Afewerki, Extremist Amhara and Ahmed’s Dreadful Crimes against Retired and Elderly former Tigray leaders: Brutality, universal crime, and their adverse consequences
By Justice Michael 01-16-21
The Ethiopian government recently announced that former leaders of TPLF and former government officials of Ethiopia have been killed and arrested in the Tigray region. State-run media outlets and their messengers announced that Ato Abay Tsehaye, Ato Sieum Mesfin and Ato Asmelash Weldeslase have been killed while Ato Sibhat Nega, Ato Abay Woldu and others have been ‘captured’. What is disturbing is that this was followed by the release of an explicit and graphic photos of the dead with a forehead and chest bullet wounds covered in blood by the acquaintances of the Abiy and Isayas despotic regimes.
It seems that the dead are shot at close ranges, which raises the suspicion that they were apprehended, tortured and subsequently executed. The physical situation of those who were detained and subsequently displayed on television also show signs of physical and mental abuse and torture by their captors. Some Eritreans have reported that the place shown on tv before they were transported to Addis Ababa was an Eritrean prison. The police in Addis admitted furthermore that they were captured some time ago. Were where they?
The death of the veterans of the TPLF who any government or party positions in Tigray did not have was an extra-judicial killing of civilians which is a universal crime in both human rights and the laws of war terms. The regime said, as their justification for their execution, that they were leading the war in Tigray and refused to surrender. This does not hold water as assassinating and targeting even a military commander in such a way is considered to be inhumane act of war. Further, displaying their dead bodies through social media is a blatant breach of decency and human dignity. Hence, using the perpetrators’ evidence, an international inquiry (including an impartial post-mortem examination) must be conducted to hold those who committed the murder of these veteran former leaders to account. The announcement of the untimely and suspicious death of the widow of Major General Hayelom Araya, Mrs Alganesh, a resident of the United States, must also be investigated and reported to US authorities. It is an open secret that General Hayelom was opposed to helping Eritrea during the Hanish Islands war between Eritrea and Yemen in mid 1990s.
This state-sponsored dreadful behaviour is unheard of in modern Ethiopian politics. When the EPRDF to which the victims of such immoral crimes were part thereof defeated the Derg and captured most high-ranking officials of the regime including former Prime Minister(s), army generals, ministers, and intelligence heads, they were brought to justice and subsequently sentenced to life and then pardoned by Mr Meles Zenawi’s government.
The so-called reformists of the Prosperity party should have learnt a lesson from this and place themselves in a better position than those whom they criticize and oppose to on various grounds, including on alleged human rights abuses. Most importantly, the army generals who celebrated the death and capture of the veterans such as Bacha Debele must have remembered the way TPLF leaders, fighters and the people of Tigray did treat them humanely and also gave them the opportunity to be where they are today. Similarly, people such as Andargachew Tsige were not subject to inhumane treatment and punishment despite the serious crimes they have been charged and convicted for, insurrection in collusion with a foreign state.
Furthermore, from the pictures and other emerging information, the murder, torture and abuse of the veterans was likely to have been undertaken by both Eritrean and Ethiopian army and security officers. Subject to proper investigation, and if this is proven, Abiy Ahmed and his partners in-crime will face charges of treason and human rights abuses when the time comes along Afewerki and his crime associates. Such a heinous crime of extra-judicial killing, alleged torture and abuse, must be reported to international bodies for their attention and action without a delay.
If one puts all these cruelty and abuse into wider context, what Afewerki, the Amhara extremists and Ahmed are trying to achieve is to demonise the people of Tigray through mass killing, property destruction and looting and phycological warfare as part of their ethnic cleansing and genocidal agenda. The tv display of dead and arrested veterans who are all above 70 years of age, contrary to legal, political and moral principles is meant to tell the people of Tigray to give up on TPLF and its leadership and surrender to the newly appointed transitional administration lead by Mulu Nega –the person who displayed dead bodies through his Facebook account without any fear or shame and without regard to human and Tigrayan values. This objective was explicitly stated by the army spokesman when announcing the murder of the victims.
It may be that Afewerki and Ahmed has scored a short-term point that helped them to galvanise their diehard supporters. The ultimate consequence of these cold-blooded murders, torture and immoral treatment of bodies and the dignity of former Tigray politicians has however been to the contrary. All Tigrayans, except a few, and friends of Tigray are appalled by such inhumane and unacceptable assassination and physical and mental torture irrespective of their past ideological and political alignment or differences with the leadership of the Tigray region. The barbaric act committed against these elderlies which is part and parcel of the continuous murder of Tigrayans all over Tigray, the prevalent rape and other formers of sexual violence against Tigray sisters and mothers and the malicious destruction of the micro and macro economy of Tigray, has without a doubt reenforced the resentment and bitterness of Tigrayans against the Horn of Africa’s axis of evil –Isayas Afewerki, the Amhara extremists and Abiy Ahmed’s clique. This will also backfire in the sense that the international community, including the upcoming US administration, would be able to better understand the gravity of the crimes committed, and continue to be committed, by the axis of evil of our region since the Rwandan genocide. All justice and peace loving Tigrayans and friends of Tigray and other sensible human beings ought to demand for an immediate and robust international inquiry into these grave international crimes without a delay and shall step up their all-rounded effort to stop the madness of these criminals against the people of Tigray.