In-depth details on the Eritrean Defense forces operation for change (Operation Forto)
Feb. 17. 2013
Major-general Omer Tewil and Major-general Haile Samuel (china), even though they were called to Asmara by the president, however, they declined his call and decided to remain in their base.
Colonel Sebhatlab Tsige, who was killed on the day of the operation, was buried on the martyrs’ cemetery in Dekemhare in on the 25th of January. Colonel Sebhatlab, was on vacation in Asmara when the Operation Forto was carried out. After becaming aware of the operation, he decided to return back to his division immediately, however, as he had no car of his own, he asked the personal of mechanized brigade Mebrahtu, and they began driving towards Dekemhare. Nevertheless, the regime had ordered the closure of all checkpoints around the country, when they attempted to break the checkpoint by force, the guards began firing at them and Colonel Sebhatlad Tsige got killed, while Mebrahtu sustained serious injury. However, both of them had no connection with the soldiers, who carried out the operation in Forto.
Recent relationship between President Esayas and General Sebhat
Three months ago the mother of General Sebhat Efrem passed away, and Esayas was seen visiting him very often. Behind the scene they were drinking heavily and more than a couple of times, Esayas drunk to the extent he couldn’t move, thus carried to his residence with help of his body guards.
General Sebhat Efrem, even though he is divorced at the moment, to avoid shame, he is still living in the same residence. Hence, it is widely believed he is living a distressed life.
Eseyas and his mercenaries found it very hard to imprison Colonel Salih Osman, who is very popular among the soldiers due to his heroic role in commanding the battle in Asab during the 1998-2000 Ethio-Eritrean conflict. Hence, they decided to release him free on the condition that he had to confess to his soldiers that he had made a mistake in taking part in the Forto operation. The regime feared, putting him behind bars would instigate other similar military uprising from his division, in order to avoid such a scenario they were forced to set him free. He was accompanied by the head of National Intelligence Abraha Kasa, when he returned to his division 19. Brigader General Eyob (halibay) and General Sebhat Efrem are also conducting propaganda campaigns with different military divisions.
The background that led to this operation
Even though it is not quit clear the exact date where the President began acting as a full dictator, however, it was clearly manifested after the imprisonment of the G-15. Ever since then, his popularity has been declining steadily within the army. Especially, last year he was challenged and thereby he was seen failing to take them under his full control.
His initial measure was to replace the command center of the Eritrean defense force from the Ministry of Defense to the office of the President. And the President named Colonel Tesfaldet Habteselase to be the new informal head of the Ministry. A circular was distributed to the senior military leaders that the post of commander in chief of the country’s Airforce was to be given to Colonel Tesfaldet Habteselase. According this circular there would not be a single plane or helicopter that could fly without the prior permission of the new Colonel. This move had no national significance; it was basically done in light of the Presidents’ own security.
This decision was done when General Teklay Habteselase was still in his position as commander of Eritrean Airforce. This action prompted for his peers to gossip at how he ended up a good for nothing general. If there was one thing that we saw in this incident, it was the complete disappearance of General Sebhat from the scene. Instead of challenging the president for his unwise actions, he was seen becoming amenable to Colonel Tesfaldet. Hence some military leaders began rightly calling him ‘receptionist’.
The military generals, who used to set appointment to meet with the President through his secretary Zewdi, now they are asked to meet with Colonel Tesfaldet first. Consequently, they began to complain and disapprove the president’s action openly. Such actions proved his increasing feeling of insecurity and his luck of trust in his own generals.
When the president heard the complaints of the military generals, he ordered the reshuffle of Brigadier General Eyob(Halibay) from the army to the office of the president. General Eyob, after being accused of theft, has just finished a five years prison sentence. He was responsible for removing civilians from their residence to allocate to military officers. And the competition for power between Halibay and Tesfaldet is getting more visible by the day.
However, what is very visible at the moment is the president’s increasing sense of insecurity, having abandoned the meda style bottom-top leadership; he is depending on the sympathetic faces of the generals to stay in power. The demand for a political change, even though he tried to undermine the incident by only giving a 25 minutes interview after 25 days, it has not ended yet. As long as it is a noble demand of the people, all what he said was, all what he wished to see, but the reality is otherwise.
We will try to provide you the biography of Wedi Ali, who unfortunately sacrificed his life while demanding justice for his people.