as “second class citizens” in their own country by the Italian and British colonizers. I was tearful when I read that a certain mother, upon receiving her son’s certificate of martyrdom, “[with her face] washed with tears,[…] let out a ringing ululation” of pride for her son’s courage and sacrifice; and I was heartbroken outright when a certain character told his pleading mother that he was leaving to join the war for Eritrea’s liberation. I also found it interesting that people like Gabriel Edmondo and Iyasu Yacob, who often found themselves on opposing sides regarding patriotic discussions, ultimately wanted the same things. They simply differed in method. But, above all, I was proud to read about the ordinary-yet-extraordinary heroes such as Nurenebi, Gabriel Edmondo and Mekonnen Gabriel, all of whom showed incredible amount of courage by rebelling against their respective colonizers. In fact, this novel made me ask: How many other people have done similar acts of heroism, yet slipped through the cracks of time? How many other ordinary heroes have faded away from memory? It made me want to uncover previously untold stories of past generations.

The best books permit their readers to delve into the story wholeheartedly, traveling through time and space for a peek at the reality of those times. “The Nurenebi File” does exactly that: it allows the reader to witness history happening through the eyes of the main characters, one generation after another. It also allows the reader to witness the main characters in their various stages of life. Nurenebi’s grandchild, Gabriel, for instance, goes from being a young child born to Nurenebi’s son, Edmondo, to a young man working as an interpreter for the Italians, to a middle-aged father living in Addis Ababa, and to an elderly man living in Asmara.

I find it impossible to talk about “The Nurenebi File” without talking about the English lexicon and orthography used by Alemseged Tesfai. The novel is written in a captivating, sophisticated and emotion-provoking manner while also presenting the history in a clear and elaborative way. The novel reads as if it were written by someone for whom English is the first language, not a second. While I am not able to read the original Amharic version, I suspect that the English translation has done it justice given that the English version is gripping. The folk songs and poems, which I imagine must have been the hardest parts to translate, were impressively executed.

For anyone seeking to learn about Eritrean and Ethiopian history through a novel, this is certainly the book to read and re-read.

“The Nurenebi File” is definitely a legacy for Nurenebi’s family as it is a legacy for all of Eritrea and generations to come.

Source: Ministry of Information Eritrea

Freelance Journalist Accredited to The Associated Press Detained in Ethiopia

A freelance video journalist accredited to The Associated Press in Ethiopia has been detained by police in the capital, Addis Ababa, the news organization said Wednesday.

Amir Aman Kiyaro was detained under the country’s new war-related state of emergency powers on November 28 after returning home from a reporting trip. He has not been charged.

Officials with the Ethiopian Media Authority, the prime minister’s office, the Foreign Ministry and other government offices have not responded to repeated requests from the AP for information about him since his detention.

State media on Wednesday reported his detention, citing federal police, and said he was accused of “serving the purposes” of a terrorist group by interviewing it. The report said local journalists Thomas Engida and Addisu Muluneh also were detained.

Federal police inspector Tesfaye Olani told state media that the journalists violated the state of emergency law and Ethiopia’s anti-terrorism law and the violations could lead to seven to 15 years behind bars.

In a statement, AP Executive Editor Julie Pace urged that Kiyaro be freed: “The Associated Press is extremely concerned that AP freelancer Amir Aman Kiyaro has been detained by the Ethiopian government, accused of promoting terrorism. These are baseless allegations. Kiyaro is an independent journalist who has done important work in Ethiopia on all sides of the conflict. We call on the Ethiopian government to release Kiyaro immediately.”

She said the AP until now had chosen to keep the case out of the public eye while the news organization worked on potential diplomatic channels.

Ethiopia’s government in November declared a state of emergency, which includes sweeping powers of detention, after a year of war as rival forces from the country’s northern Tigray region in collaboration with the Oromo Liberation Army moved closer to the capital. The government this year declared both the Tigray forces and the OLA as terrorist groups.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed in the war that erupted in November 2020. The Tigray forces say they are pressuring the government to lift a deadly blockade on their region but also want Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to step aside. Mediation efforts by the United States and African Union for a cease-fire have made little progress.

Kiyaro has covered both sides of the war this year for the AP, including groundbreaking reporting on the alleged mass killings by Tigray forces in the community of Chenna Teklehaymanot after the fighters in recent months moved into Ethiopia’s neighboring Amhara region.

In late November, the country’s state of emergency command sought to restrict media reporting on the war, forbidding the sharing of nonofficial information on “military-related movements, battlefront results and situations.” Foreign media have been barred from Tigray for much of the war, with communications links severed.

The government-created Ethiopian Human Rights Commission on Wednesday said it was monitoring the situation of four other local journalists detained in recent weeks.

Last month, it said it was alarmed by the conditions of the detentions of perhaps thousands of people who have been swept up under the state of emergency. It urged authorities to immediately release people detained without “evidence establishing reasonable grounds for suspicion.”

Spokespeople for the commission did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Kiyaro.

“Ethiopia has again become one of the worst jailers of journalists in sub-Saharan Africa,” the Committee to Protect Journalists said in a statement last week, describing the media environment as “hostile” three years after the prime minister took office and his government freed journalists as part of sweeping political reforms that have since been eroded.

