Tag Archives: Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

From today’s briefing by Spokesperson of UN SG on TPLF war in Tigray Region

24 Nov

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)


On Ethiopia, I can tell you that we remain extremely concerned about the safety of civilians in the Tigray Region, especially the more than half a million people — including more than 200 aid workers — who remain in Mekelle following information that fighting might move into the city in the coming hours. 

We and our humanitarian partners in Ethiopia are urgently calling on all parties to the conflict to comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law and protect civilians and civilian infrastructure, including health facilities and water systems. 

Our humanitarian colleagues also stress that it is urgent that all parties to the conflict enable the free and safe movement of affected people in search of safety and assistance, including across international and within national borders, regardless of their ethnic identification. 

We along with our partners in Ethiopia are ready to provide humanitarian assistance to people impacted by the conflict.  For this, free, safe and unhindered humanitarian access is urgently needed. 

We continue to receive reports of internal displacement.  Nearly 39,000 people have now fled to Sudan, including 17,000 children.  The response is scaling up, but the influx of arrivals is outpacing the capacity on the ground and additional funding is urgently needed. “

/UNSG Spokesperson https://www.un.org/press/en/2020/db201123.doc.htm

Nov. 23/2020

Is UN Secretary-General duped into appointing TPLF man with many identities UNISFA Commander? So seems to unveil IGAD notice of his termination & photos

1 Jul

By Keffyalew Gebremedhin  The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)


Click to magnify



In reading the letter of termination, I saw only the name and did not know anything about it. I had earlier received a twitter message from Somalia someone informing me ‘Gen. Gabre’ was dismissed.

It did not make sense for two reasons:

(a) different name, and

(b) he was officially appointed on nomination by the TPLF from Addis Abeba to UN Secretary-General!

Sunday night, June 30, 2018, for some reason I wanted to see the letter again. I saw the picture. It looked to me now he exactly is Gen. Gabre, i.e., Gen. Gebre Adhana Woldezgu (official name for the UN), who on April 2, 2018 was appointed the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) Commander!

For me, the pictures are the two pictures (hereunder) represent the same person, as does the IGAD one, perhaps taken at the time of his employment!


  Is he his brother, or the same person?

A front, side & back profile of the general in Somalia, making deals with clans, spies, etc.

Gen. Gebre free to shuffle thru the papers of a Somalia minister (Credit: Samyanta)

Gen. Gabre, as they refer to him in Somalia, possibly picked from his twitter handle

The picture on the left is from my first article on the TPLF Major-General, as a criminal killer in Somalia and the Ogaden. I got this picture from Somalia media and later from his twitter page, when I wrote about him.

At the time, I was trying to attract the attention ofUN Secretary-General  Antonio Guterres so that he would not be misled by the TPLF and associate the United Nations peacekeeping operations with the wrong person, appointing him UNISFA Commander.

Gen. Gabre with his co-consipirator Somali Region President Abdi Iley (Credit: @WeiAlfaGabree)


Apparently, the guy has many subterfuges and cover-ups as a known killer in the Ogaden and Somalia. He is intimately linked to Abdi Ilay, Chief of Ethiopia’s Somali Region, whose residents for a while now have been up in arms because of his terrible cruelty and violation of human rights.

So far, the only setback he has suffered is the removal of the Eastern Command Sector of the Ethiopian National Defence Force (ENDF), which until last week was under General Measho Beyene’s command, Abdi Ilay’s godfather, as they refer to him  in Region 5.

Here he is seen with UN Secretary-General on May 2nd 2018 for a photo-up!

My efforts to draw attention of Secretary-General Antonio Guterres with these two articles has until the IGAD letter (above) had not gotten any outside corroboration:

a)     Why I disagree with UNSG Guterres’ appointment of ‘Gen. Gabre’ UNISFA Force commander, the walking terror tainted by human rights crimes & corruption in the Horn!

b)     Has TPLF blind-sighted UN to get a controversial general inducted as UNISFA commander, or UNISFA a TPLF agency legitimising its ethnic discrimination agenda & practices?


I do not know the person, I mean, the general. Therefore, I have no ill-will against that person.

However, I am repeatedly writing about him for two reasons. Firstly, I am unhappy with the arrangement for the TPLF to run its own ‘UN peacekeeping force since July 2011 to operate in Abyei., between the two Sudans. Secondly, I have been displeased with the United Nations being exploited to legitimise TPLF’s ethnic discrimination agenda and practices in Ethiopia, as has been happening in the appointment of commanders for UNISFA. They are strictly picked up by the TPLF — ethnic criteria and kickbacks!

From a country of 105 million and 80 ethnic groups, since July 2011 all the force commanders have been ethnic Tigreans, save two: Maj-Gen. Hassan Ebrahim Mussa (January 15, 2016 – January 16, 2017, an Amhara by ethnic group); and, (b) when Maj. Gen. Birhanu Jula Gelalcha (November 21, 2014 – January 20,2016, an Oromo by ethnicity) commanded the force.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has recently appointed Maj. Gen. Birhanu Jula Gelalcha as Deputy Chief of Staff.

Note that my own position on the identity of Gen Gabre has changed from the first one.

In reading only his name from IGAD’s letter, it did not occur to me it would be the same person. I ignored the fact that as a corrupt person and a killer, he would need lots of aliases and masks!

On account of that, I apologise to those I have misled with the tweet hereunder:

Later I reacted accommodating the possibility, but without abandoning my skepticism. The reason for me was not pile up added burden of crime of identity theft. Anyways, I give the credit to my sources in Somalia such as MoradNews, which had prompted me to send UNSG the message below.

