Land-grab has made Ethiopia Africa's most neo-colonized nation

By Barnabas,

According to the Guardian (UK), Ethiopia has offered three million hectares (7.4 million acres) of virgin land to foreign corporations at knocked down prices. The Ethiopian government says 36 countries including India, China, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have leased farm land there.

One of the biggest buyers are the Chinese. The Ethiopians have sold their land to China for 100 years. They could do whatever they want with that land. Now, they are cutting the rain forest and turning it into farms. Moreover, as you know, in China, there is one-child policy, that is, they could not have more than 1 child in a family. However, in Ethiopia, they do not have that limitation. Once they populate Ethiopia, do you think they will leave Ethiopia after 100 years?

Be that as it may, after the Ethiopians have sold their lands to these foreign investors, with that money, they are feeling good –at least for now. For now, they are able to build few highways here and there, and few more high-rises here and there. However, this will undoubtedly be very short lived.

Take for instance, our neighbors in Eritrea. They could also have done the same. The government could have sold the potash and gold mines to foreign investors now and could have given the Eritreans temporary solution. The difference is Ethiopia is interested in a temporary solution within a short time now --at the cost of a potential long-term conflicts and instabilities; while Eritrea is looking into a permanent solution and long-term stability --at the cost of self-sacrifice now.

Palestinians were also happy when they sold their lands to the Jews. With that money, momentarily, they felt good. However, their temporary dream was turned into a long-term and perpetual nightmare. Little did they know that this simple, seemingly harmless act would result in their imminent, slow and painful death. Little did they know, that, when they signed off their lands to the Jews, they were also signing off their own doom with their own hands.

Exclusive Pictures of the Tigray Peoples Democratic Movement (TPDM)

July 9, 2013  — Ethiopian opposition sources in Eritrea have provided with exclusive pictures of the Tigray Peoples Democratic Movement (TPDM), a democracy group that is widely regarded as having the largest number of  rebel fighters in the region.

Established in 2001, TPDM was founded by the late Fiseha Hailemariam Tedla, who was a senior Ethiopian official before defecting to Eritrea. He was the chairman of the group until 2008, when he was assassinated by a lone gunman paid by the Ethiopian regime.

After the demise of their founder, the group elected Molla Asgedom as their new chairmen. Under his rule, TPDM has flourished, going from a rag-tag rebel group numbering in the few hundreds, to highly trained and formidable fighting force numbering in the tens of thousands.

According to US embassy sources, "the group strictly guards its leaders' names for fear of
reprisals against their families in Tigray.....the TPDM does not recruit recently escaped Ethiopian Tigray soldiers in Eritrea, but rather recruits disgruntled Tigray youth from within Ethiopian Tigray."

With over 4,000 Ethiopian refugees entering Eritrea each month, TPDM's membership has increased significantly. When asked about the number of fighters in their group, opposition officials declined to specify exact figures but did state it was over "tens of thousands of fighters".

In late 2012, TPDM formed an alliance with five democracy groups: the Amhara Democratic Force Movement, Ethiopian People's Patriotic Front, Gambella People's Liberation Movement, Benishangul People's Liberation Movement, and Ethiopian People's Justice and Equality Front.
                                                              Click images to enlarge:
New TPDM/Demhit recruits
New TPDM/Demhit recruits training
New TPDM/Demhit recruits training
New TPDM/Demhit recruits
T.P.D.M./Demhit Cultural Troupe
T.P.D.M./Demhit Cultural Troupe
T.P.D.M./Demhit Cultural Troupe
TPDM rebels celebrating
T.P.D.M./Demhit Cultural Troupe

Over 4,600 Ethiopian refugees have entered Eritrea for the month of June

128 Ethiopian refugees entering Eritrea, June 29, 2013
July 7, 2013  — A record-breaking 4,634 Ethiopian refugees and asylum seekers have crossed into neighboring Eritrea for the month of June, opposition sources in Asmara have disclosed.

Eritrea, with is currently housing tens of thousands of Ethiopian refugees, have declined to comment about the alarming number of Ethiopian youth entering their borders.

Severe government oppression and lack of economic opportunities are the leading causes of youth fleeing Ethiopia, according to refugees inside the country.

On average, over 7,100 Ethiopian refugees have been fleeing towards Yemen each month, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Over the past few years, reports indicate a quarter of a million Ethiopian refugees have crossed into Yemen, making the country of 85 million the biggest exporter of refugees on the continent.

