When TPDM’s chairman Mola Asgedom escaped from Eritrea to Sudan last Friday, he was joined by at least 26 of the organization’s 35 central committee members, according to Ethiopian Review sources. The total number of TPDM members who escaped Friday is close to 700. Sudan Tribune reports that the actual number is 683. Up to 20 of them were killed in an intense fighting with Shabia border guards.
Following Friday’s dramatic mass escape, Shabia has rounded up and jailed as many TPDM members as it could find. The TPDM main camp in Teseney has been completely abandoned and the fighters are dispersed in small groups and headed to Tigray-Eritrea border in different directions. TPDM has melted away overnight after Shabia invested enormous resources over the past 10 years to make it a potent force for its plan to dismember Ethiopia.
ESAT’s report that Mola defected because he was not selected to head the new Shabia-molded 4-member coalition is bogus. The truth of the matter is that given the chance, all leaders of the Ethiopian opposition groups in Eritrea would do the same thing. EPPF chairman Meazaw Getu, OLF leaders Generals Gemal Gelchu and Hailu Gonfa are all Shabia hostages. They are not allowed to leave Eritrea. Mola, too, had been held a hostage by Shabia until he fought his way out of Eritrea on Friday.
It is highly probable that Mola Asgedom’s escape from Eritrea was facilitated by some Shabia officers who have their own personal agenda. It is highly unlikely that 700 armed members of an Ethiopian opposition group would travel all the way from Teseney and cross the heavily-fortified Eritrea-Sudan border without help from some powerful elements in the Eritrean military or intelligence.
Woyanne is quick to exploit Mola Asgedom’s defection to the full extent it can. Woyanne is toying with its former master Shabia. It is like a hyena playing with a dying prey.