That is the reason why I sent out on June 25 the following twitter message in response to MoradNews:

I count upon the understanding and intelligence of those Ethiopians and Somalia citizens for my failure to create the resemblance early enough.

One could note from my first article, he had lied about his career. I could catch that simply because he said he has had 38 years of military service in the Ethiopian army. How could this be true?

He was a TPLF fighter with TPLF Tigray liberators as a young man, lucky me, and the numbers did not add up since the TPLF has run down Ethiopia only for the last 27 years!

Thank God, it is now over for Ethiopia!


The devil dead in Ethiopia, at last?   Eritrea to send peace mission to Ethiopia for talks with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government

20 Jun

By Keffyalew Gebremedhin, The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

It is no surprise that since June 18, 2018, the famous quote by the English novelist Charles Reade: “Courage, mon ami, le diable est mort! (Take courage, my friend, the devil is dead!) has been on my mind.

After listening to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed that day in parliament, his pledge to institute the rule of law —”Presumption of innocence until proven guilty”—  for the first time ever in my life has made me trust our nation’s leader and as such identify myself with him. Thus, the pinned message on my twitter page now essentially reads: ABIY AHMED OUR PRIME MINISTER in the context of rule of law!

In response to Ethiopia’s acceptance of in its June 8, 2018 statement of the December 12, 2000 Algiers Agreement without any precondition, Eritrea too has today broken its silence and has expressed interest in sending a delegation to Addis Ababa for the necessary peace talks.

On account of what Abiy has demonstrated to date, more particularly inside the TPLF parliament last Monday, Eritrea seems convinced its infamous foe, the ‘clogger’ of peace to date now belongs to Ethiopia and Eritrea’s past. By the will of the Ethiopian people, the TPLF regime is very likely out of commission. However, there can be no certainty it would not try its usual mischiefs, as it has already been trying to fan ethnic tensions and conflicts. However, the prevalent mood in the country is, as stated in my response to similar concern Tuesday, the risks are more for the TPLF as well as the responsibilities for the consequent conflagration, leading to its final termination!

Eritrea responds to Ethiopia’s peace overture

The TPLF’s information outlet secured this Eritrean information from a tweet by Ato Estifanos Afeworki, Eritrea’s envoy to Japan, who revealed: 

A translation of President Isaias’ statement, as presented by The Washington Post reads:

“We will send a delegation to Addis Ababa to gauge current developments directly and in depth as well as to chart out a plan for continuous future action…The Eritrean people, but also the Ethiopian people, have lost an opportunity of two generations for over half a century”.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has responded positively, according to the Post, expressing “his readiness to welcome warmly and with considerable goodwill the Eritrean delegation.”We have heard in the past, the evidence for Eritrea of Addis Abeba’s acceptance has been Ethiopian troops withdrawal from Badme. Now, I feel, there may have been quiet contacts between Addis Abeba and Asmara for some time to return to status quo ante 1998.

I strongly feel that this Eritrean positive response comes after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has exorcised in public in parliament on June 18, 2018 the 20 year-old demon that has locked Ethiopia and Eritrea into a permanent state of conflict. Abiy seemed to level the fault for this on the TPLF. He accused the Front of squandering a poor nation’s resources, as if acquiring the latest sophisticated ground and air warfare weapons could secure peace. It only proved a hindrance to peace, while it was too much, costly and burdensome for a country of 105 million population against a nation of 5.2 million. 

It is the case, I presume, possibly the prime minister’s first extensive reporting to parliament on the overall Ethiopian situation, with emphasis on the importance of sustainable peace with Eritrea that must have helped sway Eritrea to end its wait and see attitude.

I learn from my senses and close friend’s reactions to Monday’s development, i.e., Abiy’s vision, his logic, transparent approach, seriousness and the courage of his profound conviction have done the magic, gripping Ethiopians at home and abroad, possibly infecting Eritreans too.

Abiy’s “መደመር” Gospel

The sense amongst the majority of Ethiopians today is optimism, at last finally better days are coming. On the other hand, before our eyes, the TPLF has taken humiliating beatings with the truth and revelation of its injustices against our citizens and the nation. Therefore, for almost everyone the awareness of the possibilities of becoming one and whole again for real.

Equally important are the lessons from the past that remain valid: this wholeness must be constructed on the solidity of mutual respect, equality, freedom, rule of law and respecting the dignity of each and every Ethiopian, fully restored where infringed and wholeness within every citizen’s reach

Instrumental for the prime minister in doing his ‘healing’ is his now popular approach “መደመር”! It literally means, to be added, in the sense of readiness to pull together.

The prime minister believes his “መደመር” ensures sustainable peace, beat poverty and facilitate true development of Ethiopia, or a group of nations working together toward the same goal of changing the lives of their citizens.

This መደመር”,  Abiy has been harping from day one since he set foot on the political scene on April 2, 2018.

In its deeper meaning “መደመር” implies being conjoined, as one people i.e., to live in sustainable peace that facilitates working together toward enabling our people(s) to live qualitatively improved life.

This represents a complete departure from the nearly three-decade-old ideology and state politics of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). We saw in Ethiopia through its white lies and its mafia-esque robbery, ethnic politics has been TPLF’s goal of fragmenting society into its lowest elements, which literally is its war game, its strategy aiming to divide and conquer even relatively stronger party, eventually reducing it into its prey.

