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This morning, at exactly 6.30am British time, someone who claimed to be calling from inside Ethiopia rang me, using a fake (unidentifiable) telephone number, to inform me that planning and preparation for the invasion of Eritrea is now complete and the Ethiopian army is poised to attack at various entry points to the country.
In other words, my informant told me in clear language (Tigrinya) that all-out war between Ethiopia and Eritrea could start any day now.
He also emphasized that the Ethiopian military attack against Eritrea would not be defensive in nature. It would be an all-out offensive war with the clear military and political objective of breaking completely the backbone of the Eritrean defense forces and effecting regime change in Eritrea.
My informant appeared very worried by the great danger associated with the Ethiopian government’s military operations to bring regime change in Eritrea.
He said that the idea to attack Eritrea was planned and approved while Meles Zenawi was still the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, but was kept on hold in the hope that Eritrea might be persuaded to come up with some diplomatic moves satisfactory to Ethiopia, forced by the sanctions presently in place. He claimed that the decision to attack Eritrea was approved at a hurriedly called conference last week.
I asked my informant why he was telling me all this unverifiable military information about the allegedly imminent Woyane attack. The answer he gave was that my website clearly states that it stands for peace, democracy and reconciliation within and among nations and he therefore thought it the right venue for exposing and condemning the dangerous military preparations underway so as to mobilize the forces for peace and democracy in both Eritrea and Ethiopia, call for massive protest demonstrations by the citizens of both these poor countries to oppose this imminent war between them and demand that they resolve their problems through dialogue.
I then told him that, if I were to take seriously the information he was giving me and the rather noble ideas for peace he was advocating and publish these in Mdre Bahri, he needed to identify himself and provide me with his name and telephone number.
I told him that, otherwise, it may be the case that he was someone wanting to effectuate a hidden political agenda, using Mdre Bahri as a tool, or to involve Mdre Bahri in becoming the author of manufactured lies. Nevertheless, for his own reasons, he continued to refuse to disclose any information about himself.
Suddenly, there was dead silence on the other end of the line and I assumed that he had hung up. Therefore, I can only say at this stage that time will reveal this caller’s true motives.
As for myself, I was very strict in dealing with the caller because in the past I had received a similar call from someone pretending to be an Eritrean calling from Asmara to inform Mdre Bahri that Issaias Afeworki, the Eritrean head of state, had died, Eritrea was under the management of a military junta and the veteran fighter, Weldenkiel Abraha, had been designated as their official spokesperson.
Having listened to him attentively, I unhesitatingly thanked him very much and quickly began writing an article titled “Issaias Afeworki is dead at the age of 69”. Fortunately, just before I was about to post the article in Mdre Bahri, I shared the information I have with someone I knew. He advised me that Issaias Afeworki might well be dead but said I should not trust information passed over the phone by an unknown person. He suggested that the caller could well have been genuine but he could also have been someone wanting to discredit my website.
I therefore did not go ahead in posting the article.
Instead, I wrote another article entitled “Is President Issayas Afeworki of Eritrea Dead or Alive?” and posted it in Mdre Bahri. I concluded the article with the observation that the Eritrean people had the right to know whether or not the Eritrean President was dead and, if so, who was running the country.
Regarding the call I received this morning, although I have no way of confirming the news I received from an unknown source claiming to be calling from Ethiopia and speaking the Tigrian version of Tigrinya, as opposed to using the highland Eritrean accent, I have nevertheless this time considered the seriousness of the matter.
I have decided to take a calculated risk in informing the Eritrean people and its armed forces that the Tigrian rulers of Ethiopia are ready to invade Eritrea and create chaos and hardship for Eritrea and its people.
However, should the news I am posting turn out to be misleading or merely a bluff intended to keep Eritrea worried and busy, I will issue a sincere apology to all the visitors to Mdre Bahri and to the Eritrean people.
After all, I have been engaged my whole life in the struggle to contribute towards creating solid, favorable conditions under which Eritrea and Ethiopia could gain mutual trust and confidence and coexist peacefully side by side.
My concluding message to the political and military leaders in both Eritrea and Ethiopia is that, throughout history, war has been a double-edged sword: it hurts you when others wage it against you; it also hurts equally when you start war against others. The best trick for avoiding war is therefore to be willing to abide by existing agreements, by international conventions and laws, and also to be fully and genuinely prepared to resolve problems through the civilized means of negotiation and dialogue.
Drs. Tsegezab Gebregergis