If you frequent news outlets these days, there is a high probability of stumbling on negative, sloppy news reporting and analysis that portray the Eritrean Defense Forces (EDF) in the most deprecating and acrimonious light. No doubts several media outlets are guilty of such misinformation.
The Eritrean and Ethiopian soldiers are depicted, in these awful accounts, as “marauding hordes that kill and rape civilians indiscriminately at will, with no moral pangs or accountability”.
Some of the offensive articles go further to insinuate that the alleged horrendous crimes are, in fact, perpetrated with “express policy directives” from higher echelons in the army.
An article published on March 21 on a British daily newspaper, the Daily Telegraph, recounts about horrid “gang rapes” something unheard of in the region. The article was framed by an obscure journalists, a certain Lucy Kassa and Anna Pujol-Mazzini – gullibly quote “victims/witnesses” who claim that the revolting acts were committed by Eritrean soldiers wickedly and willfully so as “to infect victims with HIV”.Baseless as it may be, it is clear that the Daily Telegraph published mendacious and evidently planted “testimonies” without minimal verification of claims is appalling and inexcusable.
Unfortunately, the New York Times carries a similar article. However, it should be noted that Eritrean soldiers cannot be on “a mission” ghastly as it is to spread HIV infections through unbridled sexual interactions with “their victims” in Tigray when the prevalence of this contagious disease which is above 4% in Tigray is literally 20 times higher than Eritrea’s regionally lowest rate of around 0.2%. Another absurd allegation peddled in the past weeks include “shoot-to-kill policy to exterminate the youth in Tigray”.The articles was published by an obscure online blog by Martin Plaut and the Brussels- based and EU-funded EEPA Update, by Mirjam V. Reisen. (It is worth noting that these individuals have regularly called for violence and regime change targeting Eritrea.The above narratives demonstrates the gratuitous denigration campaign unleashed against the EDF. But why the campaign in the first place? Could this be a sheer manifestation of visceral western media bias against, and stereotypes of, military establishments in Africa?
All these dimensions and facets of the affair must be monitored and dissected closely in order to decipher the ultimate game plan. Several questions seeking answers, however, Africans by now should know the bias role played by the western media with the aim to cause division and incite violence among Africans. It will interest you to know that the EDF has maintained a good track record in the last 60years since the launching of the armed struggle in 1961 when all peaceful diplomatic and political avenues conducted in the preceding 20 years to assert Eritrea’s inalienable national and decolonization rights were flagrantly trampled upon.
Due to external exigencies rather than policy choices, Eritrea has been enveloped by prolonged wars that have exacted huge sacrifices from its people in the past 60 years. The Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF) the principal fighting force that enjoyed the overwhelming support of the Eritrean people was a highly organized, efficient and effective movement that earned hard-won respect and accolades from prominent historians over the years.The main roles of the army in Eritrea has been the defense from external aggressors, border security, and developing national cohesion. It should be clear to any reasonable, objective, observer that the sordid allegations that continue to be peddled about Eritrea are preposterous and utterly false.
In otherwards, they are simply part of a frantic, last-ditch, propaganda campaign by the TPLF and its enablers to obscure the TPLF’s high crimes and culpability in instigating the conflict; and, to scapegoat Eritrean and Ethiopian governments while extending support, and ultimately provide a lifeline, to whatever remains of the largely defunct TPLF Clique.