An episode of TPLF-Khartoum regime-sponsored terrorism:
Despair and frustration behind terrorists’ criminal acts on behalf of others:
By: Eritrea Profile
July 11, 2004
I left Abou-Anas’s car at Asabil, Kassala carrying with me the plastic gallon. I stayed in Kassala for two days then I took the explosives in a sack and the time device and left to Eritrea through Al-Alafa area. I took a car heading to Telatasher and Tessenei. I stayed for the night with my brother Jemal. In the morning I took the gallon with its explosives to our house and I briefed Jimai about all the details. I informed him that I will go to Barentu, then I went to the bus station and there I met an acquaintance named Idris Mentai who sells cigarettes and snuff (tombac) I went to his house and asked him to keep for me that gallon, and I went to my aunt’s house, and in the next day I took the gallon from the house of Idris Mentai after staying the whole day. I had never told him about the contents of the gallon. After two days of reaching Barentu I came to know the location of the quarter of the UN peacekeeping forces. On the day I fixed to carry out the operation I told Idris I will stay that day at the house at the pretext that my aunt’s house was far away from the market. I reached the park neighboring the quarter of the peacekeeping forces in the afternoon. I had some refreshments and food. When I went to Idris Mentai’s house I did not find him as usual. Then I completed the preparations for the criminal operation against the Jordanian contingent of the UN peacekeeping forces. I put the gallon with its pack near the generator and withdrew. I watched the situation from the public park. Then, I went to my aunt’s house. At 8:20 p.m. I heard the sound of a great explosion and I knew that the operation succeeded. On the next day I headed to Tessenei and met Jimai and told him about the success of the operation. Then I went to Kassala where I met Abou-Anass and then later I met Osman and Abrhaley and I told them about the success of the operation. They asked about the situation and told me to meet them after two days after contacting Abou-Anass. Abrhaley at the occasion expressed his pleasure and admiration. He told me that the international media reported the news of the explosion. I received the sum of two million Sudanese Pounds. They promised me more if I carried out similar operations. While going with Abou-Anass I asked him about the significance of targeting the UN peacekeeping forces whether Jordanian forces or others. He said that this was in the harmony with the designs and plans of Ethiopia which were aiming at getting these forces out of Eritrea under the pressure and pretext of the gravity of the situation, and that their life would be in danger if they stayed behind . He said that this will give Ethiopia the opportunity in carrying out its agenda to launch its occupation scheme.
Before I left him he asked me to meet him after two days, then I met him and he gave me the new program and that was to take landmines to Eritrea. He started making suggestions for ways, and which means was the better. At last it was decided to buy a donkey instead of a camel. He gave me a sum 170,000 Sudanese Pounds, and I bought a donkey and since February 2004 I started transporting the landmines brought to me by Osman and Abou-Anass in a Al-Sabil quarter in Kassala. The landmines were brought in a pick-up car. And I loaded them on the back of the donkey at intervals at the house. In the mourning I took the landmines on the donkey and headed to the Lafa-Sawagi(agricultural projects.) I passed through Arbatasher and entered Telatasher without passing through the checkpoint. On my way I met my brother Ibrahim who was working in one of those sawagi and I told him that I bought a donkey and that I was on my way to the gold mines area. On the road I also met a person of the Kunama nationality, called Hamid Ibrahim working in a sawagi place. I reached the bus station where I left the landmines covered with grass in a nearby corner. Then I went to an acquaintance residing in Telatasher, and I asked him to deliver the donkey to my brother Ibrahim. I quickly returned and I found the landmines in their place. I waited till the coming of the cars and buses. Without being interrupted I put the landmines in the car and I arrived at Tessenei where I descended at the vegetable market. I asked one of the boys with a cart pulled by a horse to carry my load of landmines covered by grass and took it to our house. Later I met Jimai and briefed him on the details. After burying the landmines, I returned to Kassala where I told Osman and Abou-Anass that the goods reached their destination. Osman congratulated me on the success of the operation. He asked me to inspect the place and study Shefrai hotel. He told me he had an idea that this hotel being frequented by important officials and asked me to collect more information about it and to know the time when these people come to the hotel. Jimai returned to Tessenei before me. His task was to search for a means of taking the landmines to the hotel. We came to know that Osman Abu Tawila and police officials and senior officers and those working in the immigration and other senior government officials come to this place where there is a television set.
