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In memories of our illustrious Heroes; B. General Mussa Rabb’a and Col. Tewldebrhan (Wedi- Lete)

Colonel Tewolde Gebremariam and Brigadier General Mussa Rabb’a Col. Tewldebrhan, R.I.P

In memories of our illustrious Heroes; B. General Mussa Rabb’a and Col. Tewldebrhan (Wedi- Lete)

By Hagos Gashazghi

This is an awfully hard time for all Eritreans as a handful patriots have departed through, carrying out their historic journey of serving the Eritrea people. Duplicate by millions but also count up as millions, five patriots had been passed away in the very end and the starting of both November and September respectively. To mention their names; they are veteran hero B.General Mussa Rabb’a, Veteran Tsgereda Woldegergish, Veteran fighter Col. Teweldebrhan (Wedi Lette), Embetito, and Wedi Halima.

To mention their social roles, Veteran fighter Mussa Rabba was a Brigadier General and the commander in chief of Eastern command while Veteran fighter Ms. Tsegerda W/gish was an administrative chief at the Northern Red Sea Zone. As well, veteran fighter Wedi Lete was a Colonel at the ministry of defense and served as a commander in chief of 49 mechanized unit, Embetito from Commission of Culture and Sport while, while Wedi Halima, a Colonel and commander in chief of the Northern Red Sea police station.

It is as tough as possible to discuss about the historic roles of each and every veteran hero, as my incapability of hauling such a big responsibility concerned to be, while rewarding a hurtful respect to their heroic contributions to the remaining three in committing their life to serve the Eritrean people. Meanwhile, I will discuss about only two of them, comrade Mussa Rabb’a and Wedi Lete whom I have had a well appreciated acquaintance with.

First, let’s start by Colnel Teweldebrhan or Wedi Lete. Veteran fighter Wedi Lette was one the most known compatriots whom he had played a very crucial role in the establishment and development of the EPLF’s mechanized unit, by which such a unit played a very significant contribution in thrashing the Derg Regime. Examining the dismantlement of the Nadow Command in 1988, and Fenkil Operation in 1990, anyone could judge to how magnitude did the EPLF advance in such strategic qualification, comparing with any other resistance movement throughout history till the present, while a very sophisticated weapons at that times capitulated from enemies, manufactured by great Eritrean minds and entrusting the principle EPLF’s mantra of ‘for an enemy through its guns and bullets’.

In a very bold historic blemish, it is my sincere pleasure to discuss Wedi Lete’s one and great heroic action at a moment of trans-boundary offensive of rousing to dismantle the Derg regime at its base, collaborating with other revolutionary movements in Ethiopian land and in particularly the TPLF organization.

This was in May 1991 of the EPLF realizing its highest organizational strength in political and military standpoint. After the defeat the ‘Nadow Command’ which was one of the very strong command inspecting its Soviet donated equipments and well trained solders, the EPLF organization demonstrate as one of Africa’s strongest revolutionary resistance movement whom no force could challenge its military might.

This was proved at ‘Fenkil Operation’ in February 1990, where a strategic decision pushed by a very brilliant strategic calculation liberate Eritrean coastlines, crashing hundreds of thousands of the Derg soldiers, at which their weapons were burned and destroyed, capitulating almost 80 tanks and other strategic weapons, thanks to the great contribution of the front’s mechanized unit.

After such a historic success, the EPLF liberated Eritrea step by step, while carrying a revolutionary responsibility as if the one and only military actor to bring a lasting solution vis-à-vis peace and security in this region and in particular inside Ethiopian territory.

In a pragmatic sagacity, celebrated itself as a transnational revolutionary movement, the EPLF organization sent a mechanized Brigade full of well trained foot soldiers in 1991. This Brigade infiltrates to the Ethiopian border with well proven veteran fighters and in particular with very brilliant tank operators, technicians, equipped with dozens of EPLF Tanks. This, of course, was not only strategize to strike the Derg forces at its base but so did to share the front’s technical and strategic military knowledge to the TPLF forces in regard to the utility and applicability of mechanized armaments.

