By Wondimu Mekonnen
Introduction: For the Record.
On 3 November 2020, Tigray Special Forces and allied local militia attacked the Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF) Northern Command headquarters in Mekelle, the Fifth Battalion barracks in Dansha, and other Northern Command bases. The USA Government didn’t condemn this heinous crime. The Ethiopian Government deployed force in its Northern Region of Tigray and arrested some of the leadership of TPLF, those who resisted arrest were killed in shootouts, but some escaped and went on the run. The USA the Government and attacked Ethiopia with a barrage of sanctions.
On 21 June 2021, the ENDF withdrew from Tigray to give peace a chance and let farmers till the land peacefully. The USA Government did not give much credit for the good gesture of the Ethiopian Government.
The surviving Tigrayan leadership came out of the bush. Rather than seizing on the chance to rebuild the 9-month war torn Tigray region, the TPLF chose to reorganise itself, drafted new recruits that included child soldiers, and invaded Amhara and Afar regions.
On 12 July the TPLF launched a series of massive offences, in the Amhara and Afar Regions, dubbed “Operation Tigray Mother,” using underage children. The UN, USA and its allies watched the development in silence. The USA was advertising the imminent fall of Addis Ababa, day in and day out, and urging American and European citizens to leave. Very few fell for their propaganda and left. The majority ignored them.
Starting on 01 December 2021, as the TPLF forces reached Debre Sina and Shewa Robit, the Ethiopian Defence Force launched a counterattack. The Prime Minister, whom the American Government and Allies exerted pressure to leave the country to make the way for the TPLF, to their horror, announced he was joining the fight. TPLF’s invading forces started fleeing. They were driven from Shewa Robit all the way to Alamata. That was when the USA and Western Governments became so nervous. They started exerting pressure from all sides. The Ethiopian National Defence Force and Amhara and Afar Special Forces and local militia were able to go all the way to Mekelle, for reasons unknown to many, the Government decided to stop chasing them at Waja and announced a unilateral ceasefire. The devastated TPLF leadership was relieved, and it too declared a ceasefire. Aide started flowing into Tigray. African Union stepped in for a peaceful settlement of the conflict. While the Government accepted unconditional negotiations. However, the TPLF was preparing for the 3rd human wave invasion., put in an unattainable condition. The USA and their allies did not pressure them to remove the conditions. Rather, their envoy was traveling to Mekelle and taking memorial selfies with the terrorists.
After looting 750,000 litres of fuel from the WFP depot, on 24 August 2022, the TPLF violated the truce and launched attacks on the Amhara territory, taking over the town of Waja and in a matter of hours the city of Kobo too. It also launched its Sudanese-based exiled army called “Tedros Adhanom Brigade” from the west. The Ethiopian Government’s response was swift and harsh. The Ethiopian Defence Force did not only halt the invading TPLF forces from all fronts (although they gained some territories in Raya) but ousted them from territories they occupied in Amhara and Afar regions for more than a year and repelled the force that was coming in from Sudan. UN and USA restarted their discriminatory campaigns. The USA’s warning message was laughable. Ignoring the fact that the TPLF restarted the war and gained territories, the USA condemned Ethiopia, Eritrea (for nothing), and the TPLF for resuming the war. They demanded Ethiopia and Eritrea to leave Tigray and the TPLF to leave Amhara! Hasn’t it occurred to them that every inch of Tigray territory belongs to Ethiopia, and the Ethiopian Government has the right to access Tigray anytime, anywhere? Pathetic! The TPLF was using child soldiers. No mention of that.
Now Back to the Child Soldiers
In Part I, it was revealed that on 14 July 2021, The New York Times published a report by Declan Walsh and Photographs by Finbarr O’Reilly, unwittinglyglamorising the “gallant” children of Tigray, fighting enthusiastically for the independence of Tigray. Jeff Pearce was the first to indicate to the world that contravened the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The silence of the authors of Convention, the United Nations (UN), The United States of America (USA), The United Kingdom (UK), and The European Union (EU) was deafening (Mekonnen, 2021). These international bodies who are hunting down the Ugandan rebel leader Joseph Kony, to this day didn’t want to raise their little fingers on the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).
The TPLF, which escaped any punitive measure went ahead with deploying child soldiers in tens of thousands that are now perishing on the battlefield. What a double standard! Mothers of Tigray, cry for your children!
One Fighter from Every Household On the 2nd human wave of invasion, the TPLF deployed children above 12 years old. They were lined up before the adult fighters so that the Ethiopian army would either kill the children or retreat rather than shoot at them. In most cases the later was the case. It did work for them for some time. Drug-crazed children kept on charging at the well-trained national army fighters with Kalashnikov. The army tried to avoid unnecessary death by withdrawing and allowing the TPLF capture territories. This strategy enabled the TPLF to invade the Amhara land to Debre Sinna, 190.7 km or 118.5 miles from Addis. No one in the so sold called “international community” condemned this act of barbarism. Therefore, the determined, and counter-offensive of the national army drove the invading rebels from Debre Sina to Alamata, a town in Northern Wollo, capturing alive as many children as possible. That doesn’t mean there were no dead children. Besides, any retreating child is shot on the spot as would be witnessed later in this paper. The following video shows the account of children captured in the Afar region.
