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‘Expecting ‘Catastrophe Protest’ in Asmara in 2018’: ENN on New Year (Part 2)

St Mary Orthodox Church (foreground), the Grand Mosque & the Roman Cathedral (background) -Photo Credit: explore-eritrea


‘Expecting ‘Catastrophe Protest’ in Asmara in 2018’: ENN on New Year (Part 2)

By Yosief Abraham Z

In contrary to this, however, groups coded No-34 and No-169 continued armoring their notorious missions of terrorizing a nation with acts of assassinating targeted individuals, put vehicles on ablaze, abduction and torturous tasks… Therefore, because Eritrea hasn’t unfolded all files is not meant it hasn’t reasonable grounds to block all aisles that takes from faith to religion and then again to extremism or fundamentalism.

Religious and Political Extremisms and acts of Terrorism:

Pre and post-independence of Eritrea, ‘religion’ shrouded ‘politics’ have been, implicitly and explicitly, attempted against whims of the society. When the Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF) iconized Algeria’s 1960s model thus to divide Eritrea in zonal and tribal lineages, the alarming voice was faced forcefully and reached at its acme point in 1976. The replicated policies from Baath Party of Syria were attempted to political ideologies in the starting of the revolutionary struggle. However, this was confronted by those who were believing prudently that politics shouldn’t be architected by foundations from religious missions.

In our post-independence journey, the first step the transitional government of the EPLF revolutionary committee took profoundly was signing an understanding memory with Khartoum’s government on 23 August of 1993. As possible harbor for notorious individuals and remnants of the ‘religious, language and tribalism’ political games players there, the transitional government endorsed the agreement credibly thus to curb any possibility for political extremists and terrorists. But this didn’t end long for Khartoum chose plunging the Horn Africa into Islamic extremism centered politics. On 16 September of 1993, therefore, Eritrea incarcerated 16 individual terrorists who penetrated from Sudan to Eritrea.

Highly concerned by the trending of developments in the Horn region, Eritrea’s president sent an official letter to United Nations Security Council on January 13 and 30 of 1994. Unfortunately, the act of espionage reached to acme point when Khartoum succeeded in accomplishing the death of one member of the Eritrean consular in February 1994, a provocation for diplomatic rows between Asmara and Khartoum.

While this was in place, Eritrea’s president sent an urgent letter to Bill Clinton on 26 September of 1995 and expressed his deep concern on how matters of extremism and terrorism trends have to be handled and addressed. In contrary to this, however, groups coded No-34 and No-169 continued armoring their notorious missions of terrorizing a nation with acts of assassinating targeted individuals, put vehicles on ablaze, abduction and torturous tasks.

Some individuals of these groups were trained by Carlos the Jackal and were in move to Eritrea from ‘Waddi Saydena’ camp near Omdurman in North Sudan in February 1995. While Eritrea was commemorating the demise of the Nadew Command in March of 1995, fundamentalists against Eritrea started taking their military course in ‘Wedi Sherifey’ campus on March 8 of 1995. Eritrea then called Khartoum to halt such perpetuations and emphasized Sudan to work tremendously thus to eliminate latent threats of catastrophe terrorism in Horn Africa.

As Khartoum and other quarters abandoned their responsibility, Eritrea closed its border with Sudan until January 20 of 2000. Moreover, Eritrea’s president elaborated to the then Foreign Minister of Sudan, Dr. Mostafa Osman, on Eritrea’s stance on extremists and fundamentalists, steps to avoid regional threat on 23 March of 2000 in Asmara. And an agreement was reached to deliberate on how to resume relationship on November 9 of 2000.

And even after the November 9 of 2000 deliberations, Khartoum’s role in fabricating challenges of security didn’t leveled down; against the appreciated possible steps for rapprochement, Sudan turned the path ‘U’ and invited Eritrea for deep political morasses of misunderstandings. Terrorists and extremists carried-out staggering acts of intimidation over Eritrea’s developmental sects. Thus, Eritrea expressed its anger at the notorious acts of assassination accomplished over Mr. Timothy Nutt, a British national working in Bisha on 12 April of 2003. Eritrea’s Foreign Affairs then vehemently condemned such acts and articulated it as ‘acts of cowards.’

Not felt easy with relentless acts of sneaking to Eritrea and intensified pressure of fundamentalists in the life of Eritrea’s civil society, Eritrea persuaded the then President of Niger and the 2003 Chairman-man of CEN-SAD, Mr. Mamadou Tandja, to visit Asmara on September 17 and 18 of 2003. Informed of the ongoing situations and on how CEN-SAD expects to play vital role in reshaping a new platform for member countries, Mr. Mamadou led to Khartoum, Sudan.

With this in place, learned from the 34th meeting of the former African Organization Union in Ouagadougou in 7th and 8th November of 1998, Eritrea, side to side the efforts of fighting back all ideologies and acts by fundamentalists, warned itself not to let any political loophole for extremists and other quarters to bargain on Eritrea’s status and its independence. When Eritrea affirmed its readiness to deliberate with Khartoum on 9 November, just two days after Ouagadougou summit, Djibouti retaliated against Eritrea by cutting-off its ties with Asmara. Political extremism!

In addition to Ethiopia, Djibouti also closed its border and stopped any connection between both countries. Before the incidents in the new millennium, Eritrea was troubled by trilateral battles: Ethiopia, Sudan and Djibouti. By denying Eritrea’s readiness for positive deliberation, for instance, Khartoum derailed from constructive engagements and bombarded Telata-Asher, Arbaete Asher and Alighider with heavy ammunitions and rockets, including 122 mm and BM 21 respectively at 11:30 am on 5 December of 1998. Political extremism against Eritrea didn’t stopped here; an impromptu military agreement signed between Omer Gulleh of Djibouti and Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi, on the next day (on December 6 of 1998).

While this was on scene, based on proclamation 73/1995, Eritrea announced mandatory registration of any religious institutions in Eritrea on 23 January of 1999. MuluE Wengiel, BieteKrstian Emnete-Kirstos, Tehadiso, Bahai, Misgana Kirstos, Riema, Charisma, the Seventh Adventist Day, Church of Christ, Jehovah Witnesses, God’ Army Church, Evangelists, Kale Heywet (Word of Life); Mekane Yesus (Place of Jesus) , Meserete Kristos (meaning "Christ foundation"), Misgana Church, Hiwot Berhan Church and other groups which are, practically, not more than friends and relatives gatherings identified by the government.

The battle here was then do these all ‘religious sects’ accept nation and nationals as inseparable entities or else stand against nation by claiming that the next home is in Heaven or Janna, not on this ethereal home (the state). When the third war of aggression from Ethiopia defeated on May 27 of 2000, Asmara resorted into studying those ant-national status and defiant of any common interests. And in reality, some religious groups were in deep nemesis to the society while others were disturbed by unclear guidelines and central administration, uncontrollable faith and dogma convulsions.

Therefore, because Eritrea hasn’t unfolded all files is not meant it hasn’t reasonable grounds to block all aisles that takes from faith to religion and then again to extremism or fundamentalism. Therefore, to those who believe that Asmara’s 31 October 2017 incident is something, in comparison with what Eritrea has been passing, it is not of religious extremism, nor political incident. It is just a confusion that happened because of misinform in implementing proclamations.

_____________________________
Yosief Abraham Z is a freelance journalist and Excecutive Director of HorMid Media and Art Center. You can contact him at josiabraham29@gmail.com



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