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Ethiopia Opposition Head to Run Campaign From Eritrea

Dr.Berhanu Nega, exiled Ethiopian opposition leader, joined Patriotic Ginbot 7 in Eritrea 

By William Davison

The leader of a U.S.-based Ethiopian opposition group relocated to Eritrea to organize civil and armed resistance against the government in the capital, Addis Ababa, a movement spokesman said.

Berhanu Nega, a former U.S. resident, traveled to Ethiopia’s northern neighbor following the merger of his Ginbot 7 group with the Ethiopian People’s Patriotic Front this year, spokesman Tadesse Kersmo said. Renewed tensions between the Horn of Africa nations, which fought a two-year war that ended in 2000, come before next week’s visit by Barack Obama to Ethiopia, the first by a sitting U.S. president.

“We are following a kind of merged strategy, blending peaceful resistance with non-peaceful resistance,” Tadesse said by phone from London on July 21. Attacks on security installations seek to inspire Ethiopians to engage in non-violent opposition, he said.

Ethiopia has fractious relations with Eritrea, which became independent from its larger neighbor in 1993 after three decades of armed struggle. Sections of the border remain militarized after a failure to implement a 2002 United Nations ruling that awarded disputed territory to Eritrea. Both governments back insurgencies against each other.

Sporadic attacks by anti-government militants haven’t stopped Ethiopia’s economic growth, which is forecast by the International Monetary Fund to exceed an annual rate of 8 percent over the next two years.
‘Appropriate Action’

Ethiopia’s government classes Ginbot 7 as a terrorist group and has sentenced Berhanu to death in absentia. Berhanu’s deputy, British citizen Andargachew Tsige, is on death row in Ethiopia after being captured in Yemen en route to Eritrea in June 2014 to negotiate the merger, Tadesse said.

Ethiopian security forces and the rebel coalition clashed in the northern Tigray region last month, Tadesse said. On July 8, Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn warned Eritrea he would take “appropriate action” if regional destabilization continued. Ethiopia says it last conducted strikes inside Eritrea in 2012.

Ginbot 7 is militarily weak and Berhanu’s move is a “publicity stunt,” Getachew Reda, a special adviser to Hailemariam, said Thursday by phone. “The only way they can galvanize support among a dwindling following is by concocting some kind of drama.”

Ginbot 7 comprises former members of the Coalition for Unity and Democracy, an opposition grouping that made unprecedented gains against the ruling Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front in 2005 elections.

Eritrea Deal

Protests occurred after the CUD claimed victory, leading to almost 200 people being shot dead by security forces. Opponents were jailed en masse for treason before being pardoned and leaving Ethiopia. Opposition parties won one seat in parliamentary elections in 2010; this year the ruling coalition took all 547 constituencies.

The merged rebel group’s only deal with Eritrea is using it as a base, Tadesse said. President Isaias Afewerki rules a one-party state that’s banned private media and was accused of possible crimes against humanity by UN investigators last month. The government says wartime powers, including indefinite national service, are necessary because of the threat from Ethiopia, whose population of 96 million is about 15 times larger than Eritrea’s.

The report of clashes “strengthens the hand of securocrats in the government that have wanted to see a more robust military approach towards” Eritrea, said Michael Woldemariam, assistant professor of international relations and an expert on African politics at Boston University. “The situation is volatile, and the potential for heightened conflict is real.”

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  1. B.Nega Bongar cares for demo,he is after the menilk palace period.An Ethiopian who with the help from DIA wants to bring democracy and good governance is a joke. Eritreas dictator rules with an iron fist and asists others to bring democratic governance is phony,why doesnt he start at home and prove it to the world? Bongar is a traitor and should be punished by hanging..or rot in addisis prison like Endargachew.

  2. You are a stupid Woyane jackass. Who walked your Woyane village thieves to 4 kilo?

  3. As you been carried on EDF tanks to Addis, now Eritrea will throw you off Menelik Palace and give the throne to its owners. You should be thankful for snatched liability to build your lil-tgray sofar LOL LOL

  4. ALL Power of governance emanated thru the barrel of gun/coups/force, have not established any credibility, trust, integrity, accountability, transparency. As of now zero/zilch/nada. In fact, ALL have been proven to create the most cruel/tyranny/barbaric/dictatorial regimes that take human progress decades backward. Thanks


  6. How do you think the United States (and this holds for nearly all countries) came into being? Not only did it "emanate thru the barrel of gun/coups/force" by also through an unparalleled genocide.

  7. I think You meant to say, with the exception of United States, in which case the revolutionary leader George washington surrendered his power/authority to the people as promised in a reasonable amount of time. Delivering his promise of "Government for the people by the people", makes him a legendary hero, who forcefully snatches back the stolen/denied "Freedom torch" and hands it to the rightful owners, the people. The coup leaders of Ghana, Nigeria and Chile did it under tremendous local and international pressure. Regardless of the morality, just or unjust missions, Victorious Armed groups/organizations in Mozambique, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Angola, Nicaragua, Cuba, Zimbabwe..etc, continue to hold a tight grip on the torch of power indefinitely. some are more brutal than the regime they forcefully removed. Most if not all of these newly established regimes are so brutal/barbaric/cruel/depriving to the very people, who nurtured/fed/protected them during the armed struggle, that they created a new "norm" of leaving your newly independent country in droves, looking for freedom/opportunity/better life/life with certainty elsewhere. Thanks

  8. Directed to press Virginia and Britain’s claim to the Ohio country to the French, George Washington led a force of soldiers from the Virginia Regiment and Native-American warriors to Jumonville Glen in Pennsylvania on May 28, 1754. While both sides claim the other side fired first, Washington’s forces killed many of the French soldiers camped beneath the rocks. This attack in the back woods of the Ohio Country is considered to be the trigger event for the Seven Years’ War – a war that would quickly escalate into a world war stretching to Europe, West Africa, India and the Philippines.

  9. Dear John,

    And George Washington, freed the slaves, gave back the Indian lands.... fairytale they thought you in elementary school. The war was a war between two monsters. More accurately by a new elite looking independence from their colonial masters. They set up a government only for the propertied elite. So spare us the government by the people nonsense. Washington was in the service on one class over others.

    Secondly, get your facts right. you say: 'Delivering his promise of "Government for the people by the people" '

    The "Government for the people by the people" was part of the Gettysburg Address by Abraham Lincoln almost 70 years after Washington died.


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