Time and again the neo-liberal forces
come up with an excuse to blacken and defame the constitutional order and the
socio-economic stride. They consider every single thing that happens in our
mother land as opportunity to belittle the progress made in good governance,
social services, etc.
Certainly, these detractors are
all-too-prepared to twist events in Ethiopia and start their monotonous song of
denouncement and doomsday.Their latest theme is the detention and extradition
of Andargachew Tsigie.
Last week, the Federal Police and the
National Intelligence and Security Service Anti-terror Joint Taskforce made one
of the highly anticipated announcements. That is the detention and extradition
of Andargachew Tsigies, who is one of the leaders of the terrorist group,
Ginbot-7. He was detained at Sena’a airport, Yemen while in transit from Dubai
The Federal Police and the National
Intelligence and Security Service Anti-terror Joint Taskforce said that Yemen's
officials arrested Andargachew Tsigie based on the intelligence provided by
Ethiopia's security officials on June 23 and was transferred to Ethiopia on the
The taskforce noted that Andargachew Tsigie
is not the first citizen of Britain to be arrested in Ethiopia. Another British
national of Ethiopian origin, Abebe Wendmagegn, was captured, along its
collaborators, while preparing to bomb Bole-Medhanialem, a busy section of the
capital city, on January 2014. The man, who was under Andargachew Tsigie’s
command was tried and convicted later.
The statement warned that having foreign
countries’ citizenship, being a journalist or membership in a legal opposition
party cannot provide immunity from legal accountability.
Following that, however, several
neoliberal forces rushed to make shameful and illogical statements.
The first tactic of misinformation was to
present Andargachew Tsege as a peaceful politician. That was the tactic
employed by Martin Plaut on theguardian.com. He wrote:
Ginbot 7 is among the largest of
Ethiopia's exiled opposition movements. The party was founded by Berhanu Nega,
who was elected mayor of Addis Ababa in 2005. Refusing to accept the result,
the prime minister, Meles Zenawi, declared a state of emergency ...Ginbot 7
says it stands for the peaceful end to what it describes as the Ethiopian
The many false claims in this paragraph indicates
a deliberate intent to misinform. For example: There is no basis to claim Ginbot
7 is the largest opposition movement. Berhanu Nega has never been elected
Mayor, only elected as a council and he didn't work on that post even for one
day. There has been no state of emergency in the past 23 years. The list of
errors goes on. An important element of the above quoted paragraph is its claim
that Ginbot 7 says it stands for the peaceful end to what it describes as
the Ethiopian dictatorship.
A similar misinformation and attempt to
hide Ginbot 7's violent nature was demonstrated in the statements from other
groups as well.
Human Rights Watch referred to
Andargachew Tsege as: An exiled Ethiopian opposition leader unlawfully deported
by Yemen back to Ethiopia. Amnesty International said: Andargachew Tsige, an
Ethiopian political activist in exile, appears to have been arrested in transit
in Yemen on 24 June and forcibly returned to Ethiopia.
However, these statements, are farther
from the truth. Ginbot 7 never considered itself as activist or seeking
peaceful end. In fact, the one thing that the group is consistent about is its
intent to overthrow the government violently. Even as recent as last year,
Ginbot 7 made a public announcement of its military force - Ginbot 7 Popular
Force. It also disclosed that it is stationed with in Eritrea's territory.
In fact, the role of Eritrea is not a
secret. There are atleast ten Ethiopian groups on Eritrea's payroll: EPPF,
ONLF, two or three factions of OLF, TPDM, APDM, groups formed in the name of
Benshangul, Gambella, etc. They frequently attempt to attack military and
civilian facilities, though they have few fighters and their terror missions
often fail as soon as they cross Ethiopia's border.
The next tactic employed by the
detractors was to depict Andargachew Tsege's criminal convictions as flawed. In
line with that, Amnesty International said that Ethiopia shall ensure that
Andargachew Tsige is not required to serve any sentence for a conviction in
Indeed, it was on December 22, 2009 that Ethiopia's
Federal High Court sentenced Andergachew and 39 more Ginbot 7 defendants. The
Court sentenced five defendants to death, 33 defendants to life terms, and two
defendants to 10 years. The charges in which the defendants were convicted
included: conspiracy against the constitutional system; conspiracy to destroy
government institutions; attempted assassination of government officials; and
inciting rebellion within the army.
