Testimony: The Execution of Mogos Gebreselase

By Anon (submitted by Elsa Chyrum) - Feb 24, 2006   


The history of Eritrea?s youth is a story of humiliation, exile, detention and death.  Thus, when it comes to youth, it is hard to expect any good news.  It has been over ten years since Eritrean parents have been shedding tears in Eritrea?a nation which could win a Nobel prize, a marathon and an Oscar for its human rights abuses.  Thanks to the government of Eritrea, there is an abundance of sadness, hunger and bareness and too little of peace and tranquillity.  The Eritrean people know that the blood of Eritrea?s youth is as cheap as that of dogs, shed everywhere.  Todate, there has been no restraint on the dying and jailing of the youth and, consequently, the youth are abandoning their country and families and flowing to exile.       


The story of Mogos Gebreselase is part and parcel of this history.  I met Mogos in October 1998 in the hamlet of Elala, around Shambeko.  While serving the nation in our units, I came to learn that he was born and raised in Asmara. Due to his intense patriotism, he had enlisted in the armed struggle in 1990.  An astute and conscientious person, he was not one to utter, ?yes, ok? indisicriminately.


Mogos Gebreselase was a tireless and principled person who respected military rules and discipline. But because he was an ethical person, he could not get along with his superiors. This is not surprising: a sharp and astute person like him could not tolerate the debauchery of those in charge.  In 2001, anonymous members of the army sent a letter that exposed the corruption of those in charge to the Defense Ministry ([known as] Beleza.) Instead of trying to investigate the veracity of the claims against the accused, Major Afwerki Habtegiorgis (?Ababu?), the major?s friends within the Defense Minstry sent back the letter to the major advising him to take caution. And the major initiated the process of sharpening his knife to slay his enemies. 


In an effort to save himself, a panicked Major Afwerki began the process of identifying those he considered his enemies.  He called on all the soldiers in his charge to submit to handwriting investigation.  In the end, Mogos Gebreselase and seven other members of our division were detained.  No one in the rank and file knew about this, but Mogos and the others were sent to detention.


Mogos and the other seven individuals were sent for so-called rehabilitation to Adi Gawel. All in the army knew that Mogos?s fate could not be good.  This is because his superiors always looked at him with contempt.  Certainly, those of you reading this will be saddened by the arrest of Mogos and the other seven individuals.  But that?s not all.  What is truly saddening is that Mogos Gebreselasee, the innocent youth, was trapped by Major Afwerki and was killed by an execution squad.  Just like that: those in charge are warlords, killing and sparing people at a whim. 


Eritrea is losing many of her innocent children like Mogos. And the exploitation and aggression continues throughout all of Eritrea.  But tomorrow, they will tell a tale of how they [those they killed] were martyred heroically.  A  day will come when the story of all this aggression shall be told.  But people like Major Afwerki and the government which is using them to vanish the people cannot have a moment of rest.  [This is] because they are accountable for the blood of the innocent.


Elsa Chyrum is an Eritrean human rights activist.  The original article was written in Tigrigna and is published by Awate.  Translated to English by Awate staff