CRY MY BELOVED COUNTRY! Ethiopian group kills 16 Sudanese farmers: TPLF’s trade in nation’s sovereign territory with Sudan for Front’s permanence in power backfires

29 Oct

By Keffyalew Gebremedhin – The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

The Ethiopia-Sudan border has increasingly become tense – an outcome of official crimes of collusion between the Sudan’s National Congress party (NCP), headed by Omar al-Bashir, and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) with Meles Zenawi on the wheel.

Its adverse consequences these days is that, literally every week no less than five to ten persons are killed on either side, although for a long time the loss of life has been heavier on the Ethiopian side. This is due to the attack against the Ethiopians being perpetrated by Sudanese soldiers, Sudanese farmers and TPLF forces.

The last time, death claimed the lives of Ethiopian farmers was in September 2015, when Sudanese soldiers killed eight of them. On October 11, organized Ethiopian farmers entered the Atrad area in Gadarif and took their revenge killing Sudanese soldiers and farmers.

For the second time tjese days in October, Africa Review reports, quoting Sudanese minister of interior Esmat Abdul Rahman, Ethiopian armed groups have killed 16 Sudanese civilians. The news report also indicated that seven others were abducted and nearly 300 heads of cattle taken.

In connection with the spate of these deaths and the rising tensions, the Sudan Tribune brought out that the governor of Gedaref state, Merghani Salih had recently has “complained that Ethiopia controls more than a million acres of Sudanese agricultural land in the area of Al-Fashaga, saying the area has been completely isolated from Sudan.”

While the governor attributed the tension on the border between the two countries to the actions of Ethiopian ‘bandits’, he did not lose time to underline the importance of culminating the border demarcation; not surprusingly as of late the TPLF seems to drag its feet in response to the huge uproar this sovereign land give away and national betrayal has created at home and abroad.

I have no first hand knowledge whether these attacks and counter-attacks are actions organized by bandits, or orchestrated by any Ethiopian opposition group(s), or Ethiopian farmers acting in self-defense and to protect their lands from both the TPLF forces and the Sudan’s Popular Defence Forces (PDF).

Nonetheless, I happen to be of the view that what has given rise to the present crisis, as mentioned above, is the collusion between TPLF and Omar al-Bashir of the Sudan. The Sudanese president is known to have been asking since 2001 payback for his services to the TPLF against Ethiopia through the years, when Meles and his gang had been fighting as ‘liberation movement’ against the central government in Addis Abeba.

What we know is that al-Bashir has made it clear that the only acceptable payment is the TPLF forgoing disputed lands between the two countries.

Information pieced together shows that the TPLF had had several meetings on the matter through 2000-2005 regarding the demand by the Sudanese leader. He put it to the TPLF that its past should give it some lessons; and that should it seek to stay in power permanently, it should forgo Ethiopia’s historical claim of the borderlands, whose dispute has been simmering for over a century, following the massacre of Ethiopian Emperor Yohannes IV.

Since the 1970s, Sudan had been supporting all anti-Ethiopian forces, such as the ELF, EPLF, TPLF (EPRDF), OLF, and all other alphabet soups.

In 1991, especially the temporarily bandied groups overthrew the Addis Abeba government; the TPLF installed itself in Addis Abeba and Eritrea broke away and declared its independence in 1993.

The TPLF finally resolved to give Ethiopia’s disputed agricultural lands to the Sudan. In 2009, when Sebhat Nega toured the United States, his mission was to pacify Tigreans on the matter. It is during that occasion he made it clear that this had to be done, if need be even with Somalia, to allow the TPLF to continue in power!

Of course, President Bashir cooperates with nations near and far in all sorts of nefarious activities only to come up with his bill at the end of operations. Even recently, following participation of his planes and foot soldiers in the Yemen operations at the behest of Saudi Arabia, he put a bill to the Saudi king in the form of his intervention with Egypt to help him regain the lost territory of the Halayeb triangle.

This secret understanding between TPLF and the Sudan came to a head on December 5, 2013, when the TPLF hired-hand, who is the man in the office of the prime minister signed an agreement in Khartoum, which, as Ali Karti, then Sudan’s foreign minister put it in a cryptic language, aimed “to resolve all their border demarcation disputes…”, adding “The two presidents will sign a historical document putting the final demarcation lines.”

Of this Ethiopia-Sudan land deal, I recall writing an article (IS THE STORY FROM THE ETHIO-SUDANESE BORDER A ‘REPULSIVE RUMOUR’, AS ALLEGED OFFICIALLY, OR…?) on May 21st, 2008 – using a pen name Genet Mersha – to make known my shock and puzzlement regarding TPLF’s secret deal on Ethiopian sovereignty and territorial integrity in favor of the Sudan.

The purpose of that article was twofold: a simple enquiry whether – just like now – the story is true about Ethiopian territory being given to the Sudan, although Addis Abeba had at the time dismissed it as “repulsive rumor”.

Secondly, my intention was to give the story Sudanese sources had released by taking advantage of the openness of their media as wide circulation as possible. I was reassured by the probity of what I was doing given that I had seen some articles elsewhere that equally claimed they had received information from the border areas through families and that it was credible. Therefore, I wanted Ethiopians to react to it before it was too late.

