Ethiopian Defense Chief of Staff, Field Marshal Berhanu Jula, had an interview with Araya Tesfamariam’s “Ewnet ena Nigat” show on ESAT.
The interview covered a range of topic including Berhanu Jula’s life and career, challenges he faced as a military officer under the TPLF domination, the effort to avoid war with the TPLF forces and remarks on Siye Abraha’s self image of the TPLF as a fighting force and why what the Ethiopian government calls Shane turned out to be a force difficult to deal with.
Field Marshal Berhanu also reflected on the notion of “teregninet.”
Regarding the TPLF, he said there has been an effort to convince the leaders not to start war. “We were not ready for war,” he said. He sees two forces within the TPLF : a pro-war group and a group that was against the war. According to Berhanu Jula, Debretsion Gebremichael was among the TPLF leaders who were against the war. As a concluding remark, he said the war has caused extensive destruction and the group that wanted to make the war drew a lesson from it.
On the thorny issue of “teregninet” – he seems to espouse a view that it is something to be celebrated. What appears to be misconception based on his remark is that he seems to take the group that says teregnint ( the word could translates to “tenure” or “term”) as being a specific ethnic group. “We were the ones, then the Tigray came, and now the Oromo…”
The problem with the way FM Berhanu Jula framed the description “teregninet” – the connotation of a plea for justice from arbitrary killings and a right to live and work in any part of Ethiopia as a citizen is glossed over. The issues of state designed ethnic demographic changes in urban centers and the relentless massacre of a specific group is not highlighted.
On the question of why it became difficult to win war against what the government calls OLF-Shane, he said the Oromia region fought with its capacity ( the region has trained at least 200,000 armed forces) and thousands have paid in life he said. But the issue is not something that can be resolved with the capacity of the regional government and our focus was in the North, he said. He also said that the Shane structure does not have political command and a single structure , and it does pursue a hit and hide strategy , and does not fight.
Watch his interview below (Amharic)
Video : embedded from ESAT YouTube channel
Cover photo : screenshot from the video
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