Meles and Beshir: Unholy Alliance

By Adane Atanaw – adane.atanaw@yahoo.com                                                                                                                                 

On the basis of tangible evidence, Meles’s government wants more than mere victories over his opponents. He wants blood. Your blood, if you are opposing his ethnic segregation misrule. Every last drop of it. Let him get an opposing party/individuals down and he exercise his blood lust, even going afar for more victims beyond internationally recognized territories, as he did to the Ethiopian refugees in Sudan and Kenya recently. Sadly, a neighboring country of Sudan solidly conspires with Meles’s heinous criminal act for untold suffering of Ethiopians.  

On July 7 2007, the Sudanese security agents at the request of the TPLF government rounded-up and arrested over 20 Ethiopian political refugees from Khartoum and Gedaref area. The refugees were legally registered by UNHCR and Sudanese office of the refugee and never been a security threat to the Sudanese government. They were unarmed, law-abiding individuals who were under the protection of the Sudanese people and government from political persecution of TPLF in Ethiopia.  

Seven weeks after the arrest, eyewitnesses, international humanitarian organizations, private Sudanese officials and other sources confirmed that the Sudanese government had answered favorably to the request of the TPLF regime and turned them over forcibly against their will to the Meles regime on September 27 2007, at the border Ethiopian town of Metema. Since then no one knows exactly what has happened to them in the hand of Meles’s TPLF regime in Ethiopia. 

Regrettably, among those political refugees forcibly handed over to the TPLF regime against their will there is Ato Atanaw wassie who has lived in the Sudan as a refugee years before takeover of Ethiopia by the TPLF in 1991. Ato Atanaw Wasie, founder and member of the leadership of the Ethiopian Democratic Union (EDU) – one of Ethiopian strong political parties that fought against the military junta “Dergue” in the 80’s– is one of the forcibly returned victims of Meles. He is languishing in TPLF’s prison in complete isolation and harsh condition. What was his crime? Hasn’t he suffered enough under the Dergue? No doubt the TPLF has turned itself brutal, excelling the Dergue in all categories even worse with divisive ethnic politics.   

The Beshir government decision to forcibly to handover the defenceless refugees to the TPLF regime they opposed, however, not only violated human right, but also Sudan’s own declared constitution and international law. The action of the Sudanese government defies common sense and shattered long held mutual trust between the people of Ethiopia and the Sudan. The naked inhuman treatment of the Sudanese government against defenceless refugees is troubling, bad-precedence, short-sighted, and insensitive to human suffering and disgusting at best. At least, the government of Sudan could have offered an opportunity to the refugees to seek third country asylum instead of endangering their lives by turning them-over to the vindictive TPLF sharks. Alas, what prompted the Sudanese government to take such drastic action against defenceless refugees under his custody is hard to rationalize and remains a puzzle for many who followed the politics of the Sudan.  Ethiopia and Sudan share over 1600 km common border and historically both countries were home to political refugees one way or the other for citizens of both countries. However, such inhuman treatments such as deporting refugees were recorded by both countries. The action taken, therefore, by the Sudan on September 27 2007, is a beginning of a new bad chapter in the long existed relation between the people of Ethiopia and Sudan.    

It is appropriate to bring to mind few instances of the past and present to remind the Sudanese current policy makers (if there is an ear to hear) how the sisterly and brotherly people of Ethiopia stand on the side of the Sudanese people in times of need:

 ·        1865 the tribe leader of Ja’ali  (the tribe of the current Sudanese president) sheikh McNimer, from Shendi in the north of Sudan, travelled all the way to Ethiopia with his followers estimated to be 50,000 strong men and women seeking political protection after the Egyptian invaded his tribal territory. The then Ethiopian leaders accorded him cordial reception. He lived in Ethiopia as a refugee for 16 years and the town of Shehidi, an Ethiopian town near the Sudanese border was renamed in honor of Mcnimier birth place of Shendi.

 ·        In 1960, Ethiopia hosted a large number of southern Sudanese refugees during the north and south conflict till it ended by  “The Addis Abeba Accord” of 1972.

·        In 1970, the Sudanese religious and political movement known as “the Ansar” in the central region of Sudan, after confrontation with Numeri’s government fled in mass into Ethiopia and lived as a refugee till the removal of Numeri’s administration.

·        1980’s, southern Sudanese were forced to flee in large numbers into Ethiopia escaping the SPLM and the central government conflict and still half of the large number of refugees remained Ethiopia. 

The Sudanese government clearly has showed its disregard for human right and for the historical good relationship that existed for centuries between the two sisterly people of Ethiopia and Sudan. The Beshir government action is clearly an act of hostility against the people of Ethiopia by interfering in the internal affairs of the country by siding with the much-hated Meles regime. It is an absolute disregard to the feeling of the many Ethiopians and a breach of international law in which Sudan is a signatory of international treaty.  

We should, therefore, hold the Sudanese government equally responsible as that of the TPLF  for the suffering and disappearance of Ethiopian refugees who were under its custody.

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Published in: on February 5, 2008 at 10:27 pm  Comments (3)