What had happened at that time was summarized in that article in three points:

    *   (a) Ethiopia has handed over part of its territory to the Sudan

    *   (b) Sudanese forces have taken some 33 Ethiopians prisoners, and,

    *   (c) the Agazi force is assisting Sudanese forces against the Ethiopians.

The above were then summed up as follows: “If [this is] true, not only that this represents the height of insanity, but also it is extremely disturbing and unconscionable.”

To this day, the TPLF has cocooned in its usual denial that it has never given away Ethiopian territory – if after all these years anyone could trust whatever those people in power are saying. Certain as I was, in the above same article I had shown that something was cooking.

For instance, in his opening statement at the Seventh Session of Ethio-Sudanese Ministerial Commission at Addis Ababa, the then Foreign Minister Seyoum Mesfin, who has distinguished himself as yes-man and not for his brightness, on 26 June 2007 unwittingly confirmed completion of the work of the Boundary Committee. It thus gave the very tell tale signs, when he declared:

    “…the significant achievements registered in a short period of time were sources of inspiration to redouble joint efforts…The completion of the Metema-Galabat-Gadarif road and the micro-wave link project as well as Ethiopia’s access to Port Sudan have paved the ground for enhanced cooperation between the two sisterly countries… The efforts made by the two sides to fully implement the agreements concluded during the Sixth Joint Ministerial Commission meeting regarding air transport, civil aviation and port utilization were encouraging. The joint Technical Boundary Committee has finalized the project proposal for the redemarcation of the long common boundary, [which is] extremely critical for putting Ethio-Sudanese relations on a firm and dependable basis…”

[emphasis added].

At present, much in the same manner as in 2008, Ethiopia is now in the midst of another disastrous drought that, according to United Nations humanitarian operations reports, trumps the series of droughts of the past thirty years the country has experienced.

Intermittent news thus far have been coming from the Sudan have dealt with Ethiopian farmers being killed by Sudanese soldiers in cooperation with TPLF forces, the supposedly national army, i.e., entire top brass constituted from former TPLF fighters.

Ethiopians cried and grieved. Now they have decided to take matters into their own hands, when the international community could not prevent possibilities of such an outcome perpetrated by the ICC-indicted Sudanese leader Omar al-Bashir eventually leading to something like the deepening crisis. The Ethiopian territory, which has been disputed by the Sudan has aroused Ethiopian nationalism, although it is the ruling party that has been giving away sovereign land, for a claim by Khartoum that historical evidences have failed to see merit and support.

Consequently, what has been happening on the Ethio-Sudanese front should be recognized as a national struggle in defence of national sovereignty, a fight for freedom to ensure the safety and dignity of our people. Without any support from the central power, Ethiopian farmers have stood thus long between fires from both the Sudan and the TPLF.

If Ethiopians near and far allow the deaths of these people today, tomorrow it would prove to be the shame and deaths for every Ethiopian wherever they may be!

Details of the news story on Africa Review today is reproduced hereunder, the slant of whose reporting is strictly pro-Sudan:

    Tension on Sudan-Ethiopia border as 16 farmers killed

    Deep tension has erupted along the Sudanese-Ethiopian border after 16 Sudanese civilians were killed by Ethiopian armed groups.

    Seven others were abducted and nearly 300 head of cattle stolen, according to Sudanese minister of interior Esmat Abdul Rahman.

    The Sudanese parliament has ordered the deployment of military and police forces to protect both territory and Sudanese farmers in the border area.

    After listening to a report by the minister of interior, parliamentary speaker Ibrahim Ahmed Omer ordered the ministry to deploy reinforcements on the borders with both Ethiopia and South Sudan.

    The number of 16 casualties was given by the interior minister. He added that 12 other people were injured in the clashes with the Ethiopian armed groups in El Gadaref state on the border.

    ”The Ethiopian armed groups attacked the Sudanese regular border forces and the farmers in the areas of Fashaga, Algalabat, Giraisha and Sanda in the locality of El Gadaref’,’ said Mr Rahman.

    Repeated clashes have occurred on the Sudanese-Ethiopian border between the ‘shifta’ Ethiopian armed groups and the local Sudanese farmers.


One Response to “CRY MY BELOVED COUNTRY! Ethiopian group kills 16 Sudanese farmers: TPLF’s trade in nation’s sovereign territory with Sudan for Front’s permanence in power backfires”


  1. ሕወሃትና ሱዳን በኢትዮጵያ ሉዓላዊነት ላይ ድርድራቸውን ኒው ዴልሂ ላይ አካሄዱ: መሬቱ ለሱዳን እንደሚሠጣት የሕወሃት መልዕክተኛ መለስ ዜናዊ የገባውን ቃል - November 2, 2015

    […] አልበሽር የፈለገው ስለድንበሩ መካለልና ይህም ባለመሆኑ የኛ ገበሬዎች መሬታቸውን አንለቅም በማለት ከሱዳን ገበሬዎችና ከሱዳን የጦር ኃይል ጋር ሲፋለሙ ኖረዋል። ዜጎቻችንን ሱዳኖች መግደል ሲጀምሩ፣ ኤትዮጵያውያኖቹም አልተበገሩም። በመረጡበት ሰዓት ሱዳን ገብተው 16 ገድለው፣ ሰባት ማርከውና 300 ከብቶች ነጥቀው ተመልሰዋል። […]


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