DEBRE MARKOS, Northern Ethiopia – Rebels on December 22 killed 17 prison guards, wounded at least 13 members of the security personnel and freed five of their comrades who have been languishing behind bars for several months, a source told Ethiomedia by phone on Tuesday.
The report couldn’t be verified by an independent source. If proven true, however, the latest attack constitutes the third major offensive after operations on Adigrat Prison in November and Metema town in May in which several business units belonging to ruling party officials were razed to the ground (See details below).The attack was carried out by combatants of the Ethiopian Unity and Freedom Force (EUFF).
Over 14 killed, dozens injured in bomb attack on Adigrat Prison.
ADIGRAT, Northern Ethiopia (Nov 2, 2012) – Over 14 inmates were killed and dozens were injured when a building housing at least 1300 prisoners was destroyed in a bomb attack in Adigrat town on Wednesday, a source said.
|Adigrat town, which is about 900 km north of Addis Ababa, has an estimated population of 150,000, according to “Adigrat Vision”|
An EUFF spokesperson told Ethiomedia by phone that the action was taken to free political prisoners that the government had kept behind bars since the ill-fated 2005 elections in which the opposition Kinijit was believed to have won.
Most inmates were Kinijit supporters arrested from Gonder, Gojjam, Addis Ababa and other parts of the country during a brutal government crackdowns in the aftermath of the 2005 elections, the source said. “Demands that the government release the political prisoners had fallen on deaf ears, thus prompting a public demand that the rebels take action.”
Over 40 prisoners have remained at large, according to the spokesperson. A climate of fear and uncertainty has engulfed the once-bustling town of Adigrat.
Unlike other rebel groups that claim support from Ethiopia’s arch enemy Eritrea, the fiercely-independent EUFF has been active in northern Ethiopia in recent years.
Over 60 units in the business quarter of the town called Jinghera were sent up in smoke as they were housing security agents of the ruling TPLF regime, rebels of the Ethiopian Unity and Freedom Force (EUFF) told Ethiomedia on Sunday.
Metema has been a transit point for those who import and export – legally or illegally – items into Sudan and Ethiopia.
Earlier in April, the rebels had set fire to Khartoum Hotel in Metema, claiming it was owned by a ruling party official. In June 2011, EUFF had decimated about a dozen stores owned by ruling party officials.
On April 9, EUFF forces opened fire on Sudanese Al-Qadarif governor, Karam Allah Abbas, who had tried to stop an Ethiopian farmer from working on a farm the Sudanese official thought was a Sudanese territory.
Karam Allah Abbas protested to Ethiopian officials whom he was to meet across the border in the Amhara region.
The Meles regime, which is resented by the Ethiopian people for selling off fertile lands to Sudan as well as many other governments and multinational corporations, blamed EUFF rebels as Eritrean-backed shiftas.
In a recent interview with Bloomberg’s William Davison, Ethiopia’s second-in-command Bereket Simon confirmed the news report that those who had fired on the Sudanese governor were rebels assisted by neighboring Eritrea.
Many believe EUFF is a politically conscious, self-reliant patriotic group that operates 100% in Ethiopia, scoffing at those who seek shelter in Eritrea.