Home / Gedab News / Alleged Consultation to Form a Military Wing Unfounded

Alleged Consultation to Form a Military Wing Unfounded

Gedab Investigative Report: On July 30, 2021, an Eritrean website reported about a “consultation between Eritrean entities.” It further reported that “several Eritrean opposition organizations were engaged in preparatory meeting to form “a wide political and military entity to topple the Asmara regime.” It added, “the Khartoum consultations is led by Mesfin Hagos, an ex-Eritrean defense minister, and Haile Menkerios, the previous international ambassador and diplomat…it’s expected the consultations will result in the creation of a military force composed of several military wings with direct regional support as a result of the repercussions of the [Eritrean Government’s] policies in relation to the regional countries and its military intervention in the inter-Ethiopian conflict.”

Immediately after the above news appeared, Eritrean and other writers magnified the report without verifying it. Thus, “the news worsened the already prevailing mistrust among the Eritrean opposition groups and left many confused.”

Also, the above news appeared in a few hours after the official PFDJ website reported that “Senior Eritrean delegation comprising Mr. Osman Saleh, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Presidential Advisor Mr. Yemane Gebreab met with Mr. Abdalla Hamdok” in Khartoum.

Gedab News embarked on a task to verify the news and today it is sharing its findings.

A pure coincidence made some observers think the alleged “consultation meeting” and the visit by the Eritrean foreign ministry duo, Osman Saleh and Yemane Gebreab to khartoum were related. However, Sudanese diplomatic sources told Gedab News the visit by the Eritrean government delegates to Sudan was to discuss the Ethiopian conflict and get support for its attempt to mediate between Sudan-Egypt, and Ethiopia, over the Renaissance Dam.

Prime Minister Hamdouk’s government “appreciated the gesture but nicely rejected the offer,” for fear of contradiction since Sudan holds the current IGAD chairmanship and was pursuing related initiatives of its own.

Observers also said, “Hamdouk and Abiy Ahmed had agreed to carry the consultations in secret.” However, last week the Ethiopian prime minister’s spokesperson said, “Sudan does not have the credibility to mediate in the dispute between the government and TPLF.” She added that “Sudan must first withdraw its troops from Ethiopian territories before playing any negotiation roles.”

A tense situation prevails around the Fashga region since December 2010 when fighting between the two countries flared for a few weeks after which Sudan deployed its troops in the region. The fighting around Fashga, and the eight-month inter-Ethiopian fighting, has displaced tens of thousands of refugees in addition to the tens of thousands of Eritrean and Ethiopian refugees Sudan has been hosting since the mid 1960s.

The PFDJ Appeared in the Rumor Radar

The July 30, 2021, visit by Yamane Gebreab and Osman Saleh to Khartoum and meeting Hamdok was the anchor and trigger for the speculation that developed into a serious rumor. Yet, the rumor equally rattled the PFDJ and the Eritrean opposition. That rumor found another boost: around the same time, Haile met USA officials in Washington to advise them on the current situation in the Horn of Africa, which he always does. These incidents were the background of the unfounded speculation of forming an Eritrean armed wing.

Last July Mesfin Hagos traveled to Sudan on an invitation by individuals who allegedly have ties with officials inside Eritrea. He arrived in Khartoum on his own, at least a week before Menkerios arrived there on a private trip. A few days earlier, Mesfin was seen with at least two opposition members in a social setting and that was misconstrued as a planned consultation meeting and rumors were woven around it.

The rumors grew to include Hussein Khelifa, the third party to the alleged “consultation meeting” with Haile and Mesfin. However, Hussein who lives in Sudan and often travels to Khartoum, was not in the city when the alleged meeting took place. Neither had Menkerios and Mesfin met at that point.

Considerable number of opposition members are “disappointed by the low regard Haile Menkerios has for the Eritrean opposition, particularly the traditional organizations.” However, reportedly he often meets with select people and “drops their names in conversations.” They don’t explain how he could have low regard for the opposition in general but keeps his relations with select groups from the same opposition groups who are member of the ENCDC, an Eritrean opposition umbrella formed in 2012. Often, “Haile avoids appearing in public with opposition members since that would jeopardize the high-stake consultancy jobs he does for many governments and international entities.”

Considering Haile’s stellar resume, it’s natural that many Eritreans in the opposition have high hopes on him; they “couldn’t believe the Eritrean opposition is not in his priority list.” However, Haile is unapologetic and clearly states he is focused on keeping a neutral position due to the sensitivity of his job and career. However, though he denies any involvement in the Eritrean opposition, he peeks in every now and then leaving the opposition confused more than the last time he peeked in. Worse, several people accuse him of making damaging and disparaging remarks when politicians in the region ask him about the Eritrean opposition. Some leaders of the opposition allege, “Haile has always been for removing Isaias Afwerki and a handful of his lieutenants while leaving the PFDJ intact and then reforming it.”

The meeting that Mesfin Hagos had in Khartoum with a few Eritreans in their individual capacity was the source of the initial “military consultation” report. However, it’s unclear whether the report was the speculation of the reporters or a purposely leaked misinformation with a goal to bolster the status of some political organizations.

