Ethiopia’s Defense Force announced on Tuesday that FM Berhanu Jula, the Defense Chief of Staff, has arrived in Tanzania for a working visit. He was welcomed by his Tanzanian counterpart, General Jacob Makunda, upon arrival.
The purpose of the visit, as stated in the Defense Force’s social media update, is to discuss the relationship and cooperation between the defense forces of the two sisterly countries, aiming to bolster their “strategic partnership.”
During the visit, the Defense Chief acknowledged Tanzania’s contributions to international and regional affairs, along with their cooperation concerning the utilization of the Nile River. Furthermore, he expressed gratitude to Tanzania for its efforts in aiding Ethiopia to address what he referred to as an “internal security problem.”
The Defense Force also highlighted discussions on the relationship between the two countries in the context of ‘Pan-Africanism,’ revealing that an agreement had been reached to continue strengthening the relationship – which sounded more like something that falls within the diplomatic mission work.
FM Berhanu Jula, the Ethiopian Defense Force Chief of Staff, has increasingly been associated with supporting Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government and is perceived by many in the opposition quarters in Ethiopia, particularly those active on social media, as aligned with the ‘Oromummaa’ ideology of the expansionist ethnic Oromo nationalists.
In November of this year, Abiy Ahmed’s government engaged in a second round of negotiations with the radical ethnic Oromo Nationalist group, self-identified as the ‘Oromo Liberation Army,’ in Tanzania. Initially represented by General Getachew Gudina, the Ethiopian government later dispatched a Security Adviser to the Prime Minister, Redwan Hussien, in response to pressure from opposition parties who advocated for the exclusion of the military from political negotiations. These talks, reportedly influenced by the United States, included the transportation of Jal Mero, the militant leader, from the jungles of Wollega where his forces predominantly operate. However, no agreement was reached during the negotiations.
The Ethiopian Defense Force has been undertaking a military operation – rather a full-fledged war – in the Amhara region for over six months under the pretext of ‘disarming Fano forces.’ The defense force has been implicated in widespread and severe human rights violations in the region, including extrajudicial executions and rape. Reputable human rights organizations, including those affiliated with the United Nations, have confirmed that hundreds of civilians have been killed in the region since July of this year.”
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