By Petros Tesfagiorgis
On 24 August 2022 PM Abiy Ahmed in coalition with his partners launched the 2nd phase of the offensive. The aim was to capture Mekele the capital of Tigray in 3 weeks’ time to coincide with the annual commemoration of Ethiopian Ester. The war started on 4 fronts. However contrary to their plan it was reported that on all fronts thousands of coalition troops were killed, wounded and captured and thousands more flee for their lives.
Abiy became desperate. His forces were getting defeated by the day and he looked to Isias to save him. Isaias was happy to play a leading role in the war to defeat TDF and the people of Tigray because he believed that as long as TPLF/TDF is strong and kicking his agenda to annex Eritrea to Ethiopia will not succeed. Therefore, Isaias made Nation-wide call to all able bodied Eritreans to join the Eritrean army. Rounding ups was conducted throughout the country by security forces. Parents who refused to tell where their children are hiding are imprisoned and are driven out of their houses. The Eritrean parents in Eritrea are in mourning. On 15 September the Eritrean Government called all reservists up to 55 years old to join the army and position them on the Tigray border says the BBC. PFDJ made an extraordinary move raiding churches and Mosques to take the youth and even religious leaders to the war front undermining the core values of Christianity and Islam. Thus Isias is sending Eritreans in their thousands to perish in the war against Tigray while the UN is watching in silence. The UN, USA, EU are asking the Eritrea regime to get its army out of Tigray and Ethiopia but they are not concerned about the atrocities Isias is committing in Eritrea.
On his part Abiy transferred thousands of Ethiopian troops to Eritrea. Thus Eritrea has become the main launching pad to attack Tigray. For that the people of Eritrea will pay very high price in life and in accelerating the destruction of the fabric of the Eritrean society and the economy. Europe External Programme with Africa (EEPA) reported “Eritrean troops are requisitioning livestock to feed the army”. It does not matter for Isias if the people of Eritrea are starved. That is what he wanted. Not only by starving them but by deny heath care as well. In 2019 he closed 27 clinics run by the Roman Catholic Church that served thousands of people in different areas in Eritrea.
All these repressions sparked sharp condemnation from the United States, European Union Canada and United Kingdom etc. USA seemed serious this time in calling Eritrea troops to leave Ethiopia or else? But as usual it is only a lip service. It has to be remembered that in 2016 the UN Inquiry Commission on human rights in Eritrea reported that the Eritrean Authority has committed crime against humanity. The commission made referral to the UN Security Council but it was ignored. Like Isaias for the UN the life of Eritreans does not matter. Isaias felt untouchable and continued to Commit war crimes and crime against humanity in Tigray. His mission is to kill 2 birds with one stone, let the people of Tigray and Eritrea perish so he becomes a great power in Ethiopia and the Horn
On 13/09/2022 the Eritrean army raided the Catholic Church in Akrir in an area known as Tsenadegle. They take with them people from the congregation including priests to join the army.
After Isaias took a leading role in planning and execution of the war the first he did is send 6 Eritrean divisions to Berhale in Afar and together with Afar troops launched an attack to occupy Mekele. TDF managed to stop their advances and launched a stunning counterattack demolishing the Afar and the Eritrean troops. Many Eritrean troops surrendered. Some gave interviews and expressed that when they were rounded up and taken to the army they didn’t know they are going to fight. They call the Eritreans in Diaspora to help them.
On his part Abiy transferred thousands of Ethiopian troops to Eritrea. Thus Eritrea has become the main launching pad to attack Tigray. Putting the burden of war away from Ethiopia to Eritrea. For that the people of Eritrea will pay very high price in life, also as reported by Europe External Programme with Africa (EEPA) “Eritrean troops are requisitioning livestock to feed the army”.
This photograph is so powerful as it tells the story of Eritrean government rounding-up the youth from the church to send them to the slaughter house, the war in Tigray and perish. These young men and women are wearing choir T shirts. They are herded like cattle out of the holy places by armed security forces.
Abiy’s reliance on Isias did not materialize. Out of desperation both Abiy and Isias have agreed to attack civilians using heavy artillery, Mig-29 and Drones. On 4 October unimaginable horror of war happened when drones attacked an IDP Centre located in a school in Adi Daero, North Western Tigray, killing over 65 civilians and 70 injured mostly children and old people. Abiy Ahmed and Isaias Afwerki are using Mig-29 and Drones to kill civilians and destroy properties in some towns. If this is not genocide what is it then?