The Court handed down the death sentence
to five defendants (Melaku Teferra, Dr. Berhanu Nega, Muluneh Eyoel,
Andargachew Tsige and Mesfin Aman). The Court also ruled to confiscate the
properties of Dr. Berhanu Nega, Getu Worku, Alehubel Amare, Andargachew Tsige,
and Yaregal Yimam, all whom were convicted in absentia. The role of Ginbot 7
and Andargachew Tsege in plots to destabilize the nation did not end there. The
group was complicit in plots to conduct of acts of terror in the Ethiopian New
Year in 2009.
After a proper trial with all defendants
- both present and in absentia - represented by a legal counsel, the Federal
High Court found the defendants guilty crimes of terrorism, high treason and
espionage. The defendants were accused of having links with Ginbot 7, OLF and
ONLF, groups designated as terrorists by the Ethiopian parliament. The
espionage and high treason charges relate to allegations that the defendants
maintained links with the Eritrean government.
Founders and senior leaders of Ginbot 7, Andargachew
Tsege and Berhan Nega were among those tried in absentia and found guilty.
Several board members of Ethiopian Satellite Television (ESAT), considered as a
mouthpiece of Ginbot 7 were also convicted.
The trial was held in accordance with
relevant procedures and attended by members of Parliament, diplomats including
US ambassador to Ethiopia, local and international journalists as well as
Yet again, last year in 2013, Ginbot 7
was caught plotting another terror attack. The Ethiopian Federal Prosecutor filed
charges against squad members of Andargachew's terrorist force plotting acts
through an organized armed group.
This long list of Ginbot-7's terror acts
are also observed by international groups. In 2012, the United Nation's
Monitoring Group report stated categorically: “the Monitoring Group has
confirmed that Eritrea continues to violate resolutions 1844 (2008) and 1907
(2009) by deploying Ethiopian armed opposition groups via Somali territory.”
It detailed evidence of Eritrean support
to the ONLF, OLF, the Tigray People’s Democratic Movement (TPDM), Ginbot 7 and
ARDUF, and said Eritrea “hosts the remnants of other Ethiopian opposition
groups, such as Arbengnoch, Debub-Hizboch, and Beni Shangul”.
Further evidence surfaced last year, with
the appearance of a recording of Dr. Berhanu, head of Ginbot 7. The tape
revealed that Birhanu Nega, chairman of Ginbot 7, received 9.5 million birr
from Eritrea. As Sudan Tribune had reported it:
"The Eritrean government has offered
$500,000 to Ginbot 7, an exiled Ethiopian opposition political organization
designated by Ethiopia as terrorist entity, according to a report on a US-based
Ethiopia opposition media outlet.
In an audio recording of an interview
with the group’s chairman, leaked to AwrambaTimes.com, Berhanu Nega admits that
he received the funds."
From the audio recording, we also
understand that Berhanu and three more Ginbot 7 operatives met the officials of
Eritrea, presented 6-month work plan and received the money. The recording
which was apparently a briefing to officials of Ginbot 7 organization on the
receipt of the funds from Eritrea, elaborates that the fund is to be used for
ESAT and for Ginbot 7 to organize “military and intelligence works” including
the setting up of teams for military operation.
In light of all these, it was expected
that Yemen honors the bilateral agreement for joint action to "control
elements attempting to destabilize the two countries' peace and
stability"; to "jointly engage any third party that attempts to
destabilize the long-standing brotherly and historic ties between the two
countries"; and "not to harbor elements seeking to destabilize the
other's peace and stability".
In fact, any peace loving person cannot
object the arrest of a leader of a group that regularly boasts to undertake
acts of terror. Even last week, AFP reported that: "Ginbot 7 said in a
statement: We declare a war in the name of Andargachew for justice, freedom and
Those who attempt to disguise the true
nature of Andargachew Tsige's activities and the criminal convictions and
sentences on him by a Court of law may talk all sorts of stories all day long. However,
Ethiopia will endure her unilateral, bilateral and multilateral struggle
against terrorism in the region. In the meantime, Andargachew Tsege will settle
his debt with the law.