After inspecting the hotel for a week I returned to Kassala and I met Abou-Anass and I told them about the situation and the possibility while carrying the gyps explosives. Then they ordered me to return to Tessenei with the gyps explosives. Osman at that moment told me to make the time difference between the explosion of each of the two bombs 10 minutes. I returned to Eritrea to carry out the operation after studying the operation for two days. I came to know about the presence of Osman Abu Tawila. On the day of carrying out the operation I agreed with Jimai to set the time device at Jimai’s workshop. We completed the details of the explosion operation. The first to go off at 9:00 p.m. and the other at 9:10 p.m. We arrived at the hotel from its backyard we entered the hotel and he had a refreshment drink at 8 p.m. Jimai went to the bicycle and brought the landmines and he put them under the neem tree. I put the explosive gyps in one of the places inside the hotel yard and I went out of the hotel. My self and Jimai had supper at one of the restaurants, and we returned to our house at 9 p.m. exactly we heard the sound of the first explosion while we were talking to some friends. All people around were scared and some of them said the explosion might be inside the market, we on our part said that these acts of sabotage were currently aggravating as if we did not know anything about it. The second explosion was greater than the first. We heard the moves of the ambulances that night. On the next day we heard about the damage inflicted on many innocent people in the area.
The aim of the bombing inside the hotel was to liquidate Osman Abu Tawila and the senior government officials. After four days I returned to Kassala where I met Abou-Anass and I told him about what happened, and he asked me to come the next day. At Al-Amin house I met Osman and Abou-Anass and they expressed their pleasure on the success of the operation. They lauded the killing of senior and government officials.
Earlier Abou Anass and group gave me a fatwa (religious opinion on certain matter) even if innocent people die as victims to the terrorist attack when your enemy hides himself among other persons these could perish also along with him.
After two days I met them for the second time and I received 1.5 million Sudanese Pounds from Osman. They asked me to come after two days. I met Abou-Anass and went together to Osman and Abrhaley at Halanga quarter. They said no operation would be carried out only during the Independence Day anniversary celebrations i.e. on 24 May 2004. The mission would be to carry explosive powder of high quality in preparation for the operation. Since that date of the meeting I started transporting the powder from Sudan to Eritrea. A quarter of a quintal of the powder was transported in three phases. At the beginning of May Jimai came to Kassala. I immediately contacted Abou-Anass and he asked us to come to meet them the next day. The whole group including Abrahaley were gathering at Abou-Anass house. Jimai presented a report on the situation in Eritrea. It was decided then that the most important operation we would carry on the 24th of May, Independence Day, the day of the popular masses joy. Our mission was to transform the occasion of Shaebia festivity and joy to a day of great sadness, and to make it a black Sunday.
This was what was said by Abrehaley in the presence of the group of Abou-Anass. Then he proceeded to explain the plan on carrying out the plan. It was as follows:
Jimai would carry out the operation at the city of Tessenei and I to carry it in Barentu. They instructed us that the terrorist operation would take place at the popular marches sites and the places of the people’s gathering in the presence of senior officials including the region’s administrator and in the presence of the UN peacekeeping forces. They gave us instructions about the explosives and the way they were to be set. Some of the explosives looked like pieces of soap while others like round batteries.
The numbers of the explosives that look like soap were three in number and those like batteries were about 21 pieces.
Next day I headed to Telatasher after telling my family that I was going to Barentu. They gave me some things to take our relatives there. On my way I met my brother Ibrahim, and in the afternoon I headed to Barentu telling him that I will be back to see him in June. When I arrived at Barentu I put all the luggage including the explosives at the house. I stayed with Jimai about a week and we agreed with him that he would carryout the operation in Tessenei before I carryout the Barentu operation. He gave me three hundred Nakfa for my travel to Barentu. Then he filled a five liter plastic container (gallon) with the explosive powder. I took the rest of the explosives and the timing device and I reached Barentu.
On reaching Barentu I went to the market place and asked about Idris Mentai. I had put the luggage with me. I met some friends who told me that Idris went to his house. I took a bicycle to say hello to my aunt, and left the explosive with a friend called Ismail. I met my aunt and I gave her the presents sent to her from our family in Kassala. I returned to the market place around 7:00 p.m. I asked Idris to take the plastic container to his house. I told him that I was feeling rather ill with tiredness stressing that I was not well and that I would go to a Sheik in Augaro for treatment. The Sheik’s name is Hamid Shekai I told him about my illness and that I was feeling fatigue, pain and nightmares during my sleep at night. He gave me some local medicines and higab(scroll with Quranic writings in it). He asked me to stay for the night with him. I rejected the offer but he insisted on my sleeping in his house. I returned to Barentu on 23 May, I observed that people were getting ready for the Independence Day celebrations.