In advance, this completed very productively; institute a foundation for the establishment of TPLF’s mechanized military unit throughout the history of the Tigrean organization for the first time. Further, eloquently addressing the contribution of the EPLF mechanized unit and its foot soldiers devotion, and in collaborating with TPLF and other Ethiopian patriotic movements fighters commitment’ , at last Derg ousted and forced to flee to Zimbabwe while its soldiers were fighting a very bloody fight for the sake of its political stand in the ground.

Completing such a historic mission, the EPLF mechanized unit determined to return to Eritrea to commemorate the liberation day, entitled and make possible for the Ethiopian masses to celebrate such a grand historic occasion of emancipating from the evils of the Derg juntas.

Unfortunately for the EPLF fighters, in their way to home, a tribulation had craft by the TPLF officers or in particular by Gebru Assrat and his compliments regarding some matters. The event could be narrated this way.

The EPLF fighters creep into to Ethiopian territory through two lines. Majority of the mechanized unit cross the threshold through the rood to Mekele, while the remaining fighters enter through the rood trespassed through Asseb and then to Dridawa. On their moment of homecoming, one EPLF fighter grumbles that the TPLF fighters made some troubles regarding his small military vehicle and attempted to seize from him or either way to made surveillance upon his vehicle. After the TPLF forces endeavoring to took his car, he then went some way to his commanders which were in their way to Mekele and reported the issue.

The first fighter who hears such an inopportune complaint was Wedi Lete. Wedi Lete then propels a message to Gebru Assrat, a political officer of the TPLF organization at Mekele area and inquires that what they had done to the EPLF fighter. Gebru Assrat then replied that not only the one fighter but so did the whole mechanized unit would be checked and got under surveillance by the TPLF fighters, while leaving out from Ethiopian territory.

This moment was an unfortunate time for Ethiopia where there was no a central government to fill the power vacuum left by the Derg juntas and every group pretends to act as if the one which could fill the vacuum. Despite the fact that there were dozens of resistance movements placed themselves as an alternative power in Ethiopia, the EPLF organization abetted the Tigrean Libration Font and support until the final battle within Addis Abeba which was done at the Governmental Palace. In spite of such a historic reality, there were some unfortunate actions put into effect by the TPLF fighters for example. One and greatest of all was, on the day to march through the rood to Addis Ababa and conveying through the Addis Streets, the TPLF fighters ordered to situate their Tanks in frontage, while arranging the EPLF’s Tanks to be rearranged at the back.

Observing this a first day treachery and bearing the pain of watching and remembering EPLF fighters being sacrificed and our tanks being burned on the fight to Addis in mind, Veteran fighter Wedi Lete then asked one decisive question to Gebru Assrat; “have you ever check or register a single section of our military module while we were crossing the boundary to assist you?’

“No we didn’t” replayed Gebru Assrat.

“And by now no one have had an authority and couldn’t be able to made a surveillance or check upon our military unit” said Wedi Lete. Determined to his courage, he boldly clarified his stand to Gebru Assrat and elucidated that;” if you want to check or to make a single surveillance upon our Birgade, then wait tomorrow at Mekele and we will give you an idea about who we are” concluded Wedi Lete.

The day after, Gebru Assrat and his team were not there at the door out from Mekele to Eritrean or at the check point thanks to two points, first and the greatest was the determinable courage of the EPLF fighters and in particular their commanders bravery and further a very appreciated mediatory roles of some great veterans from the TPLF side particularly father Sebhat Negga.

Secondly, an honorable patriot whom we as Eritreans fill heartrending to watch him passed away this month and whom I am going to discuss only a plenty part from his furthermost historic contribution to the Eritrean people will be comrade Mussa Rabb’a.

B.General Mussa Rabba is one of from the very few fathers, whom Eritrean history placed at its corner as an honorable patriot because he get hold of the opportunity to be a fighting member of ELM, ELF and EPLF consecutively.

Born in 1947, B. General Muss’a was a one whom devotes his live destiny for the sake of public good. He was in a threshold of entrusting as a public servant for almost half a century or 53 years. Born to be from a peasantry background, comrade Mussa organized in cells of Eritrean Liberation Movement in 1964 only at the age of 17. Not appreciating the ELM’s strategic line of following peaceful resistance to dismantle the Ethiopian invasion of Eritrea, comrade Mussa jointly with other nationals left ELM and joined Eritrean Liberation Front in 1966 aiming at fulfilling their profound dreams of librating Eritrea through violent means.

