An episode of TPLF-Khartoum regime-sponsored terrorism: Despair and frustration behind terrorists’ criminal acts on behalf of others : Part I
By: Eritrea Profile
July 8, 2004

The TPLF regime’s security forces masterminded through collaboration with the Khartoum regime the launching of a terrorist attack which it called the “Operation of the Day of Sadness”. This came as an evil attempt to transform the 13th Independence Day Anniversary celebration to moments of tragic suffering. However, the occasion was observed with great patriotic zeal on the part of our popular masses and with all the honor and appreciation of the sacrifices of our national struggle martyrs. It is to be stressed here that some terrorist elements infiltrated to Eritrea from Sudan to carry out subversive operations at various places were arrested while others were captured by the Eritrean Defense Forces and the security organs.

Following we present excerpts from the interview made with one of these captured terrorists who were sent to Eritrea by the security forces of both Khartoum and the TPLF regimes to carry out acts of sabotage during our people’s celebrations of the Independence Day when big gatherings were observing the national occasion. The instructions given to this terrorist by his sponsors and instigators were: “the fundamental purpose is to inflict heavy causalities and damage on the innocent gatherings of civilians.” Such orientation, no doubt, demonstrates the worst type of terrorism, a devilish act that reveals the inhumane character of terrorists and their instigators and financers.

This was one of the characteristics of the terrorist attack planned and masterminded by the TPLF regime against Eritrea. Also it is an evidence that the resources allocated by the international alliance for combating terrorism for those which it considered as partners in fighting terrorists like the TPLF regime are exploiting those same resources for expanding the scope of terrorist operations!

By all measures terrorism is an indication of weakness and despair especially the terrorist operations which the Khartoum and the TPLF regimes waged by their agents against Eritrea after the TPLF open invasion was utterly crushed. Actually, those who lost confidence become desperate and accordingly resort to terrorist operations.

In this context, one of the facts which these regimes seem not to comprehend is that the Eritrean people and their government has proved always capable to defeat and crush their enemies whether they come as terrorists or invaders.

Sidigh Mohammed Khalifa Story

This terrorist was born in Kassala in Al-Sawagi Al-Janoubia-Al-Sabil, Sudan in 1983. He is of Eritrean decent. He was grown up with his family in Sudan. He left school after finishing the 7th grade in Al-Houria Elementary School in Kassala. He said he abandoned school in 1997 to start working to help his parents. He said he worked as a farm laborer in Al-Sawagi “small agricultural projects” for growing fruits, vegetables etc.. until 2002. His father, he said has cattle and sheep herd and had no other source of income. Because of his old age, he explained, he can not do any other work, and he totally depends on that herd. He says: “ my father entered Sudan in the first wave of migration. He had earlier in 1950 visited Sudan. He worked there and got married to a woman. After her death he married my mother, Halima Fayed Ali in Eritrea. In the nineteen eighties of last century he entered Kassala with her as refugees. The eldest of my brothers is called Khamis, followed by Adam who is now working in the Eritrean Defence Forces. Adam is married and has got children who live in Fanko. My brother Ibrahim who is currently living in Telatasher (western Eritrea) is working in agriculture. He is not married until now. Then there is my brother Jimai who works as a mechanic in Tessenei. He carries also a Sudanese identity card in the name of Adam because he had been living in Sudan as well as a Sudanese nationality document and a Sudanese driving license. He returned to Eritrea since 1998. Since his entering Eritrea he started working as an assistant to drivers in Sudanese lorries which move with goods between Sudan and Eritrea. At present he is working in a garage for cars repair in Tessenei. He is known by the name Jimai despite the fact that his name in the ID and document papers is Adam. I was born after Jimai. Then came my brother Abdalla who is deaf and dumb. I have four sisters. In May 2000 I entered Eritrea with the returnee refugees through Alafa the Sudanese checkpoint where I visited some relatives of mine at Telatasher, the Eritrean checkpoint. I stayed there for 4 days and after visiting some of myfamily members in Eritrea I returned to the Sudan. In June 2001 I returned to Eritrea again through Alafa. I did not have an Eritrean ID because I was under eighteen then. I only showed them at the border checkpoint my refugee ID which I managed to get at Kassala. During my second visit I visited my brother Jimai at Tessenie. I stayed for some period with him helping him in the garage and as an errand boy bringing for him his work requirements. I stayed there for about 2 months. I told him later that I wanted to travel to Kassala to work there in the season of autumn in Assawagi. I had intermittent visits to my brother Jimai in Tessenei. I continued working in the Assawagi until the end of 2002. I had a meager income from this work. On the Eid (religious festival) occasion I went there with my brother Jimai to Kassala for spending the Eid vacation there. There we visited one of our relatives called Mohammed Idris Shengheb who lives in Hilet-Ghasab in Kassala. He works in a pharmacy in shaebia block 22. It is a medical dispensary, affiliated to Al-Ihsan charitable society. We stayed with this relative for a whole day. He asked us about our living conditions and whether we were satisfied with our daily work. On our part we gave him a full idea about our conditions and hard life. He promised us to search for us a better work and bigger income in order to be able to save some money for the future. He assured us that the work he was going to find for us require secrecy and to be extremely loyal. At that moment he did not explain to us the nature of this work. He only stressed that it needed keeping secrets. After this talk with him we started visiting him often. I started asking him about the nature of the work. He repeated the same requirements. I used to visit him at his work place and at home. Jimai was not with me during those visits as he returned to Tessenei and I stayed at Kassala.

