On February 20, 2021, the head of the Justice Bureau, Mr. Abera Niguse, spoke with Mekelle local FM 104.04 to give an update on the current situation of Tigray and his earlier meeting with the Federal government of Ethiopia.
According to Mr. Abera Niguse, factories in central and eastern Tigray, notably those owned by EFFORT, were completely destroyed and out of service. By the interim regional government estimation, to replace and reestablish these factories would at least require 100 billion Birr.
EFFORT is a conglomerate of business factories mainly based in the Tigray Region owned by the regional government of Tigray. It is by far the number one organization that provides job opportunities to thousands of Tigrayans. Some of the factories destroyed due to the war on Tigray by either Eritrean troops or other Ethiopian allied forces are Almeda Textile/Garment, Sheba Leather, Addis Pharmaceuticals, and Sur Construction owned by the regional government of Tigray.
Mr. Abera Nugse wondered what kind of law enforcement operation constitutes this level of destruction and loss. He added “This is not about getting rid of TPLF or capturing some clique. This war had no discipline. It has created insurmountable social and economical issues for the foreseeable future for the people of Tigray. It has caused serious insecurity in the region. Tigrayans are abused and suffering. Churches are burning. Women and young girls are being raped. Improper house checks and raids. All types of machinery, cars and many other properties of Tigray have been looted and taken out of the country’s border, some are taken to central Ethiopia”.
For the whole exchange between Mr Abera and the host, translation is provided below.
Host: It is well known that grave destruction and loss have occurred due to the war on Tigray. Damages of factories managed by EFFORT(Endowment Fund for the Rehabilitation of Tigray) in Central and Eastern Tigray are estimated at around 11.6 billion birr [initial investment capital], says Mr. Abera Niguse, head of Bureau of Justice Tigray Interim regional administration.
Mr Abera Niguse: One of the main agendas the interim administration took to Abiy Ahmed is the destruction that has been inflicted on Tigray following the war. We argued that the destruction and damage that occurred are completely out of the scope of getting rid of TPLF. The level of loss is way beyond law enforcement operation. To showcase that, we presented EFFORT factories at central and eastern Tigray estimated at 11.6 billion birr that was destroyed. These factories with proper appreciation would be valued at 100 billion birr right now.
Host: According to Mr. Abera, to reestablish these factories, would require at least 100 billion birr. He also said this war has led to great suffering and mistreatment of the people of Tigray with insurmountable social and economical issues.
Mr Abera Niguse: If we were to replace and reestablish these factories, it would require 100 billion birr. That’s where it stands in terms of materials.
In Tigray, many women and young girls were raped. Lots of churches are burned. Lots of private properties are looted. Many are displaced from their homes. So, we discussed the social and economical chaos that came about due to this war. Even though the initial claim of this war was a law enforcement operation, its implementation was without any discipline and it put the whole people of Tigray in grave danger to their lives, mistreatment, and suffering. Its effects will last for many years to come.
Host: And due to all of these it has created insecurity in the region says Mr. Abera.
Mr Abera Niguse: So, this war was badly executed, it had no discipline. Now the region is unsafe and insecure. Improper house checks and raids, properties of Tigray are looted out of the country’s border, some are taken to central Ethiopia.
Host: Mr. Abera said riches and properties of Tigray are taken out of the country and some are in central Ethiopia. In Addition, “We have requested how the federal government is planning to return these properties and we even asked if they are aware of the situation. And based on that, some 36 cars of EFFORT are returned to Tigray.”, he says.
Mr Abera Niguse: We have raised questions to the federal government on how they can help to return these looted properties, what their stance is in this regard, and if they are even aware of the situation. The Federal government has given an order to return machines, cars, and other properties that were taken to central Ethiopia. And because of that, around 36 cars of EFFORT were returned to the region.
Host: And because of these, members of the interim administration are bringing these issues openly to the federal government and discussing them honestly. And they have made it clear that any political negotiation that leaves Tigrayans behind is not deserving of the people.
An audio is below.