By Daniel Tesfay, Melbourne
It is obvious now that there is political turmoil unfolding in Sudan. The quick question, among other ones, of course, is that how will the Eritrean, Ethiopian and Amhara forces use this situation in Sudan to dehumanize Tigrayans, Qumant and Benishangul Gumuz refugees. If the past is anything to go by, the following can be predicted depending on the position and alliance of whoever will retain the upper hand on Sudan politics:
- It is to be remembered, with the collaboration and facilitation of the Ethiopian government, the Eritrean government invaded the Eritrean refugee camps in Tigray in the course of the genocidal war on Tigray by both forces. The Eritrean government, then, killed them and have taken back to Eritrea whomever he wanted among those refugees. A similar situation will likely happen if the fragile Sudan’s situation becomes permissible and its authorities are willing to collaborate with Isayas for some security exchanges; because Eritrea can support Beja rebellion against Khartoum making Sudan economically ungovernable – if Khartoum is not collaborative to Eritrean and Ethiopian demands.
- It is to be recalled the Ethiopian government through its ambassador in Khartoum who is from Amhara and foreign ministry led by Mr Demeke Mekonen from Amhara Prosperity Party were everywhere to take the Tigray refugees back to western Tigray, subject them to ethnic cleansing and push those who make it to the interior of Tigray to ensure that there cannot be Tigrayan resettlement in Western Tigray. The other motive was these refugees were telling their harrowing stories on them by Amhara, Eritrean and Ethiopian forces – so the refugees must be denied media opportunity according to the Ethiopian foreign ministry and PM. Now, the political change in Sudan, resultant law and order gap that might be created in the process of the current situation, there might be ample opportunity to fish the refugees from Tigray and Quemant back into Ethiopia and eliminate them on various pretexts – as it is in the DNA of Ethiopian government. They can fabricate stories and convince their ever-gullible public about successfully capturing ‘junta’ and so on.
- Quemant Refugees too, will be in extreme danger and very vulnerable if a vacuum in law and order is created in Sudan. Ethiopian and Eritrean governments can corrupt some lower-level Sudanese officials as well and sneak into refugee camps, kill or take youth from those refugee camps in Sudan.
- When all these happen, refugees will attempt to run away to Libya and other places and human traffickers will prey on some of them because any Tigrayan refugee for example cannot imagine herself falling into the hands of Eritrean, Ethiopian or Amhara forces now. What is happening in Ethiopia on Tigrayans under various ploy is genocide in all its characteristics and intent. What happened and is happening on Tigrayans in Western Tigray, while the Amhara elite complains about TDF’s entry into Amhara is paradoxical; but that is how the argument and actions are in Ethiopia concerning Tigrayans – full of hypocrisy. These Tigrayan refugees can be in a very dangerous situation.
- Nobody is sure of how the new emerging powers in Sudan will want to associate themselves with the Eritrean and Ethiopian governments. It also might depend on which world powers will take Sudan’s power holders to its fold. If China, Russia, Turkey and UAE or those supporting Abiy and Isayas sway them, the fate of refugees in Sudan will be dire. Their issue will not be a big issue, meaning the Amhara, Eritrean and Abiy forces can do whatever to the refugees with impunity.
Therefore, it is URGENT; the UN bodies must do precautionary steps in the protection of refugees. At least the world should be able to protect these refugees by dialoguing with whoever is in power in Sudan. It is obvious that the international community could not save Tigrayans in Ethiopia but I hope it will both be CONCERNED and ACT to safeguard Tigrayan, Quemant, Benishangul and also Eritrean Refugees in Sudan. The level of cruelty by Isayas, Abiy and Amhara forces is extraordinary. Therefore, UN bodies, the EU, and the US could start in helping the responsible situation in Sudan with regard to refugee safety.