Eritrea: The Heroism of Martyr Brigadier General 'Vaynak'
|Breigeder General Mebrahtu Tekleab (Vaynak)|
The Heroism of Martyr Brigadier General 'Vaynak'
By Yacob Cali,
I knew Breigeder General Vaynak in the late '70s when I was a kid in Asmara. He was a tough urban fighter (fedayin), and I was a sympathizer of their struggle.
One Saturday in the late '70s, I received a message from Mama Hanisu. Mama Hanisu was a mother figure to all urban fighters. She used to live around Cinema Roma in Asmara. She told me that I needed two more colleagues to do surveillance on a mass murderer nicknamed "Crocodile" and his accomplice, an Eritrean man, whose name I had since forgotten. I did as Mama Hanisu instructed me and brought along my friends, martyr Ibrahim Adem and martyr Kesete Tekle, to conduct our surveillance.
The next morning, we began to follow Crocodile and his friend from Nyala hotel all the way to the Gospel Hall church. Crocodile was a mass murderer. He killed more than ten innocent Asmarinos inside Bar Oriente. He used to carry an assault rifle Uzi in a shopping bag. It was around Cinema Roma that I approached Crocodile and his criminal friend next to him. I said, "mastika alona shigara". Crocodile didn't buy anything but his partner in crime bought one packet of Rothman cigarettes. It was then that I noticed the terrible Uzi was inside his shopping bag, and realized those two bastards were ready to commit a crime anywhere at anytime.
The two monsters ascended to Askala hanakis (City Center Cafe) and turned right to club Tele and went in to Gospen Hall. Martyr Ibrahim Adem, Martyr kesete Tekle and I followed them and entered Gospen Hall just five minutes after them. The time was around 08:45 am. The Sundey prayer didn't start yet. Papa Bereket was playing the piano until the bible study began. All together there were 15 people in the Gospel Hall. After my friends and I sat in the first row bench, martyr BG Vaynak came in dressed in a brown suit and he put his dark eyeglasses on and called me to come out. He asked me where the two criminals sat. I told him that they are sitting in the second row on the right side of crocodile and on the left side of the hasus. Then for some unknown reason Martyr Vaynak instead of killing crocodile first, he killed the hasus with three bullets and then three bullets to Crocodile's back. Panic ensued and people started to hide everywhere. Martyr Vaynak asked "tekarijen do?" ( are they dead?). I was mad with martyr Vaynak because I wanted him to kill Crocodile first. Unfortunately, I later learned within 10 minutes of the shooting, Crocodile got up and killed an innocent 17-years-old girl from geza Kenisha and shot Papa Bereket on his bicep. Later that evening, Crocodile died at a hospital from his injuries.
After the shooting martyr Vaynak ran through the alley of Bar Gash Setit towards Cinema Capitol. Just 8 minutes after the mission Ethiopia air born (ayer weled) arrived at the seen, however they didn't know the exact location. I needed to kill at least 5-10 minutes for martyr Vaynak to disappear from the area. I told Martyr Ibrahim Adem and Martyr Kested to fight in front of Bini camera repair shop. The air born crew liked the fight because martyr Ibrahim was Very muscular and martyr Kesete was a tiny kid and had the upper hand in the fight.
I admired martyr Vaynak for his courage, and for his elimination of numerous criminals in Asmara, especially that of Haile Abay, the leader of Nech Lebash. The Tigrayan Haile had around 15 Tigrayan bodyguards in Asmara. This criminal used to torture and kill anyone at anytime in Asmara. Martyr Vaynak ended his reign of terror after killing him in Edaga Arbi in broad daylight.
To the families of our martyrs: my prayers and thoughts are with you all during this difficult time.
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