Playing a very influential roles at ELF organization, at last Mussa opposed the undemocratic and under-nationalistic lines of the ELF leadership, turned to form EPLF organization whom a front rewarded the completion of the historic march of liberating the Eritrean people. From 1971, veteran Mussa plays a very crucial role both as veteran fighter and as a public administrator in the librated areas. An underlined event from his historic contribution as a military leader, for instance, was, he played a very constructive role at the formative age of the EPLF organization.

As if any other revolutionary movement, in its initial stage, the EPLF organization was internally and immensely confronted and challenged by contradictory ideas, because of a quantity of less compromised reactionary forces. There was a very tense ideological confrontation in both 1973 and 1975 which was nicknamed as Menka’a and Yemein movements respectively. In their initial stage, both movements seemed as a step for rectification, but later diverted into reactionary sides which threatened to the continuity and survival of the revolution.

In such an exigent circumstances, what history witnesses was the tolerant, intelligent and determinable etiquette of the great Eritrean fighters. They successfully handled the situation, rectify their mistakes and ensure the continuity of the armed struggle while strengthening their national unity in the face of the Ethiopian enemy. Particularly at both organizational and at leadership level, this moment shows a very strong potential muddling through challenges of handling difficulties, and ensuring the art of compromising differences.

In a more specific sense, the 1975 movement was particularly occurred at the 500 military Battalion which was led by comrade Mussa Rabb’a. Of reassuring his commitment, optimism and heroism, he was the one whom played a vital role personally and letting the situation to resolve peacefully. He was the one whom coordinate and led one of the longest meetings in history (hold for almost 19 hours without stop, and the one who stands to lead such a meeting without rest was veteran fighter Wolderfiel Sebhatu) until the root causes of such an ideological confrontation within the Battalion got addressed.

Furthermore, any revolution couldn’t succeed without the support from the masses. In an Eritrean case, the fighters were a fish while the mass was like a sea. The EPLF organization from its inception descends in such a mantra of the mass must got conscious organized and got militarized. In attaining this, comrade Sefhat Efrem appointed to lead the political office for handling public issues while comrade Mussa Rabb’a appointed to lead the office for the administrative tasks for the masses of the Sahel region during EPLF’s first organizational congress in 1977.

Placed his office at place called Hishkip, Veteran fighter Mussa Rabb’a subsequently played a very crucial roles in organizing the people whom inhabited the Sahel areas. His office played a momentous role in teaching, organizing and at last rearranging the masses to participate at fronts both materialistically and physically.

Practically speaking, comrade Mussa organize an office for the supporting the EPLF fighters, by whom the people at the Sahel region prepared food to eat and water to drink for the fighters, and stay in line with their sons and daughters even at a worst challenge like the Red Star offensive.

Many also got victimized, considering as collaborators with Shabia, and got killed, tortured, wounded and so did their livestock destroyed immensely. Our great hero and martyr, whom represents the Eritrean mothers' bravery and heroism mother Zeineb Yassien was the one who cultivated and organized under such a great office. Mother Zeineb played an exemplary role during the resistance movement, in teaching the principles of the revolution, in defending cultural backwards and in showing a practical model of being a revolutionary mother.

In my conclusion, Benjamin Harrison says; “Let those who would die for the flag give a better proof of their patriotism and a higher glory to their country by promoting fraternity and justice.” Certainly, all Eritrean martyrs in general and those whom I already discussed about are passed ways for a greatest cause watching Eritrea librated, being administrated by its sons and daughters and marching on the path to all-around secio-economic progress. Therefore, in opinion, I do agree that for those who reward as such kind of respect, we as nationals must honor ourselves by dedicating once and for all to attain their dreams of making Eritrea and its people a great country.

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In memories of our illustrious Heroes; B. General Mussa Rabb’a and Col. Tewldebrhan (Wedi- Lete) Reviewed by Admin on 12:11 AM Rating: 5

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