GONDAR, Northern Ethiopia – Heavily-armed Sudanese soldiers on April 21 burned down 24 Ethiopian farming settlements and took 34 civilian captives from Nefis Gebeya of Quara Woreda, a committee following the border-area developments said on Sunday.
The Ethiopia-Sudan Border Committee said in a statement the Sudanese soldiers returned on April 25, and built their garrison on one of the farming zones ceded to them by the Meles Zenawi regime.
“The army burned down a flour mill of the farmers who also lost a tractor to the occupying force,” the statement added.
Agazi army, known for its notoriety of street killings following the 2005 election fiasco and loyal to anti-Ethiopia tyrant Meles Zenawi, also spread terror over the areas between Gondar and Quara, warning Ethiopian farmers of severe consequences if they ever attacked the Sudanese army. (The press released in Amharic is available here. )
The news that the ruling party has ceded a 1600-km stretch of land to Sudan is slowly grabbing national attention. Last week, Ethiopians called the Washington-based Voice of America (VOA) Amharic Service to verify the authenticity of a report which appeared on Ethiomedia.
A government official contacted by VOA failed to categorically deny the factuality of the report, giving listeners a clue there was a territorial concession between Sudan and Ethiopia but, according to him, a deal struck in the “interest of Ethiopia.”
Sudan deploys army on Ethiopian land
GONDAR, Apr 16 (Ethiomedia) – As the government of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi prepares to hand over a 1600-km stretch of land to Sudan, Khartoum has sent and already deployed troops in an area Ethiopians have kept and regarded as their ancestral lands.
“Troops from Khartoum are now in control of areas near Tach Armachoho, Gondar, and this is with the full complicity of the Zenawi regime in Addis Ababa,” a statement by the Ethiopia-Sudan Border Commitee said today.
On April 9, the committee reported that boundary pillars erected secretly by a joint Ethiopia-Sudan taskforce near Tach Armachoho, Gondar, were destroyed by the local people on the night of February 10, 2008.
Government attempts to pacify public anger only resulted in the people warning the Zenawi regime that it would be held responsible for any unwanted consequences in the course of the right of the people to defend their ancestral lands and sovereignty.
Prominent Ethiopian farmers in the area were escorted to Sudan under the pretext of resolving the crisis but they were forced to sign documents written in Arabic and English – languages the Ethiopians don’t understand. “The Zenawi regime is using the documents to warn the local Ethiopians that they have signed the documents as evidence of recognizing the lands belong to the Sudan,” the Committee said in its report.
The Ethiopia-Sudan Boundary Committee today called on Ethiopian political organizations, civic groups and all patriotic Ethiopians to voice their protest to the Sudanese government in the strongest terms possible.
The committee, which condemned the EPRDF regime for its act of complicity with Khartoum, also called on Ethiopians to show their solidarity.
The cession of sovereign Ethiopian areas to the Sudan is the latest in a string of geopolitical setbacks Ethiopia suffered since Meles Zenawi came to power in 1991.
As leader of the rebel group Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), Meles forcefully turned Ethiopia into a landlocked nation by handing over the country’s Red Sea Port of Assab to breakaway Eritrea.
In the 1998-2000 Eritrea-Ethiopia War, once again Mr. Zenawi aborted Ethiopia’s huge military victory over Asmara, initiated the formation of a boundary commission, signed defunct colonial treaties of the 1900s with the sole purpose to benefit Eritrea, and sent a delegation to the Hague that was headed by Yemane Kidane (aka Jamaica), and Dr. Fasil Nahom, two senior government officials of Eritrean stock. The country lost even the undisputed “Badme,” after which The Hague exposed the Zenawi regime of forwarding documents and maps that helped Eritrea win the case.
TPLF officials had half-heartedly accused Zenawi of “treason,” but they were not as swift and merciless as the prime minister who destroyed them at one go, before heading into the 2005 elections that he turned into another bloodbath to stop his auster.
To read the press statement in Amharic, click here. (pdf)