Friday, September 28, 2018

Ethiopia - Army ranks purged of senior Tigrayan officers

On the instructions of the Oromo defence minister Motuma Mekassa, the chief of staff of the Ethiopian National Defence Forces (ENDF), the Tigrayan general Seare Mekonnen Yimer, has pensioned off thirteen generals from the TPLF.

 In late May, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali set up a committee to restructure the ENDF and appointed as the head of this body his Amharan deputy prime minister, Demeke Mekonnen. The conclusions of this committee have not been divulged, but the prime minister indicated in the course of a meeting that the reforms would focus on professionalising the army, reducing the number of generals (starting with those deemed to be corrupt), and rebalancing the high command so that its composition reflects the ethnic diversity of Ethiopia. The generals who have been put out to grass include the head of the infrastructure and defence construction division, Major General Berhane Negash, known as Wedi Medhin, the commander of the defence college, Major General Halefom Ejigu, the head of defence logistics, Major General Mulu Girmay Gebrehiwot, the former head of army intelligence, Major General Gebre Dilla, and his successor since February in this role, Major General Atakleti Berhe Gebremariam. In addition to the former chief of staff General Mohamed Nur Yunus, better known as Samora, the total number of Tigrayan generals pensioned off stands at fifteen. Two other officers, Lieutenant General Abraham  Woldemariam Genzebu, the head of the infrastructure division who was formerly in charge of operations and is best known as the long-standing commander of the Eastern Defence Command, and his successor in this latter post, Major General Masho Beyene Desta, were packed off into retirement in June. They had both been in Abiy Ahmed Ali’s sights for their suspected role in the deadly conflicts between Oromos and Somalis
Source : Africa Intelligence