For Abiy, what“መደመር” or being conjoined means, Ethiopia internally achieving unity and cohesion— to stand as the Ethiopian nation and state. As pertains to the Horn of Africa sub-region, four days before reporting to parliament he was in Somalia. On his return, Abiy offered his vision for Ethiopia and Somalia. His effort is to spread his “መደመር” Gospel, that is replicating the same amongst Ethiopia’s neighbours. This he said would create better opportunities for the peoples of the Horn of Africa, a sub-region to date known for its restlessness and wretchedness of life. 

Because of my familiarity with the situation in Somalia, I am more surprised by the degree of welcome accorded to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to his “second home”. There is also the affirmative response of President Mohammed Mohamud to the Ethiopian prime minister’s “መደመር” Gospel, already affirming Somalia’s readiness  to work full time to benefit from economic integration as it his nation’s objective!

In formulating this, Abiy’s starting basis is the shared commonalities between the two nations, which capitalises on shared ethnic origin, culture, religion and history, as he put to Somalia’s leadership!

Ethiopia and Eritrea: One people, One nation

Speaking of his approach for peace between the two brotherly peoples of Ethiopia and Eritrea, Prime Minister Abiy emphasised each and every exercise for peace heretofore has been exploited for political ends. 

It is in that context he vowed “There to be no democratic dispensation in Ethiopia in his administration, wherein we [the politicians] bring forth to the table only what we scheme and plot.” (“ከዚህ በኋላ የድብቅ ፖለቲካ ኢትዮጵያ ውስጥ አይሠራም… በመደበቅ፣ በመሸረብና እኛ ብቻ አብስለን  የምናቀርብበት ዴሞክራሲያዊ ሥርዓት የለም”!) 

Instead, as a soldier who has paid his share with the lives of a close family member and friends and the damages Ethiopia has sustained during that war with Eritrea and the consequent losses in wealth continuing to this day, he made clear how his proposal can be realised, as follows:

“Our thinking is to talk together and work toward realisation of the objective of what the EPRDF Executive Committee has proposed. This makes sense because the people of Eritrea are our brothers. Brotherhood would not disappear irrespective of land taken, or land received.” (“እኛ የምናስበው እየተነጋገርን እንተገብረዋለን ብለን ነው፡፡ ምክንያቱም የኤርትራ ሕዝብ ወንድም ነው፡፡ መሬት ስለሄደና ስለመጣ ወንድምነት አይቀርም”)

In the barely three months Dr. Abiy Ahmed has been in office, he has won the accolade of politicians in foreign lands and the international media. A good friend of the Ethiopian people, who for long has sought and endeavoured through the United States Congress to change the untenable course Ethiopia has been orbiting, Congressman Chris Smith  (R-NJ), Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, noted:

“I welcome news of Ethiopia’s acceptance of the 2000 peace agreement with Eritrea as well as parliament’s approval of a bill to end the State of Emergency. I remain cautiously optimistic that Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed will continue along the direction of peace and respect for human rights.  The lifting of the state of emergency means that imprisoned journalists and peaceful activists must now be freed, and greater progress must be made toward inclusive governance.  Congress will continue to monitor developments in Ethiopia with guarded optimism.”

Abiy’s maturity and his reflection in everything leaves its traces for everyone to see. He has repeatedly acknowledged what has propelled him to office is the citizens’ opposition to decades of TPLF mode of governance by state violence, official burglary and torture and terrorism against the people, as he has put it, ‘the terrorism of those in power’.

Of course, Isaias has also picked this point, it seems as a reminder – I don’t know to whom — as The Washington Post quotes him saying “Ethiopians have said ‘enough is enough’… Ethiopia is now at a turning point or transition.”

In When Peace is a Problem, international observers The New York Times quotes think:

“If Ethiopia does withdraw its troops from the Eritrean territory it still occupies, a key excuse for Mr. Isaias’s iron rule will be removed.

His admirers hope that he would grab any historic opportunity for real peace with Ethiopia to display once again the visionary leadership that defined him as a freedom fighter and reset his management of the country.

His critics, who see him as incapable of shifting gears, believe the sustained bluff that was mass conscription may have just been called. If they are correct, Ethiopia’s recent peace overture could actually make the region more, not less, volatile.”

While there is always that possibility, this time I would like to believe the author Michela Wrong is wrong in subscribing to this view in this situation. I strongly believe Isaias is too foxy to recognise pulling the strings too tight this time would be against his sole interest — spending his last days in power!

Perhaps the story by The Financial Times bears some veracity in stating, even given what Prime Minister Abiy spelt out to parliament regarding access to international waters to Ethiopia’s goods and services – the accursed TPLF has deprived it of. It is of the view that peace between the two nations could, at least, pave the “way to resumption of commercial relations.”

What has surprised me most is the silence of the United Nations secretary-General preferring silence on this Ethiopia-Eritrea peace overture! Recall that the United Nations had managed the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) peacekeeping mission between the two warring nations from 2000-2008. The meaning of this silence has eluded me. 

The UN knows and Ethiopians know full well that the TPLF has been accorded, to the misfortune of the United Nations, the running of one whole UN peacekeeping force—the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA), free to exercise its ethnic discrimination practices since 2011— including its designation of force commanders, deputies and other officers, as I had tried to bring this breach of Charter principles to the  attention of all concerned.

What is more worrying is murderer TPLF officers assuming responsibilities as UN peacekeeping commanders, as I had made known in 2018 in Part I and Part II of my articles on the subject.

