Who killed Hayelom Araya? Mystery solved
Ethiomedia Intelligence Unit | Oct 8, 2011
Meles first kills, and goes to the funeral where he sheds tears. He doesn’t stop there. To quash public suspicions that he is the murderer, he goes to great lengths, and orders that a famed military academy be named after his own victim that he promotes posthumously as ‘major general.’ All this is part of a Stalinist art of how to stay in power. Photo shows Hayelom Araya Statue in Adi Nebrid, Tigrai, Ethiopia
“While Meles calls Samora Yonus for coffee almost every day, he has never invited Hayelom even once,” says a former TPLF rebel who adds, “Meles has always seen Hayelom with suspicious eyes.” Hayelom was killed on February 14, 1996 in Addis Ababa Fifteen years after Hayelom Araya was brutally murdered in Addis Ababa, his death has remained a mystery. The state-owned media trivialized his death to a bar brawl. Our intelligence Unit, however, has carefully pieced the facts and busted the myth that the death of Hayelom was a highly orchestrated murder plot in which the place of the man who pulled the trigger, Jemil Yassin, was at the bottom of the list of other important persons.
We would like to caution readers that such a story would draw the fury and anger of those who would like to keep the murder buried in mystery forever. They may even say “Who cares for a Weyane commander who died nearly 15 years ago?” Those who care are those who care for change by understanding the ‘modus operandi’ of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, the architect in how to eliminate an openent, walk away from murders with allegedly clean hands, and manage to stay in power indefinitely.
Political murders have always been, and swiftly, dramatized too far with the main purpose to mislead the public that Mr. Meles has nothing to do with the crime. The highly-orchestrated murders are reduced to bar brawls (Hayelom Araya vs Jemil Yassin), personal conflicts (Kinfe G. Medhin vs Major Tsehaye Woldeselassie), wife-kills-husband (Col. Berhe Shabia), heart-attacks (former TPLF’s singer-turned-businessman Eyasu Berhe & former TPLF CC member Gebremeskel Hailu). Our intelligence unit says all are fake, and Meles is directly involved in all of the murders!
Before proceeding to answering the “Who Killed Hayelom Araya” question, here’s an excerpt about the lesser known death of Col. Berhe Shabiya, another prominent Ethiopian military commander:
[Col. Berhe Shabia was a top Ethiopian military commander who was deployed along the Zalambesa-Tserona Front during the 1998-2000 Ethiopia-Eritrea War. Col. Berhe was frequently warning the army that Meles Zenawi should be removed from power if 'Ethiopia is going to win the war over Eritrea.' But Meles acted fast. In the midst of the war, in 1999, Col. Berhe was summoned to Addis allegedly for a military conference. He was found murdered at his home at Old Airport in Addis, and the Meles-controlled TV reported that Col. Berhe was shot dead by his wife. To add insult to injury, the TV said the wife had also taken her own life. The killers placed a gun in the hand of the wife of Col. Berhe, and brought in the Meles-controlled TV crew. That was to justify that their fictitious report that she had committed suicide after killing her husband. At the funeral of husband and wife though, the story was quite different: individuals close to the family were weaping but also whispering how the banda (a derogatory reference to Meles the meaning of which means a 'mercenary') murdered the couple. True to form, Col. Berhe was murdered by a special security unit that had burrowed its way to the colonel's residence at night. They murdered Col. Berhe first, and the mother of his two kids that was fleeing away from the sight of her husband being murdered.]
The fact around the death of Hayelom Araya
One of those prominent individuals who was murdered in mysterious circumstances was Hayelom Araya, the most prominent army commander of the TPLF era. Cadres loyal to Meles have been fabricating stories that Hayelom was killed in a bar brawl with a crazy Eritrean called Jemil Yassin. In Ethiomedia’s Intelligence finding, however, Jemil Yassin was simply a hit man at the bottom of all others who was sent to pull the trigger. Who plotted the murder of Hayelom then? Details follow:
Hayelom Araya – Perhaps the most popualr military commander who turned hopeless battles with the Derg into glittering victories, had lived being at odds with Meles Zenawi, particularly over relations with Eritrea.
