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Another terrorist attack: how long should we mollycoddle Isaias Afewerki?

By Dilwenberu Nega
Jan. 18 2012

Terrorists trained, armed and dispatched by Eritrea have inflicted a major blow to Ethiopian tourism by killing five foreign tourists in Ethiopia’s Regional State of Afar. Both Government and public were quick to finger Asmara as the mastermind of this heinous crime. You do not have to be a genius, then, to find out who is behind such terrorist attacks, for the track record of Isaias Afewerki is replete with his impeccable credentials of a fountainhead of terrorism in the Horn of Africa. Besides, it has now become routine procedure for Asmara, has it not, to turn into a jaundiced mode as all eyes are fixated on the African Union summit in Addis Ababa due to commence next week. The foiled but somehow immanent presence of last year’s Asmara-nudged terrorist attack on an ongoing African Union (AU) summit in Addis Ababa serves to remind us that Asmara would leave no stone unturned to scupper an  AU summit in the Ethiopian capital which has for all intents and purposes has transformed into a truly “Brussels of Africa.”

Every time terrorists, dispatched to Ethiopia by the “mad dog of Africa,” succeed in inflicting fatalities on our people, the Ethiopian public finds it right and proper to ask when, if ever, these terrorist attacks would come to an end. This time round, however, one senses a feeling of something-must-be-done-to-Isais permeating public discourse as never before. The problem here is that people have come to regard the responsible, firm and fair Government policies towards Asmara as being toothless and being laughed at by Asmara.

No one, least of all, EPRDF Government which is currently engaged in a life and death struggle with what it rightfully regards as Ethiopia’s one and only enemy – poverty – wants war with any nation for we all agree that Ethiopians has so far paid Moloch-like sacrifices to dislodge irredentist Eritrea from Ethiopian soil. But the agonising thing for Ethiopia still remains that while the current no-war-no-peace-with-Eritrea is better than war, it unfortunately is having an adverse impact on our efforts to woo direct foreign investment which as every one appreciates plays an unquestionably vital role in our struggle against the rigours of extreme poverty.

It has been repeatedly stated at official level and Ethiopians, too, concur with the assertion that there exists no antagonism between Ethiopians and Eritreans. Our one and only foe in Eritrea is the President-for-life of the State of Eritrea. In fact, Ethiopians must be commended for demonstrating good-will of the finest calibre to Eritreans in the face of President Isaias Afewerki’s unwarranted insults of Ethiopians. We only wish that Eritreans, like us, would have constitutional guarantee to bask in pluralistic democracy. In general, Ethiopians strongly believe an Eritrean government which is good for Eritrea will be good for Ethiopia. Conversely, an Eritrean government which has turned his nation into a breeding ground for terrorist network is not only bad for the State of Eritrea but poses an imminent and existential threat to Ethiopia.

If President Isaias Afewerki has turned so naive to think that he is able to circumvent the will of the Ethiopian people by his acts of terrorism, its time for the Commander-in Chief of Ethiopian Defence Forces to order a calibrated response to Eritrea’s interminable acts of provocations. The sooner the EPRDF Government embarks on surgically removing President Isaias Afewerki from power the better and safer for both Ethiopians and Eritreans. Let reason prevail!