Perhaps with the coming to the political scene in Ethiopia of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, the Horn of Africa could be main beneficiary —unlike the TPLF commanders selling masses of weapons— who would mercilessly get rid of Al-Shabaab terrorists, corrupt TPLF commanders-induced  problem. This I had discussed in my various articles on the basis of evidences accumulated by the Somalia Eritrea Monitoring Group reports. One of such reports, for instance, states:

“According to arms traders, the biggest suppliers of ammunition to the markets are Ethiopian and Transitional Federal Government commanders, who divert boxes officially declared “used during combat”. The Mogadishu arms markets are doing a booming business, S/2008/274 08-29068 7 and, according to precise information received by the Monitoring Group, their clients include parties in Kenya.”


Has TPLF blind-sighted UN to get a controversial general inducted as UNISFA commander, or UNISFA a TPLF agency legitimising its ethnic discrimination agenda & practices?

30 May

By Keffyalew Gebremedhin The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

PART Two of two

As the last days of pseudo ‘liberationists’ of the marauding category everywhere await their sinking sun, challenges of all sorts to the United Nations no longer subtle, remain as insidious as ever. Their mission, if at all possible, is subversion of the ideals the Organisation stands for—pure and simple.

These phenomena are daily realities in both the developed world as in the least developed nations. Their driving forces are the hunger of brutes for power and wealths. In thinking of those, many are the moments I have wondered about what the United Nations has done right thus far to ride over many such obstacles and challenges both under normal times and during peak moments of the post-Cold War world.

There is no bette and latest indicator to reach such conclusion than the recent budget cuts by the Trump Administration from United States contributions to the United Nations. Polls show “58 percent of Trump voters agree the UN is still needed today.”

In this environment, it is also refreshing to note that Secretary-General António Guterres should resort to presenting the United Nations as a necessity for our world. He does this, to the extent possible, through continually preparing the Organisation for greater commitment and endeavours to attain its Charter objectives.

Those United Nations goals, as set out in the Preamble to the Charter, aim to enable the post-war world to:

  • “practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbours, and
  • unite our strength to maintain international peace and security, and
  • ensure, by the acceptance of principles and the institution of methods, that armed force shall not be used, save in the common interest, and
  • employ international machinery for the promotion of the economic and social advancement of all peoples.”

Accordingly, Secretary-General Guterres observed on the 56th anniversary of Hammarskjold’s wreath laying ceremony on 12 September 2017:

“Dag Hammarskjold not only believed in the United Nations, he inspired so many others to believe in it, too. We need that spirit more than ever today.”

In a fitting tribute on the occasion, the secretary-general honoured his enigmatic predecessor picking a strand from one of his utterances:

“Everything will be all right – you know when? When people, just people, stop thinking of the United Nations as a weird Picasso abstraction and see it as a drawing they made themselves.”

That, Mr. Guterres followed with a pledge befitting the occasion:

“As Secretary-General, I am committed to understanding and interpreting this complex drawing, so it is clear to all people everywhere what it represents. At its root, the United Nations stands for hope – hope for peace, prosperity and dignity for all.”

The Hammarskjold factor

For most international civil servants and United Nations member states, the enormously collected and focused  Dag Hammarskjold, the second United Nations Secretary-General (1953-1961)remains the architect who, with the approval and collaboration of member states, had successfully elevated the Organisation’s Charter at a difficult time on a reliable pedestal to serve as beacon to states, cultures and humanity in general.

Consequently, with lessons learned from the failed League of Nations, among Hammarskjold’s achievements is his success in determining how the secretary-general and his staff should conduct their relations with states to ensure independence of the secretary-general and his staff.  In so doing, he managed to lock everything within key values of excellence, personal integrity, in concert with Article 100 of the Charter, i.e., “… the Secretary-General and the staff shall not seek or receive instructions from any government or from any other authority external to the Organization.”

Hammarskjold had been credited for putting from the ground up most of the United Nations’ present operating manuals, recruitment policy, staff regulations (regularly updated), security, etc., as well as institutionalisation of peacekeeping, its essential policies, politics and procedures — following the onset in 1956 of the Suez Crisis (also see)

Most remembered is his sharp mind, we are told, which he employed to constantly undertake complex negotiations with member states, solely the United Nations Charter as his guiding light.

In his assessment of Hammarskjold’s achievements, I am hardly surprised that Brian Urquhart — one of the most experienced UN officials under the second secretary-general, in retirement still who happens to be our compass especially on the Hammarskjold era —should wonder in his Hammarskjold (1972) whether the person was “ahead of his time”, so “his personality and exceptional skill made an impression on his contemporaries out of all proportion to their lasting political or institutional value?”

He then concludes: “Hammarskjold was certainly a virtuoso of multilateral diplomacy and negotiation.”

At the opening of the first session of the new UN Regional Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) on December 29, 1958. Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld greeting His Imperial Majesty, Emperor Haile Selassie I29 December 1958 (UN photo)

At a time when trouble was assailing many parts of the world and demanding the secretary-general’s fullest attention, this writer takes pride that Mr. Hammarskjold should visit my country Ethiopia on December 29, 1958 rather on a more peaceful and hopeful undertaking. Brian Urquhart has documented that the secretary-general needed to travel to Ethiopia, “to open in the presence of Emperor Haile Selassie the first session of the UN Economic Commission for Africa [ECA]” where part of his statement lauded the emperor with the following words:

“In the days when international cooperation was not so well founded as it is today,” he told the Commission, “His Imperial Majesty, in the adversity then experienced, was a symbol to the whole world of the principles of international order. It is certainly a vindication of his faith that now, in happier times…the UN is to make its African home in Addis Abeba.”