According to analyst Rashid Abdi, Ethiopia and Eritrea are creating a unified command post in Asmara to more efficiently continue the campaign against Tigray and better coordinate ground and air operations. On 20 September, spokesperson for the Tigrayan authorities, Getachew Reda, stated that Eritrea had launched a full scale offensive along the northern Ethiopian border from Tekeze to Erob. It is reported that the Eritrean army is bombing Shire and Adi Grat using long range artillery causing many civilian deaths. There is a heavy fighting in Adyabo, Badme, Rama, Tsorona and Erob. These are border towns from which the Ethiopian and Eritrean troops are launching their attack to capture Mekele and decimate the people of Tigray.
What should the just seekers in Diaspora do. There are voices to stage all out demonstration against the war and for peace
The Eritrean Youth movement named Brigade Nhamedu organised a successful demonstration on Friday 7/10/2022 in front of the Prime Minister office at downing street, London. Their protest was to stop the war against Tigray and for peace. They bring to the attention of the PM and the UK public that Abiy Ahmed and Eritrea’s president Isaias Afwerki are committing war crimes by bombing and killing civilians including children and old men/women in Tigray. They delivered a letter to the Prime Minister and after some time marched a long distance to the Eritrean Embassy. In front of the embassy they protested loud and clear condemning the Eritrean Government for sending Eritrean troops recruited by force to kill civilians and destroy properties in Tigray. One of the slogan was “THE PAIN OF THE PEOPLE OF TIGRAY IS OUR PAIN” (Eritrean people’s pain). They demanded the withdrawal of Eritrean troops from Ethiopia, and Ethiopian troops from Eritrea. Brigade Nhamedu are the group who rose up like Tsunami to challenge the unethical hate festival organized by Eritrean embassies and their supporters in Europe and managed to cancel the hate- festivals in Sweden, Switzerland, Netherlands and UK.
On the same day 7/10/2022 Global Yeakel Eritrean democratic movement organised a well-attended demonstration in front of the State Department in Washington. They invited Tigreans, Oromo’s and other Ethiopian Nationalities. It called to end the war and for peace. These demonstration is a unique and futuristic that brings together all those involved in the campaign to end the war. It is a harbinger of building strong peace movement in the Horn. It is also an exercise of empowering civil society organisations in the countries of the Horn of Africa. Countries with enlightened and empowered civil societies leave no room for dictators like Abiy and Isaias to rise to power.
In London UK a group of just seekers have discussed a very good idea of making vigils in front of the Eritrean Embassy for extended period of time, one or 2 times a week. It needs only 20 – 25 people to take turns demanding to stop the war and bring to justice those who committed war crimes and crime against humanity. What they need are placards and leaflets for distribution to the public. During the anti-apartheid movement in the 80th UK University students used to stand vigil every week in front of the South African Embassy in Trafalgar Square denouncing and condemning the South African Government. This is a brilliant idea, a brain child, of an activist Mr Yamane Asfedai in London.
When I arrived at downing street on 7/10/2022 at 10.45 to attend the protest starting at 11 am, I was dumbfounded to look at well prepared posters tied to the rails prepared by Amhara, a dominant nationality in Ethiopia. It said “STOP STATE SPONSORED AMHARA GENOCIDE IN ETHIOPIA” OLF IS GENOCIDER. It shows that there are lot of civilians Amhara killing in many areas in Ethiopia.
A report by the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) states that at least 50 people were extra judicially killed in the Gambella region between 14 and 16 June 2022. The report accuses mostly government armed forces, but also Oromo Liberation Army and Gambella Liberation Front militants. The EHRC also stated that families were not allowed access to the bodies of their relatives nor were burial locations made available. Peace movements in the Horn of Africa is fundamentally important for the whole region to be able to combat underdevelopment and poverty. We have seen Turkey selling drones to Ethiopia making lucrative profits. Abiy and Isias are spending millions of US dollars to buy arms instead of feeding their impoverished population.
To continue: The Global Yeakel Movement slogan that says “The suffering of the people of Tigray is our suffering “ is a sign that the Global Yeakel movement have reached the age of reason they have realized that Isias, Abiy and the Amhara elite are bent on destroying Tigray and reversing the independence of Eritrea. Besides it is a human instinct to oppose any genocidal move to destroy people let alone our brotherly/sisterly and neighbouring people of Tigray. The Eritrean Diaspora has to maintain high moral ground? Opposing the supporters of PFDJ, Ethiopian Government and the Amhara elite who are morally bankrupt is justified. Unless the coalition is stopped to bomb civilians they will massacre more civilians and risk genocide.
To continue: The ongoing war is a momentous time for all those who pray for peace to rise up and campaign to Stop it, so the lives of thousands of Eritreans, Tigreans, Amhara and various nationalities of Ethiopia could be saved. Peace movement that embraces all the horn of Africa countries must be formed to close the chapter of this madness.