PROF. Berhanu Nega, leader of Patriotic Arbegnoch Ginbot 7 (AGUDM), on Saturday bid farewell to his career as an economics professor here in America to lead a struggle in Africa against the despotic regime in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Prof. Berhanu and other senior leaders of the Movement arrived in the Eritrean capital of Asmara on Saturday, according to ESAT, which also released a picture of the leader being welcomed by uniformed combatants of his organization.
News of Berhanu’s life being turned into a freedom fighter came as a surprise for many, because they never thought the Bucknell University professor would give up his life to enter the harsh world of armed insurrection on an African soil.
“The level of the struggle has reached such a point that leaders of Patriotic Ginbot 7 should join the fighters on ground and lead the fight to victory,” a press release said.
Ethiopia has been in the hand of the ruling EPRDF regime since 1991, and all hopes for a peaceful transition of power through election were dashed recently when the ruling party claimed a never-heard-of 100% victory.
The act was quickly described by critics as the last nail on the coffin of a non-violent form of struggle in Ethiopia.
“EPRDF’s audacity to claim to have won the election 100% makes the political environment conducive to an armed uprising,” one political analyst who sought anonymity told Ethiomedia by phone.
Whether by coincidence of careful planning, Arbegnoch Ginbot 7 launched armed operations about two weeks ago in northern Ethiopia.
Ethiopia and Eritrea are technically been at war ever since Ethiopia abrogated the “Final and Binding” International border ruling. The sudden accusation by Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn that Eritrea was once again in the business of destabilizing the region was a clear indication that Arbegnoch Ginbot 7 armed engagements were unsettling the government in Addis.
Even if Eritrea bears the image of an enemy state [in the eyes of many Ethiopians] because of the 1998-2000 border war, the news that Ethiopian rebels led by Berhanu Nega were gaining ground in northern Ethiopia would inspire multitudes of Ethiopia’s unemployed and disfranchised youth to join the ranks of the rebels.