The United Nations continues to be represented in Africa, with ECA as its regional coordination programme, focussing on human, economic and social developments as its particular goals. Hammarskjold tragically lost his life in Africa, following a mysterious plane crush over the Congo on September 18, 1961. To this day, the United Nations has continued to investigate the cause(s) of his death, following every lead it puts its hand on.

It is granted that perusal of the above paragraphs may get some into thinking this long piece is about Dag Hammarskjold. Admittedly, it’s hard to argue against such assumption. Instead, I would yield; suffice to leave that to how Alec Russell in a May 13, 2011 article on The Financial Times had described Mr. Hammarskjold as “the benchmark against which his successors have been judged – and most found wanting.”

The preceding, it seems, must have been a widely-shared view in-house too, especially if one dwells on the (above) words of the ninth secretary-general, the current occupant of that office.

Fact: This article is not about Dag Hammarskjold!

UNSG receiving ‘Gen. Gabre’ (UN photo) While Otto von Bismarck’s famous saying “Politics is the art of the possible, the attainable —the art of the next best” may always enjoy validity, I have, nonetheless, found myself incapable of reconciling to Mr. Guterres’ two decisions regarding this

Hammarskjold inspires the search for what is right and proper for the United Nations. In that, while the two decision points hereunder might be Secretary-General Guterres’ considered views, especially in dealing with a large troop contributing nation, this piece essentially is about being forthright. That is to say, I have found it difficult to reconcile myself with two of his following actionsThose are

  • The appointment in the first place of Maj-Gen. Gebre Adhana Woldezgu Commander of the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA), announced on April 4, 2018. To the best of my understanding, no vetting of his alleged crimes have been undertaken to protect the Organisation from the implications of such association; and,
  • Tthe secretary-general’s decision to receive and dispatch on May 1, 2018 the major-general to the Abyei mission, i.e., into the contested oil lands between the two Sudans, is taking for granted the concerns of the peoples of Ethiopia and South Sudan who deserve the appropriate responses by the general.

Mr. Guterres’ decisions came only about eight months after his pledge at the Hammarskjold commemoration (above). For me, its loudly-resonating remark underscored the importance of commitment to attain the goals of the United Nations Charter, as he put it at the time, with a view to promoting and protecting “… hope for peace, prosperity and dignity for all.”

Surely, I understand Mr. Guterres may have followed precedence. This wrongheaded decision and practice of entirely relegating UNISFA to the control of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF 1991- ) and its abuses and misuses thereon of the time-honoured United Nations institution started already in 2011. It is his predecessor Ban Ki-moon’s short-sighted action. Mr. Ban was overwhelmed with delight in the TPLF (Ethiopia’s) generosity to provide every UNISFA-required peacekeeper — including civilian and police force — at a time of diminishing numbers of troop-contributing states.

Inevitably, thus the UN surrendered to the wishes, political and economic benefits of its largest troops contributor’s. Such is the situation, for instance, in Abyei UNSFA has had until March 2018 force strength of 4,841 (uniformed), of which 4,321 or 89.4 percent are offered by Ethiopia.

The troops contributions of the other top nine states trail far behind Ethiopia’s in the following order of insignificance: Siri Lanka 5, Ukraine 4, Ghana 3, Namibia 3, Benin 2, Brazil 2, Burundi 2, Cambodia 2 and Guatemala 2.

For the TPLF, by using the nation’s resources was polishing its sooted image through such machinations and its fake double-digit economic growth fable.

This was the door the United Nations blindly walked in to its present trap. At no time has the UN been inconvenienced in becoming an ally of and agency for TPLF’s shameful ‘policy’ and practices of ethnic discrimination in Ethiopia. In other words, the UN has tolerated this for all these years, when UNIFSA commanders, save two, (as shown in the table below) happened to be all ethnic Tigreans, whereas Ethiopia has been known as a multi-ethnic state.

This TPLF crime, in which the UN became co-conspirator, is committed in the name of only less than six percent of Ethiopia’s 105 million population (2017). This — to put it mildly— is not only horrid and extremely annoying. But also on the part of the United Nations it borders betrayal of Ethiopia’s sacred trust, as one of its first few signatory states at San Francisco of the Charter on 26 June 1945.

Periods of commanders’ service compiled by the author from UN sources, while the ethnicity information is native knowledge from names and Ethiopian media. Click to magnify

The problem today is allowing this bad judgement by Mr. Ban KI-moon to stand now — seven odd years thus far, perhaps many more years to come too! Such monstrous failure by the Organisation brings to mind the 1867 famous remark by Prussia’s Prime Minister Otto von Bismarck: “Politics is the art of the possible, the attainable —the art of the next best”.

I take it that the truism in this saying remains valid, its adherents motivated by practical necessities and considerations, especially when dealing with states’ restraint in contributing troops to the United Nations peacekeeping operations.  

This writer is reminded of Hammarskjold’s personal side, revelatory of his handling of the management of the Organisation. In Markings, his sort-of-private diary, is something that is both informative and instructive. In there, he had written: “We have to gain self-assurance in which we give all criticism its due weight and are humble before praise.”

That’s what the people of Ethiopia look to now in the United Nations. They have had enough of the repression and humiliation by the TPLF, while the United Nations chose to side the former in violation of its creed.

Political artisans at the United Nations made a horrible miscalculation in not waking up in good time to correct, when ethnic discrimination is feathering its nest within the Organisation, even after seven long years of alliance with murderers!

Today is May 29

This is a day that also invokes the name of the second secretary-general, Dag Hammarskjold! This writer too considers himself his devotee, aspiring to remain Hammarskjold’s life-long student, honouring his contributions to mankind and civilisations.