Hussein Khelifa travelled to Khartoum almost a week after the reported meeting. A close friend of both said, “whenever Mekerios and Hussein are in Khartoum, they meet and chat on many issues; Hussein’s issues are an obsession with the opposition’s affairs, which he has been serving for decades.” Currently Hussein is the president of the legislative body of the ELF which is a member of the ENCDC.

The Subjects of the Rumor

Ambassador Haile Menkerios (74): A Veteran Turned International Diplomat, is involved in diplomatic missions in the region and frequently travels to the countries of the Horn of Africa, especially Sudan. In addition to his work travels, Haile his familial ties in the Sudan and he is an old friend and colleague of prime minister Abdulla Hamdok.

Mesfin Hagos, (74): an EPLF Veteran War Hero, joined the Eritrean struggle in the mid-1960s under the banner of the ELF. Since 2000, he has been living in exile in Germany. Mesfin’s military prowess is unquestionable, and his name is raised with an admiration by many who fought under his command. Currently he is a member of an organization formed after the merger of three smaller groups, which is part of a coordination structure the ENCDC and its allies created in Sweden in 2020.

Hussein Khelifa (78): An able commander of the liberation struggle, Hussein has seen it all since his adulthood when he was sent to [Iraq] where he graduated as an army officer. He kept climbing the command ladder. He always fought against the fragmentation of the ELF but remained loyal to the ELF even during trying times when the EPLF and TPLF collaborated to finally push the ELF into the Sudan in 1982. In the nineties he worked with other allies in the formation of several opposition umbrella groups and finally attended the Hawassa conference where the ENCDC umbrella of the Eritrean opposition was created. Recently he was elected as the president of ELF’s legislative body.

Reported by ME (Canada) Abraham T (USA) Abselab (Khartoum) and edited by Awate Staff

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  • Amanuel Hidrat

    Selam Awate Nation,

    TDF army corps of engineers have reconstructed the blown off Tekeze bridge by the Ethiopian army. This will help to the TDF as a temporary infrastructure for logistic purpose in the North western of Tigray, towards Gobder. The clip will show you when Migbey’s army crossing the Tekeze river. Amazing!

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=MfA0O5Dzlu4

    Regards

  • Dongolo

    Selam all. TPLF/TDF in truly desperate times: ‘TPLF soldiers captured with WFP “high energy” food aid’ which is intended for malnourished children and pregnant and lactating mothers.
    https://borkena.com/2021/08/21/tplf-soldiers-captured-with-wfp-high-energy-food-aid-report/

  • Dongolo

    Selam all. Borkena just posted an article titled ‘Confirmed : Tsadkan Gebretensae lost significant portion of his forces’.
    https://borkena.com/2021/08/20/tsadkan-gebretensae-lost-significant-portion-of-his-forces/

    • iSem

      Dongolo, former prisoner and current PFDJ support
      Listen, this is war and Tsadqan’s army is irrelevant to Eritrea. Can you talk about domestic Eritreans matters.
      And just because link is allowed today, do not insult our intelligence, Borkena is Amahra Propaganda website. A few days ago, it posted fake AI enhanced reporting that UN said that the killing and rapes are prove yet. they called it leaked.
      So please stop insulting the intelligence, link other news sources

      • Dongolo

        Selam iSem. Tsadkan’s army? What army? The ones captured eating stolen donated baby food?

        • iSem

          Dongolo:
          It is you who referred to them as Tsadkan’s army
          I do not know about stealing baby food. but you have to be ashamed to be talking about baby food stolen(bad enough) but why are not you taking about the babies killed in Erirea. Why are you becoming a propaganda tool for Ethiopia? Why not talk about “domestic” issues
          I am exposing your hypocrisy. Though I support the right of Tigray people to defend themselves, I support their dream of liberty and freedom, I do not propagate TDF/TPLF propaganda as you are doing for Amhara propaganda.
          And that is our problem with you guys in Eritrea, you have no principle, if PFDJ says let us give Assab to Ethiopia, you will justify it . I bet you and a few here if tomorrow, PFDJ/IA wakes up and tells you let us make Tigray part of Eri you will cheer it.
          Can we talk about domestic issues, or Amhara region is domestic now?

          • Dongolo

            Selam iSem. Again, your cognitive capacity is lacking. Look again at my initial comment and tell me where I mentioned Tsadkan’s Army. Buddy you are all over the place and a walking contradiction -one minute , raising concerns about Sawa recruits going to Tigray but then always promoting TPLF assault on Eritrea (which would necessitate engagement of Sawa recruits). Discuss domestic issues? Failing a new article focusing on such, it seems impossible in so long as Digital TPLF and their Eritrean sympathizers dominate the boards here.

