METEMA, Northwestern Ethiopia – A business district in this town on the border with neighboring Sudan was burned down on April 28, rebels said on Sunday.
Over 60 units in the business quarter of the town called Jinghera were sent up in smoke as they were housing security agents of the ruling TPLF regime, rebels of the Ethiopian Unity and Freedom Force (EUFF) told Ethiomedia on Sunday.
Metema has been a transit point for those who import and export – legally or illegally – items into Sudan and Ethiopia.
Earlier in April, the rebels had set fire to Khartoum Hotel in Metema, claiming it was owned by a ruling party official. In June 2011, EUFF had decimated about a dozen stores owned by ruling party officials.
On April 9, EUFF forces opened fire on Sudanese Al-Qadarif governor, Karam Allah Abbas, who had tried to stop an Ethiopian farmer from working on a farm the Sudanese official thought was a Sudanese territory.
Karam Allah Abbas protested to Ethiopian officials whom he was to meet across the border in the Amhara region.
The Meles regime, which is resented by the Ethiopian people for selling off fertile lands to Sudan as well as many other governments and multinational corporations, blamed EUFF rebels as Eritrean-backed shiftas.
In a recent interview with Bloomberg’s William Davison, Ethiopia’s second-in-command Bereket Simon confirmed the news report that those who had fired on the Sudanese governor were rebels assisted by neighboring Eritrea.
Many believe EUFF is a politically conscious, self-reliant patriotic group that operates 100% in Ethiopia, scoffing at those who seek shelter in Eritrea.