That is why the General Assembly too in its resolution 57/129 of February 29, 2003 has designated 29 May every year as the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers. 

On this day, the Secretary-General presides over a wreath-laying ceremony annually at the UN Headquarters in New York in honour of all peacekeepers.

This is in keeping with operative paragraph 1 of the resolution, which states: to pay tribute to all the men and women who have served and continue to serve in United Nations peacekeeping operations for their high level of professionalism, dedication and courage, and to honour the memory of those who have lost their lives in the cause of peace.” 

Those slain peacekeepers in the cause of peace and under United Nations flag during the preceding year are posthumously awarded the Dag Hammarskjold Medal.

Already eighteen days ago on May 11, Mr. Guterres had a photo-up with all United Nations force commanders.

I must be frank to state in that connection my disappointment, since it includes someone he last April appointed as force commander —Maj-Gen. Gebre Adhana Woldezgu — the very subject of this article’s Part One . In that article, I had tried to reason out why I disagreed with the secretary-general’s appointment of that soldier, without duly investigating his  widespread alleged crimes of human rights violations.

The photo-up was, it appears, to enable the secretary-general impress on his force commanders and the United Nations of his “zero tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse.” 

No doubt about its timeliness; this action is essential and fundamentally important, since the United Nations is not an organisation of angels. Already many United Nations peacekeepers — from both developed and developing nations — have been implicated in a number of sexual exploitations and abuses of minors. 

And yet, I would have liked the secretary-general also announcing it is United Nations policy and practice to apply suitability test to those he accepts and appoints as commanders of United Nations peacekeeping operations.

This may inconvenience troop contributing states. 

I hope the secretary-general would agree with me that peacekeeping is one of the most vitally important innovations of the Organisation— a hallmark of its relevance to a troubled world we live in. It should not be treated as less relevant of the Organisation’s work, or something worthless, as insinuated by the indifferent emplacement of a butcher of human beings  as force commanders, as has happened on April 4, 2018!

Ethnic conflict:. Renewed weapon in oppressors’s hands

In the post-colonial era and nearly three decades after the Cold War, tensions arising from scarcity of grazing lands and water are no longer the primary causes of ethnic tensions, especially in Africa. Rather it is power mongers exploiting differences based on ethnicity for political or economic reasons that have enabled its return with vengeance at present as the newest weapon to incite conflicts and instability.

In Ethiopia, following the onset of popular protests since 2014, besides TPLF shootings to kill of protestors and peaceful demonstrators, the regime’s greed for power and riches has compelled it to resort to inciting ethnic conflicts. Of late we hear, some leaders in the region, in collaboration with the TPLF army, are openly vowing to start an all out conflict amongst Ethiopians, if the TPLF is to lose power.

By a recent admission of the TPLF’s security institution, the population in this one of the few oldest nations in the world has been facing displacements. In the last three years, different parts of the country have been awash with state killings along the border between Oromia Region and Region 5, otherwise known as the Ethiopian Somali Region, according to the government-operated human rights organisation. Today, May 29, 2018, Dr. Addisu Gebre-Egziabher, head of the TPLF-run human Rights organisation, openly told the media his organisation has compiled names of state officials and regional leaders, who have their hands soiled in killings and or displacements of citizens, according to TPLF’s Fana

There is also ongoing conflict in Amhara Region up north, where the national army is deployed to defend the TPLF’s annexation of surrounding Amhara fertile lands to build its ‘Greater’ Tigray Region, as shown on the map here.

The root cause of the problem is the TPLF top military officers, one of them being the new UNISFA commander, and civilian leaders wanting to protect their monopoly and power of control over the Khat trade and contraband business between eastern Ethiopia (from their headquarters in the Ogaden Region) and other neighbouring states, entities and their delegated agents in the Middle East – especially Yemen, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, etc.

The TPLF pursues two approaches to crush the people’s struggle for the rule of law, freedom and democracy. As stated above, it has been employing typical divide and rule strategy, inciting ethnic conflicts amongst Ethiopians. The objective is to ensure continuity of the ethnic minority regime. The main beneficiaries are TPLF top military commanders, civilian leaders and the entire regional structure, who have been enriching themselves with illegal businesses and looting of state resources.

As a matter of fact, since summer 2017,  the border between Ethiopia’s Somali Region and Oromia Region was turned into a war zone, Abdi Ilay’s notorious Liyu Police, in collusion with the TPLF military commanders, attacking and displacing over a million people.

International Migration Organisation’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) in April reported “In 2017 Ethiopia’s humanitarian needs were aggravated by the outbreak of conflict along the Somali-Oromia borders and another drought affecting large parts of eastern and southern Ethiopia.”

These people have ended up in camps since September 2017, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance (OCHA). IOM confirms, in 2017 alone, 700,000 people were displaced with the IOM recording a “significant spike” in September of that year, as per report of Kenya’s Daily Nation.

Right at its onset, horrified by the clear situation of ethnic conflict exploited for political purposes, the US Embassy from Addis Abeba in an official statement  on September 19, 2017 did not hold back in stating:

“We are disturbed by the troubling reports of ethnic violence and the large-scale displacement of people living along the border between the Oromia and Somali regions, particularly in Hararge, although the details of what is occurring remain unclear.

We urge the Ethiopian government to conduct a transparent investigation into all allegations of violence and to hold those responsible accountable.  At the same time, on the local level, communities must be encouraged and given space to seek peaceful resolutions to the underlying conflicts…These recent events underscore the need to make more rapid and concrete progress on reform in these areas.”

