Ethiopia: The authorities arrests translators as the international media gets “access” to Tigray

Since the 4th November 2021 there have been little to no eyes on the conflict in the Tigray Region. The Federal Government have blocked access to both humanitarian organizations and media houses. This week they have allowed humanitarian access to the region, but also 7 international media houses.

So, to keep in line with the black-out the state is continuing that. Even as the international media is trying to set their feet in their region. The Law Enforcement Operation is persisting and the military is still using force on civilians to gain control of the region. They have allies in the Eritrean army and Amhara Para-Military Group called Fano. Therefore, the unknown atrocities, massacres and violations of the Geneva convention is only mere speculation. As there are only small glimpses of the actions made in Tigray.

Just like the state constantly debunks and dismiss the little articles and reports that comes out. As it never them or allies who are doing the war-crimes, but always TPLF. Even if the TPLF was supposed to be practically “dead” at the end of November 2020. We are supposed to forget that fact as the conflict is on its 4th Month.

We know the Prosperity Party and the regime wants to keep things at bay and only have their propaganda to the world. As the ones that could help the foreign reports to get stories and fix things for them was arrested yesterday.

These are:

Fitsum Berhane (working for AFP) and Alula Akalu (working for Financial Times) professional translators arrested in Mekell. 

Tamirat Yemane (contributor to Aiga Forum), local journalist arrested in Mekelle.

These three was picked up by soldiers, beaten and taken to a unknown location.

Two friends of Akalu was arrested as well: Biniam Abraha and Yohannes Haftom. All of them has beaten and arrested by the soldiers. Also, taken to unknown location and without warrants.

We don’t know what charges the state has for all of these gentlemen, but we know the reason why they were arrested. As the state is “preparing” for the “access” so that they can ensure favourable reporting and only the one the state wants out from the warfare.

If they really believed in free press and have “access”. These folks wouldn’t be arrested for no other reason. That they are connected to media and could help the foreigners to get a deep cover, insights and understanding of everything that’s happening. Instead of eating of the hands of the government and peddling their narrative. Which is easier to do, when they are in the hands of the authorities and not getting outsider help.

This is deliberate and done with purpose. They allow them in and doing so as long as they print what the government likes. Only to ensure that the foreign journalists doesn’t get proper stories or ability to translate interviews. They are doing this with purpose and done to silence the media still.

It’s like you allow someone to enter, but they will not get whole context or situation, because no one locally will be able to tell or translate for them. They only have to go by the words of public officials and state agents, which in the end has an agenda and interests to serve. Not civilians who just got an eye-witness account, which will differ with the interests of the state. The state which happens to have soldiers on the ground and using force to take total control. Peace.

Opinion: Abiy will work on overtime to save his image ahead of the election

The Ethiopian Prime Minister Ahmed Ali Abiy and his Prosperity Party (PP) will work ahead to clean its image. No matter what sort of reports, reporting or stories that comes out from the Federal Republic. His supposed to look good ahead of elections. That is something he needs to be crowned king later in the year.

That is why all authorities, state agencies and such is putting in so much efforts to “debunk” and “dismiss” any negative story about the warfare in the Tigray Region. A war brings atrocities and deaths. That is just a matter of fact. When you operate a war and conflict. There will be blood spilled and no mercy on innocent civilians who get caught in the cross-fire. Even if the Prime Minister promise to not hurt any civilian. His army has most likely killed civilians either by bullets or by default for closing roads, shattering access and hunting for the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

The TPLF will do their bidding against their enemies. They have to stand responsible for its actions. However, they are not in the same pickle as Abiy. Abiy have to look good and astute as a statesman. While his acting as a warlord. The PP and Abiy have already named the TPLF a Terrorist Organization and Outlawed them. So, no matter what they do. They will “win” in the end. As the state have stand accountable for the conflict and the rebuilding of the region. That is not something you can pin on the former ally and coalition partner TPLF.

That is why Abiy have hired lobbyists to look better and get better coverage. Why his government has allowed 7 media houses to cover the region and now opening up unfettered access to humanitarian organizations too. That after claiming to do so much humanitarian work itself as a government. Who is there with Eritrean army, Amhara Para-Military Group “FANO” and own national army fighting on enemy, which it has now been doing since early November 2020. A conflict that was supposed have ended in late November close to December of 2020. We are now in end of February and soon March 2021. This sad tragic conflict seems to have no end and no positive outcome in close proximity.

Even if the Prime Minister needs to grow trees, opening up industrial parks and prove agricultural output. The PM needs to show the quality of the coffee and the basis of financial growth. While asking IMF and World Bank to cover his deficits. As the state is struggling financially and needs to still look vibrant ahead. All for the sake perception, as he cannot tank everything.

Especially, when his “reforms” only have let the world see more pain and suffering. The reforms have only arrested development and detained the opposition. If has detained it… he has silenced it and outlawed it. If it is in Ogaden, Oromia or in Tigray. There is all a bloodshed, people detained and paying the price for the wrong association. That is the reaction his leadership has brought, while he consolidated one coalition into one party. The others he brought peace with after getting power is behind bars. That is the tragic enterprise of this man.

Abiy is only in it for total power. He doesn’t care how many who dies or get in chains. As long as his crowned king. The warlord, the emperor and the sovereign who gives no fucks about the consequences of his actions. As long as he gets all the glory and festivities. He needs the salutes and the praise.

That is why Abiy is reacting now. Giving some ways and speaking of investigations. Even though they will end up nowhere. Just like the Court Orders helping Oromo leaders behind bars. They are shunned and doesn’t matter, as the “Superior Order” have more value then the rule of law. That because the pride of Abiy is mattering to much. He can do this, because he has the state power and doesn’t intend to loose it.