The children were saying, the world should have come and seen them. They were the lucky ones spared by the National Defence Force. Many of their friends were killed in the battle. There are no children of the rich or the TPLF leaders among them. They were all children from poor families, drafted on one person from one household rule, and forced to fight and die. The UN, the EU, USA, and UK are turning their heads away. Who would cry for them?
Another wounded child at the Amhara front was picked up by army talks. She was so lucky. From her hospital bed, she was heard sending messages to her mum. She said: “Mum! Don’t worry! I am not dead! I am alive. We shall meet again”. Most of the children are all talking about being forced by the rebel fighters, under the diction of one person from a household! Some were even rounded up while playing football on the field. Journalists Araya Tesfamariam and Abebech Kahasay, both Tigrayans, went to visit the camp where the captive child soldiers were kept. They were horrified by what they had to witness from the children and could not keep their tears back. Now, where is the UN, where is the EU, where is the USA and the UK to protect the right of the child? They scream above their voice to stop the war, without condemning the use of child soldiers. Would they be quiet had this been done by the Government of Ethiopia?
There is one shameful act we saw from the so-called international community. Whenever the rebels push, you don’t hear a sound from them. When the Government starts pushing the invaders back, they start exerting pressure on the Government of Ethiopia to stop. There is ample evidence that the United States was helping the rebels with information about the national army’s movements. It has been confirmed by the rebel leaders themselves. The TPLF is abusing the children because it has approval from these superpowers.
The Third Human Wave!
The Government of Ethiopia is concerned about TPLF’s use of child soldiers and civilian suffering both in Tigray and the northern part of Ethiopia. Therefore, it declared unilateral ceasefires twice to give peace a eschance. The Government allowed more aid to freely flow into Tigray. On 04 July 2022, UNICEF (UNICEF, 2022) reported humanitarian aid was flowing into previously inaccessible areas in northern Ethiopia’s embattled Tigray region. However, people are saying they are not getting it. Who is taking it away? Lifesaving aid enough for hundreds of thousands of people in need thanks to the government’s humanitarian truce but it looks like it is not reaching the starving. The TPLF used the time of the truce, to arm itself with help of some sympathetic Western and Egyptian Governments and stepped conscription of more soldiers unabated for the third human wave of attack and took the food from the people to feed its fighters. That is what has been witnessed from the captured military fortress.
The UN, EU, the USA, and the UK were pressuring the Ethiopian Government to start negotiating with the rebels under the umbrella of African Union (AU). The Government let both Obasanjo and delegates from the US and the other Western countries travel to Mekelle to convince the rebels to come to the negotiating table.
While the Government of Ethiopia agreed to sit for negotiations without preconditions, the TPLF put unacceptable preconditions and snapped it. Debretsion Gebremichael was heard on television that he would drag the Government by the nose and bring it to its knees to accept TPLF’s preconditions. If not, they would crush them. The rebels launched the third-round human wave of attack and captured the city of Kobo in Northern Wello region in just less day. Their advance to Woldia was met by fierce resistance from the Ethiopian Defence Force.Kulkarni (Kulkarni, 2022) reported that the US-backed TPLF resumes war in northern Ethiopia. Kulkarni continued to describe that Dismissing the AU-led peace negotiations, the TPLF called for Western intervention in Ethiopia before resuming the war on August 24. This ended the five-month-long truce with Ethiopia’s federal government, weeks after envoys from the US and EU visited its base.
The following picture shows surviving 5 kids, guiding 3 blind men, 2 blind women, an old nun, and others who surrendered to the Ethiopian Forces when they were abandoned by the fighters of Tigrayan rebels. They were all carrying explosives, instructed to throw at the Forces. Only one woman carried out her orders, while the blind men and women and their guiding kids simply raised their hands to surrender. They were all fed and cared for. They were relieved their lives were spared. When asked why they decided to accept the deadly mission, they all said they were denied food, unless they volunteered to sacrifice themselves for the independence of Tigray. As they were unable to carry guns, they were given explosives. The children were forced to guide those disabled individuals carrying explosives, exposing them to danger. Where are the human rights champions now!
Is the USA Impartial?
The answer to the above question is emphatically NO! They were helping the TPLF with strategic information and diplomacy on the 2nd human wave. They kept on pressurising the leadership of the Ethiopian Government to flee. They turned bling eyes then and now on the use of children and disabled people as cannon fodders.