I tried to put the bomb and the explosive on 24 May but I failed to do this because I came late after the march had passed. I had though that the marches will be during the evening period, but they were organized during the day. I came to know that there was a singing party during that same night. Then I went on 25 May to Idris and asked him to bring me the key of his house to go and rest there because I felt very fatigued. I went to the house and stayed all day there. I started preparing the explosives in the plastic container and I joined them with the timing device. After the evening prayer I took the container about 9 p.m. I headed to the celebration site from the backside of the place. I put the container in a place near the celebration site and the mosque. I told some of the friends I met and Idris that I was going to do some shopping at the nearby shop and that I would come back. Then at 11:00 p.m. I returned to where I put the container and fixed the time device to 12:00 midnight. Taking with me the container I headed to a place near the celebration site passing near the guards, and I put the container under one of the cars of one of the singer parties which was parked near the police station. There were many policemen near the car. I sat near the singer’s car and I put the container there. Then I went to see Idris and his group. I did not find them. I met one of acquaintance called Dawood and I asked him whether he had seen Idris. He did not give a clear answer. I had some refreshment drink, and I said goodbye to him and went to Idris house which I found it closed. I stayed that night near the closed door. Exactly at mid night I heard the sound of a great explosion. I also heard the screaming of people and the terror that they felt after the bomb blast. Idris was terribly scared and he came out of the house. I personally was extremely terrorized because of the blast. When he saw me he asked me about that explosion, and I told him that it was at the place of the celebration and the singing party. He said why were these terrible things happen in a place where people were gathering for rejoicing at their independence day. As to me I felt that there were innocent people when I observed the state of terror which appeared in the faces of many families running about and searching for their lost children. I felt sad and I had to bear the bitterness of the tragedy inside myself. In the next day I asked Idris not to get out of the house because the police might launch the operation of searching and looking for the culprits. After some moments I told him that I would go to my aunt’s house to know about her safety. I went to her house at 9:00 a.m. but I did not find her. Scenes of terror were everywhere in the faces of people I met.
In response to a question whether Idris Mentai had any knowledge of this act, he said: “Idris Mentai had no knowledge whatsoever about it because I did not tell him”. He did not expect that this act was deliberately done. He thought that an explosion had happened to the electric generator or something of similar nature. After the second operation I did not meet him. I came to know of the death of many children and women. I felt too sorry. After some hours my aunt came to the house, and she thanked God on my safety. She denounced the terrorist operation and failed grudged at the perpetrators. I felt guilty. After the noon prayer she asked me about the news of Tessenei I told her I had no information. At that moment I came to know from her that Jimai was hurt in an explosion. I felt that I will be discovered. My aunt asked me to accompany her to Tessenei, but I refused.
On the manner he was arrested, he said: “when my aunt told about that my brother was hurt in Tessenei, and told me that she had no food at the house I gave her 14Nakfas. She went to the market to buy some grain. At 1:00 p.m. two people arrived at the house and they asked me about my ID and whether I had some travel document. I showed them the ID. They asked me to go with them. We went on foot to the police station. On our way I met my aunt. I told them that she was my aunt. They told her that they were from the police and that there was no problem, and they asked one policeman to talk to her. We entered the police station.
They said to me inside in all the terrorist operation you carried out many innocent people had died plus great damage inflicted on innocent people, in Shifray hotel blast also many innocent people died, and in Barentu the same. You were witnessing and observing all this. Your aunt was running about looking for you not knowing that you were the culprit. Many of your friends and companions died. Those who ate bread with you, you let them all die in this place. What could you say about these terrible acts you had done? I said, “I could not have anything to say to these innocent people who died as a result of the terrorist acts I committed. What could I say.” They said to me what was your message to the persons who involved you in these criminal acts like your relative Shengheb who introduced you to Abou-Anass the link between you and Abrhaley and his group who provided you with their terrorist programs to carry out like this operation? “
In conclusion, these were acts of sheer terrorism rejected and condemned by any sane and balanced person. As such they are doomed to utter defeat and failure.