Strong as this statement is, given the wildfire of ethnic conflict in Ethiopia could create, as Newsweek’s Connor Gaffey, in asking why the US is worried about Ethiopia has picked aptly the implications. The US also has aired its disappointment with the TPLF regime it has kept as a close ally. It’s the TPLF bloggers that mostly tried to misdirect the strains against the person of US Ambassador Michel Reynor.

The issue

Co-conspirators Gen-Gabre. & Abdi Ilay (from General’s Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/WeiAlfaGabree/)

The issue here is the horrid allegations against the new UNISFA commander, i.e., his crimes of human rights violations in neighbouring Somalia and Ethiopia’s Somali Region. It’s in a mere surface-scratch, this article’s Part One of April 11, 2018 has learnt about. It’s that information that it signalled to all those with responsibilities to vet Maj-Gen. Gebre Adhana Woldezgu.

That article’s suggestion was for the United Nations to delay the general’s assumption of command, until his innocence is established. Without it, this writer strongly believes that Maj-Gen. Gebre Adhana Woldezgu cannot be considered a friend of the United Nations, especially as commander of one of 14 peacekeeping operations presently.

Tell me your friend and I will tell you who you are is an old adage full of wisdom. Maj-Gen. Gebre Adhana Woldezgu is seen here with his buddy Abdi Mohamoud Omar (Abdi Ilay), the infamous president of the regional state, otherwise known as Somali Region, or simply Region 5. He has been responsible for so many deaths and displacements of Ethiopians in that region

Also Abdi Ilay happens to be the lynchpin to corrupt senior TPLF civilian and military leaders.

The sale of military weapons, according to the Somalia Monitoring Group report to the Security Council, became common phenomenon. In fact, the report levels responsibility for this on ‘Ethiopian military commanders and soldiers’.

When Maj-Gen. Gebre Adhana Woldezgu was in command of Ethiopian force in Somalia, the Somalia Monitoring Group reports (S/2008/274):

“According to arms traders, the biggest suppliers of ammunition to the markets are Ethiopian and Transitional Federal Government commanders, who divert boxes officially declared “used during combat”.”

The problem with the major-general is that, for him killing is habitual. In the Monitoring Group’s report of 16 July 2008 (S/2008/466) regarding the situation in Somalia, he commanded 50,000-strong in the US-inspired Somalia invasion by Ethiopia.

The report clearly states that the political process between the Transitional Federal Government and the Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia (ARS) could not make any progress any more. The obstacle was the inability to achieve “sustainable peace in Somalia and to recognize the responsibility to deploy a neutral force that would be accepted by Somalis. Opposition leaders also identified the presence of Ethiopian forces in Somalia and ongoing human rights violations as key areas to be addressed by the international community.”

Regarding the 2008 human rights environment, the secretary-general’s report states:

“55. The human rights situation in Somalia continues to be characterized by indiscriminate violence and frequent attacks against civilians, including arbitrary detention of human rights defenders, arbitrary arrests and extrajudicial killings of journalists, as well as sexual and gender-based violence. Since 19 April the renewal of intense violence in Mogadishu between the Ethiopian-backed Transitional Federal Government troops and the insurgent groups has resulted in serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law.

56. On 19 April, Ethiopian forces allegedly stormed Al Hidaya mosque, in north- eastern Mogadishu, killing numerous clerics belonging to the “Altabligh Group”, including a number of scholars, as well as detaining some 40 minors at an Ethiopian military camp in the north of Mogadishu who had been attending religious classes. Both the Ethiopian-backed Transitional Federal Government troops and the insurgent groups are using heavy artillery in urban areas inhabited by civilians, causing dozens of civilians to be killed or injured.

Already in 2007, shortly after Ethiopia’s invasion of Somalia, according to the report of the Monitoring Group on Somalia (S/2007/436), that country was turned into an inferno for Somalia civilians on account of Ethiopian troops human rights violations:

“Whatever little confidence there was in the ability of the Transitional Federal Government to rule is fast eroding and antagonism against Ethiopia is at a crescendo — clearly not being helped by the Ethiopian Army’s heavy-handed response to insurgent attacks, involving the use of disproportionate force to dislodge insurgents from their suspected hideouts.” 

Why this article

This piece is a follow-up to Part I, explaining why this writer disagrees with UNSG Guterres’ appointment of ‘Gen. Gabre’ UNISFA Force commander. As in the ancient expression all roads lead to Rome, information about the commander this wrier has come across seem to point to the new UNISFA commander being tainted by human rights crimes & corruption in the two troubled nations of the Horn of Africa, Somalia and inside Ethiopia, especially Somali Region!

Co-conspirators (from Gen. Gabre’s FB)

In writing this article, my intention is to humbly ask Secretary-General Guterres to be beholden to his words at Hammarskjold’s commemoration anniversary and enable the United Nations to live up to the expectations and promises its Charter promises have generated and from which he too had drawn the pledge he had uttered, above.

I am not asking the secretary-genera to do the impossible. I am only calling upon him to remove doubts and misgivings, arising from this appointment. It is my sincere view the secretary-general should seize this once-a-life-time-opportunity to give pride of place to the Organisation’s Charter principles by reconsidering his appointment of Maj-Gen. Gebre Adhana Woldezgu at UNISFA, pending investigation of his alleged crimes.

I would like to inform the secretary-general that — as a proud ancient Roman expression has it about all its roads leading to Rome — all available information on the general also point to him being a fatally flawed soldier. We learn form his brief service in Somalia, his hands have been stained with the blood of innocent people.

