24 November 2020

The Maikadra massacre - One of the darkest days in Ethiopia

9th November 2020 was one of the darkest days in the history of Ethiopia. A day when TPLF forces killed hundreds of Ethiopians, who are mostly of Amhara and Wolkait origin, according to eyewitness that gave testimony to Amnesty International and now to the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission.

November 9 brought to light how cruel and merciless TPLF forces are. The cruelty of TPLF is not new for Ethiopians as it has been inflicting atrocities on Ethiopians across the country for over 40 years.  But to go that low even at its eleventh hour shows TPLF is never ready to repent and that it will do everything possible to keep creating havoc in the country. Even though TPLF is at its demise and almost ready for burial, it may continue inflicting pain.

According to the preliminary findings of the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, ‘On November 9, 2020, the day of the attack, from around 11:00 AM onwards, the town police started checking identity cards to differentiate people of non-Tigray origin from the rest and raided all the houses/huts, stretching from the neighbourhood known as “Genb Sefer” up to the area called Wolkait Bole (Kebele 1 Ketena 1) which is largely resided by ethnic Amharas. They detained up to 60 people they profiled as Amhara and Wolkait and who were said to use Sudanese SIM cards on their mobile phones and destroyed said SIM cards. Ethiopian SIM cards had already stopped working by then and the motive for confiscating and destroying the Sudanese SIM cards was to prevent any communications or call for help during the attack, according to testimony of the people in the area. Women and children of Tigrayan ethnic origin were made to leave the town a few hours ahead of the attack. On the same day (November 9th , 2020), around 3:00 P.M., the local police, militia and the informal Tigray youth group called “Samri” returned to “Genb Sefer” where the majority of people of Amhara ethnic origin live and began the attack against civilians. According to eyewitnesses and families of victims who spoke with EHRC, the first act committed by the perpetrators was to execute an ethnic Amhara former soldier called Abiy Tsegaye in front of his family and outside his house and set the house on fire. Afterwards, they threw his body into the fire. Residents said Abiy Tsegaye was a former soldier and militia member who had declined a request to re-join the militia as tensions began to rise. They surmise that this might be why he was targeted. The victim’s wife and eyewitnesses have given a detailed account of how the group of perpetrators forced Abiy Tsegaye out of his house and had him shot in front of his family by a local militia and former colleague called Shambel Kahsay, before throwing his body into the raging fire that engulfed their house. The EHRC team also visited said house, still smouldering, and the area around it, still heavy with burned body smoke.’

Full report of The Human Right Commission below 

9 November 2020

Yohannes Abraham – Ethiopian American leading the day-to-day operations of Joe Biden’s transition team


As Joe Biden is on course to take oath of the US presidency, his transition team has been preparing so as to ensure continuity of government as soon as the president takes power in January 2021. The team will have a series of preparations to have as Joe Biden will take over amid the coronavirus pandemic, the economic challenges and other extremely important stuff that need attention.

One of Joe Biden’s transition team members is Yohannes Abraham, who is leading the day-to-day operation of the transition team and who also served in Barack Obama’s White House for 8 years.

Abraham is one of the Obama lifers who were totally committed to getting things done during the tenure of the former president. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times Valerie Jarrett, one of the most senior advisors of president Obama said, “Abraham was illustrative of many of the early staff, passionate, hard-working, without ego or agenda, determined to help recapture the true honour of public service.”

Abraham’s bond with Obama continued when the president left White House as Abraham served as Senior Advisor at the Obama Foundation, helping to set up the foundation and subsequently as the interim Chief Operating Officer of the foundation. The Ethiopian American who spent 8 years in White House West Wing has a very important role to play as he leads the daily operation of Biden’s transition team.

Abraham a son of Ethiopian immigrants, who was born and raised in Springfield, Virginia is a graduate of Yale College and has been the Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School.

As Joe Biden said in his victory speech, “America is a country of possibilities”. All that matters is the strive for success and the readiness to go extra miles. Abraham has all it takes.

Ethiopia will be proud of Abraham’s success. It’s more than important to have such an influential White House staffer linked to Ethiopia, the cradle of mankind which is on course to finalising its most important project – The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, the building of which was threatened by the outgoing president. The future is promising.

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