I have some relation from my mother’s side with this Shengheb. He is like an uncle for me. Accordingly I used to visit him often. And I was keen to know the nature of the work. At last he explained and organized a meeting through a personality in Al-Jihad movement telling us that we have to carry out all instructions precisely. He said that they would be proud if we carry out our work and tasks successfully. I had a meeting through Shengheb with Alamin known by a nickname called Abou -Anass who is dark in complexion with bushy beard. I think he is one of these people living in Kassala. I met him in the pharmacy where Shengheb works. I was introduced to him and we agreed to meet at Al-Weghaya Mosque near the old eastern cinema of Kassala after the evening prayer outside the Mosque. We went together to his house nearby the mosque. It is an ordinary house there was no family living there. We sat at the saloon.

The first task he assigned me was to collect information about Eritrea. The nature of that information was general from the townships of Tessenie and Goluge, the general situation and the government situation, people’s condition etc... He asked me to collect information from those who repeatedly go on visits between Eritrea and Sudan. He warned us not to leak secrets. He asked us to take oath on the Holy Koran. And we did so after washing for prayer. He asked me to go to Eritrea under the pretext of looking for work. But my mission fundamentally was to collect information. I arrived at Tessenei, and I was supposed to monitor the Tessenei road and collect information through my brother Jimai who was residing there. My mission also was to collect information about government administrations and institutions, the movements of the army, the guarding system and inspection at checkpoints. Before leaving for discharging my duties Abou-Anass gave me 100,000 Sudanese pounds.

In answering the question when he entered Eritrea after he received the money, he answered saying: “In the first trip I entered like any other citizen I got the travel document this was at the end of December and at the beginning of January 2002. After arriving at Tessenei I met my brother Jimai and I told him of the information, instructions and regulations. He took the oath after washing for prayer. I informed him on the system of work and the task assigned to us answering in this respect his questions. I told him I met Abou-Anass and received from him the information and instructions. We then agreed to divide the tasks. Jimai’s task was to collect information from inside Eritrea, and mine was to transfer the information back to Kassala as well monitoring the situation on Tessenei-Kassala road.

The first phase of this information collection took about a week and then I returned to Sudan. The information that we collected was about the movement of the army especially in the direction of Goluge. I returned to Sudan illegally without passing through checkpoints. It took us actually one week to do that task because my brother Jimai knows a lot of people and officials who used to come for their car repair at the garage. This made it easy for him to collect information.

I gave the report on this information directly after my returning to Kassala to Abou-Anass whom I contacted through his mobile telephone No 012341938. I told him that I was back from Eritrea, and he asked me to meet him at his old house after the evening prayers. After providing him with the new information we collected, he gave me 50,000 Sudanese pounds, and we agreed on another appointment after two days. I went to my family in Al-Sawagi in Kassala. Next day Abou-Anass expressed his pleasure, and assigned me an additional task i.e. collecting information about the state’s officials daily routine and leisure time, and the places which they frequent. He assigned us to spread rumors and lies about officials escaping from the country, and saying that a person had been imprisoned and an official had been sucked from his position etc.. He gave me a sum of 200,000 Sudanese Pounds for the expenses. This time I entered Eritrea through Girmaika after getting a pass document for the purpose.

