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Monday, July 22, 2024

Axum: Where the Boundary Line Between a Kid and an Adult, a Soldier and a Civilian, and a Truth and Lie is Crossed

What happened in Axum on November 28, 2020, has been a fertile ground for the Western media and their surrogates like Amnesty International to defame their usual target Eritrea. The duplicity, hypocrisy, and double standard of the Western media and their surrogates is an open book for the world to see and I do not want to dwell on it in this article. The story of the Axum incident has been presented in many ways. Some presented it as a conflict between those who wanted to ransack a historical church and those who wanted to protect it. Others presented it as a conflict between religions. None of the stories written about the Axum incident were true. They were sensational stories designed to catch the Western mantra of Human rights violation by a foreign force. In this article, I will describe what happened on the morning of November 28th, 2020, in Axum.

Fig 1.: Axum map.


On November 4, 2020, The Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF) militia attacked the heavily armed Ethiopian Northern Command which had about 30,000 personnel. While many of the members of the Northen Command were massacred or captured by the close to 200,000 TPLF militia on the spot, some were able to flee to Eritrea. Being angry about Eritrea allowing the fleeing Ethiopian soldiers to enter its territory, the TPLF militia that were following the fleeing Ethiopian soldiers attacked the Eritrean army in the Badme front and later hurled a dozen missiles at the world heritage site capital city of Eritrea, Asmara. The Eritrean army did not have any choice except to support the Ethiopian Federal Army and hunt down the TPLF Militia that created havoc in Ethiopia and Eritrea. Accordingly, the Ethiopian Army supported by Eritrean Army routed the TPLF rag-tag militia in a matter of two weeks and controlled most of Tigray.
On November 19th, 2020, the Ethiopian and Eritrean Soldiers entered Axum. While the Ethiopian soldiers were patrolling the city, the Eritrean soldiers camped on a mountainous area located on the outskirts of the city called Mai Koho (see figure 1 above). This was consistent with how the Eritrean soldiers positioned themselves in other Tigray cities they controlled as well. Eritrean soldiers always stayed away from cities except in Adigrat, which was under the full control of the Eritrean Army. In Adigrat, a city larger than Axum, there was no conflict between the Eritrean Army and its dwellers. In fact, the city dwellers were very happy with the rule of law and sense of security the Eritrean soldiers instilled in the city.
In Axum, the Ethiopian soldiers patrolled the city for close to seven days, and about 20 Eritrean soldiers stayed in their camp in a mountainous area outside of the city. For some reason, the Ethiopian soldiers left the city and the 20 Eritrean soldiers remained where they were camping. On the night of November 27, close to 300 TPLF militia from the surrounding areas entered Axum city. They gathered about 200 youngsters who previously received very minimum training and armed them with guns that they recovered from a former army depot in the city. Others were tasked with delivering food and water to the militia and ill-trained youth from the city.
The TPLF militia told the youth they armed, the Eritrean soldiers who were camping at the mountainous area called Mai Koho did not leave with the Ethiopian soldiers because they wanted to surrender to the TPLF militia, and they needed to go to disarm them. Accordingly, on November 28th at 5 a.m. the close 500 TPLF militia and freshly armed youth started attacking the 20 Eritrean soldiers. The war raged for close to three hours and the Eritrean soldiers suffered some casualties but were able to defend their camp. The ill-trained youth from the City of Axum were used as cannon fodders and suffered the heaviest loss. At about the same time Tigray radio and TV declared that the TPLF militia and allied youth destroyed the Eritrean army and recaptured Axum. But the victory breaking news was short-lived. Later the Eritrean soldiers received a reinforcement and the TPLF militia retreated to the city, leaving the dead and injured youth behind.
A while ago I read a quote from a fellow writer that reads “TPLF heroism is different because it does not care about human life”. Driving clue less ill-trained youth to a war they never experienced before is a crime against humanity. That is what happened on November 28th, 2020, in Axum. This was not the only time TPLF conscripted kids, as young as 13 and 14, for the Tigray war. It was a norm in the two-year war rather than an exception and that is why hundreds of thousands of Tigray youths perished. For TPLF, if the ill-trained youth kill an enemy, they are heroes and when they get killed, they are civilians. The name of the game is deception.
TPLF is a click that erases the boundary between a kid and an adult, a truth and a lie, and a soldier and a civilian. The November 28th Axum war was fought between 20 defending Eritrean soldiers and close to 500 TPLF militia and allied youth attackers. As Western media and their Surrogates presented it, it was not an attack on civilians. When the TPLF militia lost the attack on 20 Eritrean soldiers it did not take time to claim a massacre of civilians by Eritrean soldiers. You cannot have it both ways. The lesson is, do not provoke a sleeping Giant. When you provoke there will be a swift response.
Awet N’Hafash and Eternal Glory to Our Martyrs.

By Abel Kebedom,


The views and opinions titled "Axum: Where the Boundary Line Between a Kid and an Adult, a Soldier and a Civilian, and a Truth and Lie is Crossed", are those of Abel Kebedom and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Setit Media. ኣብዚ "Axum: Where the Boundary Line Between a Kid and an Adult, a Soldier and a Civilian, and a Truth and Lie is Crossed", ዘርእስቱ ጽሑፍ ተገሊጹ ዘሎ ርእይቶን ሓሳብን ናይ Abel Kebedom እምበር መትከላትን መርገጽን ሰቲት ሚዲያ ዘንጸባርቕ ኣይኮነን።

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