Ethiopian Renaissance Dam in July 2016.
The Ethiopian regime has yet again accused Eritrea of attempting to destabilize it; this time, accusing its northern neighbor of sending a little known Ethiopian rebel group, the Benishangul Gumuz People’s Liberation Movement (BPLM), to attack the controversial Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
In typical TPLF fashion, the story made little sense. For starters, how can an Ethiopian rebel group travel from Eritrea through the Sudan to get to the GERD (a distance of over 400 miles) all while carrying weapons and without being spotted by Sudanese security forces?
In addition to the long distance, the alleged skirmish occurred well over 100 miles south of the dam near Assosa, the regional capital of Benishangul-Gumuz. This tells us the alleged rebel group in question had no plans of attacking the dam, as it makes no sense for the group to pass the dam by over 100 miles if its goals were to actually attack it.
Moreover, the light weapons the 20-man BPLM militia were reported to have carried with them was never a threat to destroying the dam. An RPG was probably the most powerful weapon they had at their disposal, which is certainly not capable of destroying a dam that's built with over dozens of feet thick in concrete like the GERD is.
The timing of this accusation is also a bit suspicious. It came just a day before the Battle of Adwa anniversary. Perhaps the TPLF regime is trying to cash in on the patriotic sentiments the Battle of Adwa brings to many Ethiopians, and in blaming Eritrea, is looking for an external boogeyman to rally the country behind in the hopes of making its own citizens forget that it just murdered over 1,000 Ethiopian civilians months ago.
Another motive comes from Ethiopian journalist, Mohamed Ademo, who thinks this latest TPLF accusation against Eritrea will be used to extend the duration of the State of Emergency, which is supposed to come to an end in April. Since adopting the State of Emergency, the regime has granted itself sweeping powers that has turned Ethiopia into the world's largest open-air prison.
In reality, Eritrea has no motive to attack the GERD. The only countries that do have a motive to attack it are Egypt and to a lesser degree, the Sudan. The fact the TPLF regime didn't even bother to mention Egypt indicates the story was probably fabricated for the U.N. Somali Eritrea Monitoring Group to recommend maintaining the illegal sanctions against Eritrea.
#Sudan and #Egypt stand to lose water resource from #Ethiopia dam, and therefore have greater interest in destroying it, not #Eritrea.— Herman J. Cohen (@CohenOnAfrica) March 2, 2017
Whatever the case is, Eritreans, Ethiopians and Somalis are well aware of TPLF's dirty tactics. No amount of fabricating news about Eritrea will save it from its demise.