When Meles and current chief-of-Staff Samora Yonus met almost daily during coffee breaks, no one had ever seen Meles sharing coffee with Hayelom even once, and that tells a long story itself, says a former TPLF rebel who doesn’t want to be indentified by name for fear of reprisal. “For Meles, Hayelom was always a threat because of the great love he had among the army. They had to eliminate him, and they did.”
In November 1995, Samora summoned all senior military commanders at the 4th Battlion Camp in Addis. The topic was how Ethiopia should join the war with Eritrea against Yemen. The fight was provoked by Eritrea claiming that Hannish islands on the Red Sea belonged to it.
Tired of TPLF’s servitude to Eritrea under the leadership of Meles Zenawi, Hayelom rejected that no Ethiopian soldier should fight another country’s war. Silence reigned over the meeting. Samora, who was chairing the meeting, thought Hayelom would influence the army to reject Meles Zenawi’s order to join Eritrea’s war against Yemen. Then Samora called for a coffee break. When the 15-minute break was over, and the officers went back to the meeting hall, Mr. Meles Zenawi had taken over the chairmanship of Samora.
“I’ve heard what Hayelom has said,” said Meles, telling him bluntly that Eritrea was more than a neighboring country and he should retract his statement. “With Eritrea, we have a binding military agreement; when either country is under attack, the other doesn’t sit idle; it draws the sword and engage the common enemy.”
But Hayelom insisted that he wouldn’t agree at any cost for deployment of Ethiopian soldiers whenever the “madness of Shabiya flares up” against a neighboring country [Yemen]. Though many big time TPLF commanders were there, no one had the courage to back up Hayelom [For the record, Mr Seeye Abraha, who was previously Defense Minister, was systematically removed from the political nerve center that is Addis Ababa, and sent to Tigrai to head EFFORT. Had it been during the emperor's time, this measure of getting rid of a potential rival would have been termed as gezot - 'exiled'].
Hayelom was cut off from the core military commanders that Meles formed along with Samora for the operation against Yemen.
[But in the meantime, Meles was officially asking Yemen to mediate peace between Sanaa and Asmara. Yemeni leaders laughed at Meles' request to be a peace broker, and told him bluntly he had never been independent. The Yemen leaders bluntly put it that Meles and Isaias were two sides of the same coin.] asking them to be a mediator, but they bluntly told him it is as if ‘we are clueless that your
Says an army lieutenant who knew well about the secret operation: “We were strictly ordered to pose as Eritrean soldiers. We were provided with Eritrean IDs. And our military trucks travelled by night, via the Ethiopian town of Bati [Wollo] into Eritrea-held Afar territory. From remote posts along the coast of the Red Sea, we were ferried to the Port of Assab, and joined the battle for the control of the Greater and Lesser Hannish islands. The Ethiopian people had no idea that several Ethiopian soldiers were killed but their bodies were never retrieved, nor their families informed of the deaths of their loved ones.”
But word had leaked and spread that Hayelom was firmly opposed to Meles Zenawi’s war with Eritrea against Yemen. The rising stardom of Hayelom in the army continued to be a threat to what Meles, whose friendship with Eritrea’s Isaias Afwerki had reached its climax, had in store for Ethiopia. After two months since Hayelom challenged Meles Zenawi against joining Eritrea against the war with Yemen, he was shot dead on February 4, 1996 by an Eritrean called Jemil Yassin in a complex muder plot mapped out by security forces of both Meles and Isaias.
A new evidence by someone who escaped from Eritrea and had an insight into the political murder has reached us.
Top actors in the murder plot are Oumer Gereweynai, an Eritrean businessman who used to live in Addis Ababa before the war; the son of Umer Gereweynai, who was a member of Eritrean Intelligence (Security) and sent to Addis to set up the murder plot; the late Security Chief Kinfe G. Medhin; current Security Chief Getachew Assefa; a young brother-in-law of Getachew Assefa who was innocently used to serve as a driver for the son of Oumer Gereweynai who arrived in Addis from Asmara two weeks before Hayelom’s death; Investigator “Gureza” (who was transferred to Ethiopian Embassy in Nairobi shortly after Jemil Yassin was killed. Gureza, himself a former TPLF rebel, was murdered in Nairobi in mysterious circumstances two weeks after his arrival), Eritrean Jemil Yassin (sentenced to death), and others.
(To be continued)
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