Despite the growing figures of Ethiopian youth fleeing their homeland, little attention is given in the media due to Addis Ababa's cordial relationship with Washington.

Ethiopia is on pace to see 100,000 of its citizens flee towards Yemen in 2013

Ethiopian refugees crossing into Eritrea
Ethiopian refugees of the Tigray ethnic group inside Eritrea

Perhaps, the biggest indication of how large Ethiopia's refugee problem into Eritrea has gotten comes from a video released by the Tigray Peoples Democratic Movement. At least 6,000 TPDM rebels can be seen in just one of their bases in Eritrea. All these fighters were former military defectors or refugees who entered the country between 2001-2013.

Ethiopia moves anti-aircraft missiles near the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam

July 7, 2013  — The Ethiopian regime has moved several surface-to-air-missiles (SAMs) 5km (3 miles) near the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), in what is a clear sign of military escalation with arch-foe Egypt.

The placing of SAMs near the GERD comes amid Egyptian opposition leaders, who now make up the majority in the new Transitional Government after the ouster of Morsi, suggested in sabotaging the dam on live television.

"I think by placing these weapons near the dam, the regime is signaling to Egypt that it's in no mood to compromise and will continue with its unilateral policies", said a professor in Addis Ababa who declined to be named for fear of reprisals.

He added, "The danger with TPLF's latest bravado is it's forcing Egypt into a corner, making them more likely to utilize their air and ground superiority; especially since their country's existence is at stake."

Recently, reports surfaced that Addis Ababa was in negotiating for the possible delivery of 18 Su-30K fighter jets to Ethiopia, in what many observers see is a knee-jerk reaction to Egypt's threats of military action.

Meanwhile, Air Marshal Reda Mahmoud Hafez Mohamed, the Commander of Egyptian Air Force, is reportedly preparing his forces for possible air strikes against Ethiopia sometime by September 11, sources familiar with the situation have disclosed.

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is 20% complete - Credit: William Davison/IPS

22 Ethiopian troops defect to Eritrea and join TPDM

Photo: 22 defected Ethiopian soldiers in Eritrea

July 7, 2013  — A total of 22 Ethiopian soldiers defected to neighboring Eritrea to join the popular Tigray Peoples Democratic Movement, sources have disclosed.

The soldiers, who range from low to mid level military ranks, left in protest over the regime's severe oppression, corruption and extrajudicial killings of civilians.

Over the years, the number of Ethiopian troops defecting to Eritrea has increased exponentially. Senior officials even held discussions in Mekelle in mid-June to tackle this growing problem.

Addis Ababa has seen a spike in rebel actively in 2013. Several rebel groups, including the ONLF, TPDM and EPPF have stepped up military actions against the ruling party.

Names of those who defected to Eritrea:

