Saturday, April 08, 2006

ION update: 04/08/06

EPPF recruits via the Internet
Indian Ocean Newsletter N° 1176 08/04/2006

A group of Ethiopian opponents supported by Eritrea and in favour of armed struggle has embarked on an advertising campaign using the Internet.

A group of Ethiopian opponents, supported by Eritrea and arguing for armed struggle against the government of Addis Ababa, has embarked on a vast campaign to recruit new members and collect donations through meetings in the USA and an Internet web site. The Ethiopia People’s Patriotic Front (EPPF) set up its own web site in February, ( which sells a DVD explaining the front’s political position and showing its combatants undergoing training. The pictures on this site show some twenty armed young men on parade in uniforms and training for armed struggle. It states that coordinated attacks were made on 2 April against military camps of the Ethiopian government forces at Qwarma and Metlekel in the Gojjam region, resulting in 30 killed, some tens of wounded and 6 prisoners among the government forces. No independent source has confirmed this attack.

The EPPF is supported by Eritrea and has had several internal conflicts during the last two or three years (ION 1041). A certain Mussie Tegene has grown in importance in the movement and he is the person who registered the EPPF web site, giving an address in Asmara and an e-mail in Switzerland ( Mussie Tegene has lived in Israel and for a long time in Geneva, before going to Addis Ababa to try to forge an alliance with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF, hard core of the Ethiopian government), stating that his ethnic group, the Agew from the north of Ethiopia, were Jewish like the Falasha and victims of Amhara colonialism. This attempt was a failure and he returned to Geneva where he traded with Eritrea before settling in Asmara. He tried to take control of the EPPF with support from the Eritrean authorities, following the purge of Tadesse Mululeh and the liquidation of the student Tesfaye Getachew, at the time a leader of this group. The EPPF is now led by a farmer from the Welkait region, a certain Meskerem who has been in Germany for the last few months to undergo “medical treatment”, leaving the path open for Mussie Tegene.

The ANDM crisis continues
Indian Ocean Newsletter N° 1176 08/04/2006

The Amhara National Democratic Movement is still subject to internal division, as became apparent during a recent meeting of its officials.

A recent meeting of officials of the Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM) has once more (ION 1148) illustrated the malaise going through this political group, member of the Ethiopian governing coalition. This meeting was chaired by several ANDM leaders, including Tefera Walwa (who is also minister of capacity building), Bereket Simeon (public relations advisor to Prime Minister Meles Zenawi) and Hilawe Yosef. These leaders called for a purge of ANDM officials qualified as “chauvinistic” or “unreliable”. But this idea was strongly opposed by a substantial proportion of those present at this assembly. Some of them even expressed their disgust at the behaviour of their leaders and threatened to resign, stating that the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and the Oromo People’s Democratic Organisation (OPDO), two other factions in the government coalition, are active against the Amhara and yet the ANDM does nothing to defend them.

From the standpoint of the ANDM leaders, such a purge would put an end to the divisions that are undermining their movement. It would oust the elements they consider sympathetic to the opposition forces Coalition for Unity and Democracy Party (CUDP) and Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Party (EPRP) that have infiltrated their ranks. But the malaise in the ANDM runs deeper than that. It comes from the widespread feeling that the ANDM has gained no advantage from the fact that it supported Meles Zenawi a few years ago to oust the TPLF dissidents who had gathered around Seye Abraha. Better still, according to them the Amhara Regional State is still a neglected region, unlike the Tigray Regional State. The same protestors complain that the highest posts in the army and the advantages attached to them are frequently handed to TPLF loyalists.