Ethiopians are fed up with the deceit of the TPLF. The Government’s defence strategy is now robust. They are still battling to stop the rebels from advancing forward. A military expert estimates the TPLF launched its third-round human wave with 250,000. The Ethiopian Defence Force, Amhara militia and the “Fanos” are resisting it with just with 44,000 forces. Unable to move forward and losing some of the territories they held before, the aggressors are now acting the victims as usual and calling the UN and Western countries to intervene by force. The USA is the first to respond. Seeing that the Ethiopian Force cannot be defeated by the rug-tag rebels, they are renewing their sanctions. Will they jump into the war, like they did in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Libya … to save their terrorist friends? Time will tell. For now, they have sent, Mike Hammer, their Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa who is still in Addis Ababa. He is probably waiting travel to Mekelle for another selfie.
In the meantime, according to reports reaching the media, the rebels have lost more than ten thousand fighters half of them were child soldiers.
More than 50,000 fighters have been taken prisoner . The nervousness of the USA and its allies is understandable.
The Order to Shoot retreating kids.
A piece shocking information is emerged from the war front. Tigrayan commanders are ordering the execution of their own retreating fighters. The news came first from the captured combatants and kids. Their story has been corroborated now by an intercepted radio message. Orders were given out by a certain very highest-ranking officer (1) to other subordinate high-ranking officers to fire at every level. The order is to summary execute Tigrayan fighters retreating and abandoning their post.
Below is a close translation of the exchanges for the benefit of English readers.
No 1 – “Whose force is breaking up? Shoot them down. execute them!”
No 2: “OK, OK. It is a crowd from all over. Mine, yours, and others”.
No 1: “Let it be. Any Tigrayan that doesn’t want to fall for Tigray must be shot down on the forehead. Shoot them all by the bullet.”
No. 2: “Accepted. 65, are you listening?”
No 1: 65 are you listening to me? 65 are you listening to me? 65 are you listening to me? 65! 65! Are you listening to me?
65: “Yes, yes Sir!”
No 1: If there is any Tigrayan unwilling to fall for Tigray, Shoot him on the forehead.
65: “Merhaba!” (an Arabic word to say alright)
65: “There should be no hesitation. They fear death. That is why they are abandoning their position. Show him there is death here too. What does that mean? Why are they running away?
65: “68, are you there?”
N0 1: “Gun them down! Shoot them all”
68: “Alright, alright!”
No 1: “Shoot them all by bullet, shoot them by the bullet”.
N0 1: 65?
65: “Yes, yes!”
No 1: I am telling you, just to shoot them all. The defence lines are all falling apart.
65: “Alright! Alright!”
No 1: “Things have fallen apart! Things have fallen apart! All is lost” (with a withdrawn voice to himself).
The highest-ranking officer (No 1) is totally heartless. He is ordering to shoot children, young men, and women, mostly less than 20. They are not only dying by charging at the battle-hardened well trained National Defence Force, but by their own leaders. Is it not a war crime?
Who is coming to save these children? The UN? The EU? The USA, The UK? They don’t care. The children are perishing to save the neck of the Western-backed terrorist TPLF.
The people of Tigray are taken hostage by the terrorist TPLF. Tigrayans are all Ethiopians, except those separatists who want to break Tigray from its 3000 years old constituent Ethiopians. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the Ethiopian Government to free its citizens from the clutches of these heartless terrorists who wouldn’t hesitate to kill their own people.
Today, the TPLF has just issued a notice that it is now ready to negotiate to stop the war without any conditions! Excuse me? Why now?
Negotiated settlement of the conflict with terrorists only prolongs the suffering of the people. Imagine what would have happened to Europe had the Nazis and Fascists were not defeated. An outright defeat would force the vanquished to surrender. After that, the negotiations will only be on the terms of surrender. This is the historical truth. That was what had happened to the Dergue in Ethiopia, to the Nazis in Germany, and to the fascists in Italy. The lasting settlement of conflicts between a legitimate government and rebels can be achieved through an outright defeat of the culprit. It is not only defeating the terrorists but freeing the people from such tyrants. Once disarmed, the people will have a breathing space to rebuild their lives and economy. Again, Germany and Japan are two good examples. Prosperous Germany and Japan would never have been imagined without the victory of WWWII by the allies.
Therefore, there should be no negotiations with child-killing terrorists, TPLF, but going all the way to defeat them and disarm them and let the people of Tigray breathe the fresh air of freedom. Let the people of Amhara and Afar sleep in peace without the fear of being slaughtered by TPLF anymore. Saving the children of Tigray from the nightmare of war is only possible after the removal of the TPLF.
Let us join the mothers of Tigray to cry for justice for their children!
Kulkarni, P., 2022. Peoples Dispatch. [Online]
Available at: https://peoplesdispatch.org/2022/08/30/us-backed-tplf-resumes-war-in-northern-ethiopia/
[Accessed 10 Septermby 2022].
Mekonnen, W., 2021. https://wondimumekonnen.blogspot.com/2021/07/. [Online]
Available at: https://wondimumekonnen.blogspot.com/2021/07/
[Accessed 09 September 2022].
UNICEF, 2022. Aid Flows Into Tigray Region as Ethiopia’s Humanitarian Truce Holds, Washington: Voice of America.
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