He has to calculate ahead. As the devastations and atrocities will come out. The reports and stories, which entails horrific acts and violations against humanity. Where there been blunt destruction, death and assault on a region. All to prove a point. Burning villages and killing anyone in sight. That is the stories of war and Tigray will be no different. The media blackout, social media blackout , telephone jamming and such have helped to lesser the leaks. Only later witness stories have been let out by refugees fleeing to Sudan. Where the state also claims war-criminals have fled to safety from the state and they want them returned. So, they are planning to persist their attacks on the region for a long time.

Just as the peacekeepers from Tigray was assaulted in Juba,as their time in South Sudan was over and the commando took charge and beat them into submission there. That says it all about the state of affairs. When even the ones serving and the ones who await punishment coming home. They want to avoid that, but is punished before even entering a plane “home”. This is a story, which is reflecting how the state operates and is leaked, because it happened in Juba and not in Addis Ababa.

Abiy doesn’t want that and wants that dismissed. Its inaccurate and always wrong. Just like any other story. However, he can lie and deflect. He can say things that is easily to see is wrong. Like the time he claimed only “youth” was refugees. That was easily debunked, but proves his character and his will to peddle own propaganda for his cause. Therefore, they will go after the ones who dare to question and will most like silence the ones that dares to talk. Especially, ahead of the elections.

When Abiy again needs to be the golden child and be the poster-boy of modernity. Abiy needs to be figure and posture of flair. He cannot look like or talk like a warlord, even if his actions speak of those. As the dead are mounting up and the unknown costs of the Law Enforcement Operation is in the air. Since, the state keeps that hidden and don’t want that out.

What we do know… is that Abiy needs to look good, even when he does bad. Abiy needs to look like a saint, but that is impossible. When his men is killing civilians on a daily basis. Peace.

Ethiopia: Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Press Statement on the Amnesty International Report on Alleged Incidents in the City of Axum (26.02.2021)

Ethiopia: Office of the Prime Minister – Unfettered humanitarian access and joint investigations in the Tigray Region (26.02.2021)

Embassy of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia – Brussels: Letter to the editor of DEVEX (25.02.2021)

Ethiopian Human Rights Commission – Tigray: Killing of Civilians in Axum (25.02.2021)

Ethiopia: Broadcasting Authority Warns International Media before they get into Tigray

On the 24th February 2021 the state gave 7 International Media Houses accreditation to report from the Tigray Region. Where there been warfare since early November 2020. Now after keeping the world in the dark and claiming all reporting as “fake news”. They only want their stories out and not reporting the atrocities happening in Tigray.

That being the stories of the refugees in Sudan, the reporting of foreign forces raping woman and shelling Mekelle. There been so many stories that the Federal Government wants to “debunk” but only wants the positive stories out. Therefore, the Ethiopian Broadcasting Authority have come out with a warning.

Here is what was said today:

In an exclusive interview with ENA today, EBA Deputy Director-General Wondwosen Andualem said the international media outlets had not been able to cover the situation in Tigray due to land and sea transport disruption” (…) “However, the deputy director-general warned that “the media outlets allowed to travel to Tigray in the first round must work professionally and respect the country’s Broadcasting Proclamation, the constitution and other humanitarian provisions.” Otherwise, the authority will be forced to take corrective measures, he underlined” (FANA Broadcasting Company – ‘Broadcasting Authority Urges Int’l Journalists In Tigray To Respect Law’ 25.02.2021).

The International Media is now warned … and that is after 7 Media Houses was just allowed to enter. Now they are told to follow and that is code: “Report what we say and what we want you tell”. They don’t want them to tell stories, which is hurting the image or ideals of Addis Ababa.

We know that the Federal Government wants a certain stories out. They are already writing letters to any publication writing stories they don’t like. The Embassies and everyone else is involved in back-peddling and “debunking” stories.

That is why they will soon take away accreditation or say its “fake news”. Just like they have not accepted anything the Humanitarian Agencies has said either. When they have written about the lack of humanitarian aid, corridor or even convoys. That is a fact and they wouldn’t say so if it wasn’t truth. UN Agencies and others have no reasons to lie about that.

Still, they want to do whatever they can to sell their stories. That is why we can expect soon as they start to report and tell stories that doesn’t favour the Law Enforcement Operation. Sooner or later, they report or tell a story they don’t want out. Expect them to pull the card of not following Broadcasting Proclamation and be ousted. That will happen… because this government wanted it under wrap and not told. Therefore, if nobody else calls it.

I do. Since we all knows it happens eventually. Peace.

Embassy of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia – Brussels: Letter to the editor of EU Observer (25.02.2021)

Ethiopia: Joint Oromo CSOs letter to Secretary of State Anthony Blinken – Re: Dire Situation of Prisoners of Conscience on Hunger Strike in Ethiopia (24.02.2021)

Ethiopia: Oromo Political Prisoners Defence Team – Kaliti Prison Administration Prohibited Mr. Bekele Gerba’s Eye Treatment For The Second Time (24.02.2021)

Mr. Bekele Gerba has been prevented from receiving his scheduled eye treatment again today. It’s well known that he has been treated by an eye specialist for the last several months on regular bases. He used to be treated at WAGGA private eye clinic since his arrest.
Accordingly, he was scheduled to receive laser treatment last Wednesday. However, the prison administration refused to take him, as a result it was rescheduled for today.
After the prison administration told him they will take him to his appointment this morning, it was later learned that they could not take him due to a superior order from above. Doctors have warned him missing his regular treatment will result in permanent loss of his left eyesight.
The prison admnistration is well aware of this, but continues to prevent Mr. Bekele from getting his eye treatment. Refusing medical treatment has become common after Oromo political prisoners started the hunger strike.