Dr Aregawi Berhe Says He Was Attacked and Detained in Mekelle
July 2, 2019 (Ezega.com) -- The leader of Tigray Democratic Coalition Party (TAND), Dr. Aregawi Berhe, was attacked in Mekelle last week at the funeral of General Seare Mekonnen and General Gezae Aberra. According to a press statement Dr. Aregawi Berhe gave in Addis Ababa, he said he had to cut short his trip due fear of mob violence. He was later detained by local police and spent one night at Quwiha police station. Further, according to Dr. Aregawi, one member of TAND leadership, who came to see him, was severely attacked and poisoned by regional security forces and is recovering in Mekelle hospital.
The trouble started at the Tigrayan martyrs monument when his group was subjected to verbal attacks by some youth. The attack soon progressed into stone throwing by the same youth and others. His party was not injured, Dr. Aregawi said, as Mekelle police was in between the mob and his group, protecting them. However, several police officers were injured while protecting them, he said.
What followed next was truly shameful, according to Dr. Aregawi Berhe. Once it became clear that their safety was threatened, Dr. Aregawi and his group decided to return to Addis Ababa. They were escorted out of the venue and taken into a local police station near Axum Hotel. While there, Dr. Aregawi said he made arrangements to fly back to Addis Ababa. About two hours from departure time, his group was escorted by police to Mekelle Alula Aba Nega Airport. Instead of going to the airport, however, the police passed the airport and proceeded to Quwiha, a small town near Mekelle. When Dr. Aregawi asked where they were going, he was told Quwiha. "I then knew what was happening and made a few calls," said Dr. Aregawi Berhe. Soon after, my cell phone was taken. I then ended up in a prison cell in Quwiha that had one mattress and a chair.
A local member of TAND leadership named Ato Ammanuel, who came to check the whereabouts of Dr. Aregawi Berhe, was also attacked, Dr. Aregawi Berhe said. According to him, Ammanuel was severely beaten and thrown to the ground. Further, he was forced to drink what he described as "poison." However, Ammanuel threw out much of the "poison" and did not swallow most of it. But because of some that went through his body, he vomited blood on the spot, Dr. Aregawi said. Ammanuel is now in a hospital recuperating from injury, according to his press briefings.
Dr. Aregawi Berhe condemned the attack and harassment. He said this is shameful and contrary to Tigrayan and Ethiopian tradition and values. He also asked the media and the Tigrayan and Ethiopian community to condemn the attack as well.
If what Dr. Aregawi Berhe is describing is true, such lawlessness in Mekelle city is truly bizarre and sad, fitting of gangsters and warlords, and not that of a regional government of Ethiopia.
You can watch the entire press statement by Dr. Aregawi Berhe here on Ezega Videos.