On arriving at Tessenei I met my brother Jimai, and I briefed him on the new and old instructions. Regarding the rumors which I started spreading like the escape of officials, that the government is on the verge of collapse and alleging that the prisons are full of detainees and that the country is suffering of a great famine, and the army members are taking refugee to neighboring countries. Then I started looking for information about the government officials, their names and administrative positions.

We used to spread these kinds of rumors in the places frequented by agricultural workers, like Wedi Leghese’s Agricultural Project, the sport and social clubs inside the city and mourning households and wedding ceremonies houses. We collected information about Commander Osman Abu Tewila regarding his movements, the time of his getting out of his house and his guards Abdu Osman and Jemal who works in the police force as well as the places which they frequent in the town.

I returned to Kassala after a week without a pass through the area of Telatasher , because I preferred to move around like an ordinary citizen residing inside the country and working in Sawagi. My purpose was to camouflage my frequent and continuous movement between Kassala and Tessenei.

I met Abou-Anass through contacting him at his old house and I provided him with the new information. He asked me about the situation on the road and the system of guarding, patrols and inspection along it. I told him that there was not inspection regarding the traveler’s luggage and the concentration is only on checking the IDs and travel documents. He told me to meet him after two days, and he gave me 50,000 Sudanese Pounds. I went to meet my people at Sawagi, Kassala.

I used to meet Mohammed Idris Shengheb now and then. We were told not to let him know about the information which I collected and the nature of my work. After two days I met Abou-Anass again, and he gave me instructions to work for getting an Eritrean ID for facilitating my moves in going and coming back between Eritrea and Sudan. He asked me to have a pass with my address in Kassala. I tried to obtain the ID, and I received the money for that purpose i.e. 500,000 Sudanese Pounds as well as for my moves expenses. I reached Tessenei and I tried to start the procedure for getting the ID. I went to the quarter’s administration accompanied by three witnesses. There they told me that giving ID’s for people living in Sudan was stopped for the moment. I was directed to go to the area of the father and grandfather birthplace. Accordingly I went to Barentu in the company of my aunt to the towns of administration. They asked me to bring my father’s ID, and the certificate proving my residence in Sudan. I came to realize that obtaining an ID was impossible for me, and I gave up the idea. I returned to Tessenei and I met my brother there. I informed him about the difficulty of obtaining the ID and that we had our main task to do i.e. collecting the required information. We came to know that the army stationed at Tessenei is assigned to guard and protect government warehouses, the electricity corporation and the headquarters of the security in town. Then I headed towards the border area, and I came to know that the army was in a continuous move in the region. Then I returned to Kassala.

On being back I met with Abou-Anass on the second day after taking rest. I provided him with all the information we collected, and he told me to go home and rest for a while. He asked me to keep contact to know the news. This took about a month and a half. I contacted him in May 2003, and he told me to tell my brother Jimai to come, and accordingly I went to Tessenei to tell him about this. Both of us went to Kassala though the area of Telatasher without a pass. I contacted Abou-Anass telling him that Jimai had come. He told me we had to meet him after the evening prayer at Al-Wakaya Mosque at the end of the prayer. He told us to walk behind him until the Halanga bus stop where we took the bus till we reached Al-Amarat quarter and descended there. He walked in front of us and we followed in the western direction of the quarter on the Gash River. After a short distance he came to a big door and he opened and we entered behind him. There is a big yard in the house. He put some chairs and we sat drinking some fruit juices. After a while he told us that an important personality was going to meet you.

The important official whose name was Osman came and Abou-Anass stood up to meet him. We were scared, we stood up also. He greeted us and we sat down with Osman. He is a short man and dark in complexion with a long beard, I had never seen him in town or at the market place. There was no family in house which we entered. After Abou-Anass introduced to us to him saying that these were the people of Mohammed Idris Shengheb, they are good active boys and I brought them to meet you in order to assess them by yourself. Osman greeted us again and welcomed us warmly. He asked Jimai about Tessenei and whether he knew it thoroughly well. He asked him whether he was married. Jimai told him about Tessenei and the situation in general. He asked me about the situation between Kassala and Tessenei. Then Osman said that the task you entered was a very big task, and if you succeeded your conditions were going to improve considerably. He told us we would obtain big sums of money, and we would say goodbye to poverty. He stressed that our work needed total secrecy and that as we were young boys he would tell us to go to kill this person or that, and that our mission would be to take things inside Eritrea. These things he told us were light weapons, which we should transport to Eritrea.