NCEA Letter to the UN Security Council

The National Council of Eritrean Americans (NCEA)

March 10, 2021

Dear members of the UN Security Council:

We are writing to express our profound disappointment that some members of the UN Security Council are yet again entertaining ways to implicate Eritrea based on lies and fabrications coming from supporters and enablers of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) of Ethiopia as they did a decade ago.

It pains us to remind UN Security Council members that both the 2009 and 2011 UN sanctions against Eritrea, as leaked US Embassy cables from New York, Addis Ababa, Asmara, Berlin and Rome, clearly exposed, were also based on deliberate TPLF (which was then in charge of Ethiopia) disinformation with careful choreography and directing by the USUN Mission in New York. Lies about Eritrea’s involvement in Somalia were concocted in Addis Ababa and then recycled, laundered and compiled by the Somalia-Eritrea Monitoring Group (SEMG), a UN-created “investigative” body.

The current accusations against Eritrea are also of the same pattern and are being driven by the remnants of the TPLF and their enablers who are abusing channels of international diplomacy, human rights groups and the media. The Council should not allow itself to be a vehicle for another miscarriage of justice.

The fact is that the TPLF in a premeditated attempt to internationalize its anticipatory war against the Ethiopian National Defense Forces based in Tigray had made “uniforms of Eritrean security forces” in Tigray’s Almeda Textiles Factory and had distributed them to its special forces, militia and more than 10,000 criminals it released from prison in order to frame Eritrea. Before their attack on the Ethiopian Defense Forces, top TPLF officials were openly talking on how if a war broke between the Ethiopian government and itself it would be internationalized. That is exactly what they did after starting the attack. They fired rockets at Eritrea’s capital over half a dozen times and openly boasted about it. After Eritrea showed restraint despite these provocations, TPLF operatives decided to wage a massive and coordinated campaign of lies. 

As early as one week after the start of the internal Ethiopian conflict on November 3, 2020, a BBC news analysis “Ethiopia’s Tigray conflict sparks spread of misinformation” exposed how pictures from different countries as far as Armenia and Russia and as near as Yemen and Kenya were photoshopped by TPLF supporters to help them peddle lies. Later, more pictures from different countries were collected from the internet and dished out as if they were evidence of atrocities happening in Tigray. 

The Washington Post on February 5, 2021 stated how “In Ethiopia’s digital battle over the Tigray region, facts are casualties” lamenting that Twitter “accounts with opaque credentials claim expertise or positions aimed at boosting their credibility. They claim to be academics or aid workers but have little or no online presence beyond Twitter, making their credentials difficult to verify. These accounts may be problematic because they can obtain significant ‘reach’ based on unsubstantiated claims.” Earlier in November the Post wrote “hate speech and disinformation have spread rapidly among politicized groups in Ethiopia.

Local Tigrayan officials on the ground, such as the Deputy Governor and an Administrator of Northwestern part of the Tigray region, who investigated all the allegations openly stated that there was no evidence of any crimes committed by Eritreans, and if there were any crimes they were those committed by TPLF militia and local criminals. This notwithstanding, TPLF supporters were confident on how they could easily exploit the gullibility of some western policy makers and journalists. Unfortunately, they were successful in selling their fabrications to Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch which from their remote

desks declared “war crimes” and “crimes against humanity.” These groups wrote about allegations coming from suspected members of TPLF militia and special forces involved in the Mai Kadra massacre posing as refugees in Hamdayet, Sudan, and portrayed as “eye-witnesses.”  Their accusations are in clear contradiction to the facts on the ground. What is more concerning is that these allegations were widely disseminated via major news outlets in violation of basic journalistic standards. 

What the world is not talking about, but should, include the relentless effort by the TPLF to try to internationalize the internal Ethiopian conflict in Tigray. Furthermore, the world should be disgusted by the horrendous actual, not imagined, massacres by the TPLF special forces in places such as Mai Kadra, and the refugee camps in Tigray. 

Among the other critical issues the world should also focus on are: the systematic massacre of members of the Ethiopian Northern Command who were stationed in Tigray to protect Tigrayans and other Ethiopians from external threat. It is savagery of the highest kind to strip dead bodies of all forms of clothing, and forcing some soldiers to flee naked across the international border into Eritrea. These atrocities were what served as the trigger to the current internal Ethiopian conflict in Tigray.

Other TPLF’s brazen fabrications we should never forget including:

  1. A little girl whose picture was taken from social media was presented as a child killed in Adi Grat, Tigray, Ethiopia. In truth the little girl was actually an Eritrean living in California and was forced to post a Facebook message stating that “I am alive and well living in California!”
  2. A young female that claimed her hand was shot by forces who were trying to assault her was interviewed by the BBC and Al Jazeera giving different versions. Her father, however, admitted that his daughter was a TPLF soldier and she was wounded in the conflict before the date she claimed the heinous crime happened. 
  3. On the “Axum massacre”.
    • On the very dates, 28-29 November 2020 that Amnesty International reported the massacre happened, a TPLF leader had stated that his forces were in charge of Axum. If TPLF was in charge of the city, shouldn’t it be the one to be responsible for the atrocities? 
    • The images widely circulated as a mass burial site in Axum were in actuality of a funeral from Nigeria, which one can easily check by image searching on Google, but can also be seen by the way West Africans dress which are distinct from the way people in Tigray, Ethiopia dress.
    • The report talked about mass graves in several churches in the city, but to date no one was able to find any mass graves. The latest story that has been peddled by Human Rights Watch is that hyenas had eaten the bodies. In other words we have been told Axum hyenas can dig graves, eat the bodies, and then fill the graves leaving it to look undisturbed. 
    • There is an Ethiopian TV footage from November 30, 2020 showing Axum celebrating its annual feast of the Mary of Zion. Something one cannot expect from a city that had buried nearly a thousand of its citizens the day before.  

Anyone who is interested in securing peace in the Horn of Africa should fully support the 2018 peace accord between Eritrea and Ethiopia and strongly condemn those who have been trying to sabotage it.

Posted in: Press Release/Statement