For me, given the cruelty with which he mistreated ordinary Somalia citizens and also carried out massacres of innocent people, especially those in mosques or weddings is revolting, as Part I of this article of April 11, 2018 had pointed out. I strongly believe this person’s association with the United Nations in UNIFSA, which has troubles of its own, should be avoided at all costs, until he is proven innocent.

Not at all a hero he is. Outside his connection with the leadership in the TPLF, he is not that even to his sender — if at all the Front has any morals.

We have been taught by ancient civilisations heroism is about honour and honesty, loyalty to one’s nation and doing good by fellow human beings. In other words, heroism is hardly measured, as the major-general seems to think and believe, by the number of people a soldier or a general kills.

If the long past were to talk to us today, as the world’s famous mythologist Jospeh Campbell reminds us in his in 1949 A Hero With a Thousand Faces , “A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.”

The key phrase here is “…to bestow boons on his fellow man”, not to rob the poor and private businesses that try to take care of their families and themselves, as the commander had done to build in one of the poorest nations in the world, Ethiopia, first world lifestyle for himself.

Among many instances, Somalia citizens across that country have established ‘Gen. Gabre’ is corrupt through and through. In one instance, only the breakdown of the $2.8 million he reportedly took as bribes and was found by diligent citizens and was reported widely shown in table 18 of the Fartaag Report speaks volumes, including names of forced payers to the general.

Woldezgul’s head is filled with gold, banknotes, cars he seized from Somalia, not integrity and judgement he needs as United Nations commander. Some of the money he received was reported to been turned into all forms of assets such as construction equipment, all of which not possibly in his name, write sources in Somalia. Possibly details of the mystery of his robbery could be unlocked the day some of those allies of his in some of the Middle Eastern states speak out.

Does Abyei deserve a horror?

I don’t think so. Nor do I think the United Nations wants that. However, if the past is any guide, the United Nations responsibilities in Abyei deserve a responsible commandant, unless once again some in the international community feel they give no hoot to what other countries do in Somalia.

This is a question that all along has puzzled the United Nations Monitoring Group on Somalia, as described in its November 2006 report and in compliance with Security Council resolution 751 (1992) concerning Somalia.

His brief stay in Somalia as “Supreme Commander of Ethiopian Forces” was known to have been the period he committed mass massacres during the invasion of Somalia he commanded and in Mogadishu, according to Somalia sources, before he was withdrawn. The TPLF later reassigned him as Senior Political Advisor at the TPLF-operated — in name the eight-nation Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), his target still Somalia — a matter that speaks volumes about the sending state’s intents too.

A thing that should worry Somalia first and foremost and the international community too is the legacy ‘Gen. Gabre’ has left behind. All foreigners and Somalia citizens have always spoken about Al-Shabaab thus far being the excuse for Somalia to continue as a failed state and terrorism its blighter. The UN Monitoring Group in its 2007 report observes:

“117. Whatever little confidence there was in the ability of the Transitional Federal Government to rule is fast eroding and antagonism against Ethiopia is at a crescendo — clearly not being helped by the Ethiopian Army’s heavy-handed response to insurgent attacks, involving the use of disproportionate force to dislodge insurgents from their suspected hideouts.”

However, more than the terrorism of an extremist group, it was “Gen. Gabre” as all Somalia citizens refer to him, who has badly undermined their country. He has needlessly prolonged that country’s prospects of rising out of its crisis to peaceful national existence on Al-Shabaab and other extremists’ graveyard.

Unfortunately, as a divided nation, Somalia has been laden by inability to see itself outside its disorderly present, people like the general corrupting its elites, thereby denying it the trust of and goodwill to live in peace with its neighbours in the Horn of Africa.

Stop for a moment and ask why several African nations inside the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) have for such a long time been paying with their blood, or their foreign allies mostly the United States with treasures. Al-Shabaab’s might is made up to be, possibly by states and their agents who have become beneficiaries in Somalia’s continued imposed no peace no total collapse state!

In my October 27, 2017 article on this matter, I argue:

      “If the TPLF had the discipline to operate as per the

AMISOM mandate, the Horn of Africa could have also been long spared of present and future threats of the Al-Shabaab terrorism and related extremisms. In closer examination, one could sense this situation has prolonged Al-Shabaab’s life instead. With that, the Islamic extremist organisation of terror has utilised the opportunity to improve and develop its destructive capabilities to cause more havoc on innocent people, as witnessed in Somalia including on October 14, 2017 and even subsequently since.”

The secretary-general must see that the soldier I am talking about, he has now appointed to the very post, has miserably proved inadequate elsewhere in the first place. He failed because he lacks principles, the tact and political skills the responsibilities of the post badly require.  

It worries me that his appointment of Maj-Gen. Gebre Adhana Woldezgu to a peacekeeping mission empowered to operate within the Organisation’s Chapter VII mandate may be taken, in his usual way, as mandate to kill in Abyei.



Continuing TPLF massacres in Ethiopia’s universities & non-combatants at Chelenko! Sadly, UNSG & his human rights office remain troublingly silent!

15 Dec

By Keffyalew Gebremedhin The Ethiopia Observatory 

Ethiopia’s dangerously-evolving situation

The reality obtaining in Ethiopia right at this moment is that no individual, whether a parent, neighbour, a brother, or cousin, or unrelated citizen would be indifferent or unaffected by stories of security forces entering universities, dormitories too, at any time — as is repeatedly happening these days in the two largest regions of the country in terms of size and populations — eventually beating and killing students.

This is not a fiction. It has been happening in Ethiopian universities, mostly in Amhara and Oromia Regions.
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