          • iSem

            Hi Dongolo:
            The one whose cognitive capacity is moronic is you. You cannot even remember what your wrote: “Selam all. Borkena just posted an article titled ‘Confirmed : Tsadkan Gebretensae lost significant portion of his forces’.https://borkena.com/2021/08..”
            In English we use the apostrophe to indicate possessive, eg Donglol’s lies or the lies of Dongolo, so there is no difference between “Tsadkan Gebretensae lost significant portion of his forces’. “His” indicates Tsadqkan’s army or forces. So what are you talking about? You quoted that. Did not you?
            Now stop peddling falsehood (read lies). yes am concerned when I see underage kids in Sawa, kidnapped from their homes and going to war and about Tigray assault, I said, TDF has a right to attach EDF to defend itself, it is not good for us, it will kill our sisters and bros, but it is the same for EDF to attack TDF if they are in Eritera like they were in Badme for 20 years. Simple logic but imbicel cannot compute this logic.
            People like you think it is only them that have loved ones in there, probably you have no one. so there is no contradiction on my statements. TDF has right to defend it self and the responsibility is on PFDJ not to intervene in Tigray, you have not acknowledged that, even with your Dongolo name you cannot say the truth because your are stooge, paid working somewhere in PFDJ offices or dabbling as one
            I do not take lessons from mercenaries like you about contradiction and facts. First abide by the basic human decency of standing for truth and in this case the truth is to oppose PFDJ for intervening in Tigray beyond kicking TDF from Badme at the right time (should have done it long time ago)
            Now, let me burn your brain cells by this contradiction: TPLF was in Badme for 20 years and because of that your side was telling us that we cannot live normal life until our border is demarcated and I was saying the occupation of Badme is irrelevant and I hope TPLF does not leave Badme. But I still support for a “vanguard” org like EPLF as it claims should protect borders. Is your brain hot now? Wrap that around, Will talk in a week. If you need more time, let me know, I can extend the deadline

          • Dongolo

            Selam iSem. Not only is your cognitive capacity lacking for you also have selective comprehension. In this case, you interpret ‘forces’ in the way that suits your need. You are like a rubber ball endlessly bouncing in an empty room. You make all types of false accusations of what people have said and who they support. Now go lay down for 1-hour, I will tell Alexa to play a Harry Potter story for you.

  • Brhan

    Hello Awatistas
    Qatar is asking a US court to make Eritrea pay 300,000,000 to Qatar Bank
    Bloomberg news 10 August 2021
    Can the regime pay that money?

  • iSem

    Hi All:
    Haile M may have low regard of he opposition, that is called self loathing. he is an opposition, unless he changed. But more worrisome is his low regard to some segments of Eritrea, and ironically he is married to one. PFDJ, former PFDJ never really leave PFDJ, PFDJ leaves them.
    Look at Dr. Amanuel Mehreteab, that my friend Abu Shaba wo Abu Shab (no Abu Al-Shabaian because there is no “muthenaE” for a boy and a girl LOL) was so delighted to praise. Dr. Amanuel’s ideas were good but his words, his vernacular, his lexicon has not changed a bit and to some of us his ideas appeared more nebulous.
    Most the breaking news today is the cooperation between TDF and OLA. Timely. Smart. Churchill is smiling. No permanent enemies. No permanent friends. But permanent interests.

    • Brhan

      Ya zol Ya iSem da kalam shnu?

      Shab ( single masculine).
      Shabain/Shabaian/Shabeyn/ ( dual, masculine, object),
      Shaban ( dual , masculine, subject)

      Shaba ( single feminine)
      Shabatan ( dual, feminine, subject)
      Shabatain ( dual, feminine, object)

      Shabab ( plural , masculine) Shabat ( plural, feminine)

      If you have two masculine you will say Abu Shabaian.
      If you have one masculine and one feminine , you will still say like the above.
      If you have two feminine you will say Abu Shaabetain

      Wadeh zey Alshams wal shnu? wala ana qlatan?

      • iSem

        Merhab Bek Brhan Al Din:-)
        Exactly: I was teasing BNB
        Do not pick on the Sudanese: Ya zol, they are the mist fessihin fi al Luqqa al-Arabia 🙂 Mush kidda?

        • Brhan

          iSem Pasha, Shukran ala kalam al jameel.

          • iSem

            Brhan:
            La Shukru ala alwajib:
            Hey, you are reminding me of Sudan. I hate Sudan, I love Sudan, I am ambivalent about Sudan. I adore Sudan
            WegaElek ( I am sure you will not know this as you never being in Sudan, unlucky, lucky Brhan LOL

          • Brhan

            iSem
            I asked and found that it means “Did you understand”. Thank you for letting me enrich my Sudanese Arabic vocabulary.

  • Abi

    ሰላም ክቡራትና ክቡራን የአዋተ እድምተኞች

    Who amongst us remember the drama የአዛውንቶች ክበብ on Ethiopian Television during the ደርግ ዘመን?
    On that drama ወጋየው ንጋቱ used to have a famous line “መርቆርዮስ!”

    መርቆርዮስ!!

    • Aman Y.

      Abi,

      ሴትዮዋ ውብ ናቸው
      ውብቱን ተወውና ቤት አላቸው?

      አዎ ሸላይ ቤት አላቸው
      መርቆርዮስ! የሚሸልል ቤት ደሞ አለንዴ?

      • Abi

        Aman
        You are the best !!
        እንዴት አስታወስከው? እኔ መርቆሪዮስ!ብቻ ነው ትዝ የሚለኝ::