1.  ሓለቓ ዓሰርተ ሽታየ ኩንደራ ምስክር ካብ ብሄረ ኣማሓራ ምዕራብ ጎጃም ወረዳ ቡሬ  ቀበሌ ፎነተ ሰላም፣

2.  ምኽትል ሓለቓ ዓሰርተ ሻምበል ስይፈ በቀለ ካብ ብሄረ ኦሮሞ ምዕራብ ሽዋ ወረዳ ሎሜ፤ ቀበሌ ጠዴ፣

3.  መሓመድ ዳውድ ኢብራሂም ካብ ብሄረ ዓፋር ወረዳ በራሕለ ቀበሌ ዒላዓት፣

4.  ምትኩ ኣስፋ ኣበባው ካብ ብሄረ ኦሮሞ ዞባ ቀለም ወለጋ ወረዳ ተጆ፤ ቀበሌ ተጆ፣

5.  ሓለቓ ዓሰርተ ከበበው ንጉሴ ወልዴ ካብ ብሄረ ኣሮሞ ዞባ ምብራቅ ሃረርጌ፤ ወረዳ ገመችስ፤ ቀበሌ ሰገርያ፣

6.  ምኽትል ሓለቓ ዓሰርተ እንግዳ ኣኮ ምሻለ ካብ ብሄረ ቤንሻንጉል ፤ ዞባ መትከል፤ ወረዳ ደባጤ፤ ቀበሌ ፓርዛይት፣

7.  ኣማኑኤል ካሕሳይ ክፍለ ካብ ብሄረ ትግራይ ዞባ ሴ/ምዕራብ ወረዳ መደባይ ዛና ክተማ ሰለኽለኻ ቀበሌ  ፍረ-ሰላም፣

8.  ሓለቃ ዓሰርተ ካልኣዩ ኣሰፋ ገሰሰ ካብ ብሄረ ትግራይ ዞባ ደቡባዊ ምብራቅ ትግራይ ወረዳ ሳምረ ጣብያ ህንፃ፣

9.  ምኽትል ሓለቓ ዓሰርተ ኣዲሱ እንድርያስ ገልገለው ካብ ብሄረ ኦሮሞ  ዞባ ነገለ ቦሮና ወረዳ ሊበን፤ ቀበሌ 02፣

10.         ሓለቃ ዓሰርተ ደረጀ ወርቁ ጌትነት ካብ ደቡብ ህዝቦች ኢትዮጵያ፤ ዞባ ወላይታ ሰዶ፤ ወረዳ ዳሞት ጋሊ፤ ቀበሌ ቆቴ ወገራ፣

11.         ታጠቅ ታሪኩ ኣስጨናቂ ካብ ብሄረ ኣሮሞ ስሜን ሽዋ፤ ወረዳ መሃል ሜዳ፣ ቀበሌ ገይጣልት፣

12.  ኑሩልኝ መላኩ ገብሬ ደቡብ ህዝቦች ኢትዮጵያ፤ ወረዳ ዲላ፤ ቀበሌ ኣማሮ፣

13.         ኣደም እድሪስ መሓመድ ካብ  ብሄረ ኦሮሞ ከምሴ፤ ወረዳ ባቲ፤ ቀበሌ 03፣

14.         ብርሃነ ደረጀ ጋሻው ካብ ብሄረ ኦሮሞ ዞባ ለቀምት፤ ወረዳ ለቀምቲ፤ ቀበሌ 03፣

15.         ሓለቓ ዓሰርተ ኢብራሂም መሓመድ ኣልየ ካብ ብሄረ ኦሮሞ፤ ዞባ ምብራቕ ሃረርጌ፤ ወረዳ ጡሎ፤ ቀበሌ ገንዳ-ኣመድ ኣህመድ፣

16.         ኢብራሂም ኣህመድ መሓመድ፤ ኦሮሞ ዞባ ምብራቕ ሃረርጌ፤ ወረዳ ጨለቆ፤ ቀበሌ ቁልቢ፣

17.         ምኽልትል ሓለቓ ዓሰርተ፤ መሓመድ ዓብዱራሕማን መሓመድ ካብ ኦሮሞ ዞባ ምዕራብ ሃረርጌ፤ ወረዳ ማሰላ፤ ቀበሌ ገብስ፣

18.         መሓመድ ወርዲ ሻም ካብ ብሄረ ኦሮሞ ዞባ ምብራቕ ሃረርጌ፤ ወረዳ ደደር፤ ቀበሌ ጨካ ኣውበሬ፣

19.         ሓለቓ ዓሰርተ ያለውለት ምንዋጋው ደመቀ ካብ ብሄረ ኣማሓራ ዞባ ባህርዳር፤ ወረዳ ስምንት፤ ቀበሌ 17፣

20.         ደበላ ኣጋ ኣዱላ ካብ ብሄረ ኦሮሞ፤ ዞባ ምብራቕ ወለጋ፤ ወረዳ ሃሮሊሞ፤ ቀበሌ ኦዳጉድና፣

21.         መሓመድ ዑስማን ካብ ፍሉይ ምምሕዳር ድሬዳዋ፤ ቀበሌ 05፤ ኣባል ናይሮምሳ ፣

22.         ሓለቓ ሓምሳ ሲሳይ ደረሰ ለታ ካብ ብሄረ ኦሮሞ፤ ዞባ ምብራቕ ወለጋ፤ ወረዳ ሁሮ ጉድሩ፤ ቀበሌ ኣቤበቀል፤ ኮይኖም ኣብቲ ስርዓት ዘሎ ኣፈላላይን ዘይቅኑዕ ምሕደራን ስርዓት ወያነ ተቛይሞም  ኣብ’ዚ ሰሙን እዚ  ናብ ዴምህት ተፀምቢሮም፣