Source: Voice of America

Annual meeting of PFDJ organization in Northern Germany

People’s Front for Democracy and Justice organization in Northern Germany conducted its annual meeting on 11 December in a virtual format.

At the meeting in which the Charge d’Affairs at the Eritrean Embassy, Consul General in Frankfurt, the head of Public and Community Affairs, heads of various institutions as well as several members participated, heads of PFDJ units presented reports focusing on political, social, organizational as well as other activities.

The participants conducted extensive discussion on the reports presented in terms of strengths and challenges and on charted out program for 2022.

Speaking at the event, the Charge d’Affairs at the Eritrean Embassy in Germany, Mr. Yohannes Woldu gave extensive briefing on the objective situation in the homeland and regional developments.

The head of the Public and Community Affairs, Mr. Kahsai Tewolde also presented report regarding the contribution the nationals made to augment the National Fund to Combat Covid-19 pandemic and in support of families of martyrs as well as on the charted out programs for 2022.

The Consul General at the Eritrean Embassy, Mr. Kibreab Tekeste on his part called on the nationals to reinforce participation in the effective implementation of the ongoing political, diplomatic, and developmental activities.

The nationals on their part expressed conviction to strengthen organizational capacity and participation in national affairs.

Source: Ministry of Information Eritrea

French Army Leaves Timbuktu for First Time Since Arriving in 2013

French troops have left a military base in Timbuktu, Mali, where they were posted since liberating the area from Islamist militants in 2013. French forces have been gradually withdrawing from the region, despite ongoing fighting with militants that threatens stability. Locals are expressing unease about the French troops’ departure.

On Tuesday, French troops left their military base in Timbuktu as part of a reorganization of Operation Barkhane announced by French president Emmanuel Macron in June.

The Kidal and Tessalit bases were handed over to the Malian army in October and November, respectively. The French troops first set up a base here when the city, along with several others in northern Mali, was liberated in 2013 from Islamist militants. Then-French president Francois Hollande visited Timbuktu the day after its liberation and was welcomed by residents.

Salem Ould El Hadj, a historian and a teacher at Timbuktu’s famous Ahmed Baba Institute, spoke from a public square by Timbuktu’s Sankore mosque about his experience when the city was liberated.

We needed it, he says, and you’ve seen how the population welcomed them with widespread enthusiasm. An unabashed fervor. It’s true. I was in Bamako, he says, and it’s thanks to [the French intervention] that I came back to Timbuktu.

Since 2013, Mali has weathered two more coup d’etats. Violence and killings have increased and moved further south into the country’s center. Large protests in Bamako have called for the departure of French troops, with popular sentiment in the capital favoring a potential Russian intervention in Mali.

Mohamed El Bashir, president of Timbuktu’s municipal youth council, says that withdrawing Barkhane troops from Timbuktu will make the region less secure.

It’s not the same feeling here, he says, because the people in Bamako don’t live what we’re living here in Timbuktu. What we’re living here, people in Bamako aren’t living. They should come here, and we will go to Bamako, and they can ask that Barkhane leaves, he says, then they will understand. That’s the reality.

France has been gradually retiring its troops from military bases in northern Mali and moving them to Gao, which will now serve as Operation Barkhane’s northern base.

General Etienne du Peyroux, Barkhane’s representative in Mali, says that the handing over of Timbuktu’s military base is not an abandonment.

He says, this is ultimately the goal of Operation Barkhane, to allow Mali to take its destiny in its hands. After a phase of preparation, after a phase of ramping up, after a training phase. And always in partnership, which will be different, with less of a physical presence but just as real, he says.

At a ceremony on the military base yesterday, the French flag was lowered, the Malian flag raised, and a symbolic key to the base handed over from the French military to the Malian army. Malian military authorities declined to comment to journalists, who were asked to leave the ceremony before their commander spoke to Malian troops.

French armored vehicles exited the base for the last time.

At the airport, French troops could be seen boarding a military plane headed for Gao. The fate of Timbuktu, once a symbol of Mali’s liberation from extremist rule, now rests in the hands of Mali’s army.

Source: Voice of America

Seminar to nationals in Kampala

The Eritrean Ambassador to Uganda, Mr. Mohammed Suleiman conducted on 12 December seminar to nationals residing in Kampala and its environs, Uganda. The seminar focused on the objective situation in the homeland as well as regional developments.

At the seminar, Ambassador Mohammed gave an extensive briefing focusing on national security, political, diplomatic, and developmental programs as well as on the integrated resilience activities being exerted to foil external conspiracies.

Ambassador Mohammed further called on the nationals residing in Uganda to strengthen organizational capacity and enhance participation in national affairs.

The participants on their part, highlighting the significance of the seminar in developing the understanding of nationals in national and regional developments called for its sustainability.

Source: Ministry of Information Eritrea

Turkey resumes mediation mission

Published by
Azer News

By Trend The settlement of conflicts not only in the South Caucasus and the Middle East but also in Africa has always been one of the priority directions of Turkey’s foreign policy, head of the Foreign Projects Directorate of Trend News Agency Rufiz Hafizoglu said, Trend reports. Despite the fact that Turkey is one of the important members of NATO, this has never prevented Turkey from having close relations with Russia or China. After the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) entered the political scene in Turkey in 2001, it was officially announced that one of the directions of the country… Continue reading “Turkey resumes mediation mission”