Ethiopian Airlines CEO target of Eritrean murder plot: Insider
Ethiomedia
April 10, 2014



Tewolde G Mariam
Tewolde G Mariam, CEO, Ethiopian Airlines
ADDIS ABABA - Tewolde Gebremariam, the CEO of Ethiopian Airlines, was in 1994 a potential target of an Eritrean murder plot because he insisted that an Eritrean Cessna plane cannot leave the airport without bill of lading and proper inspection.

Tewolde, who was a cargo manager at that time, had known that the Eritrean-owned plane was loaded with an estimated 70 million Birr (roughly about 32 million US dollars at that time) and the Eritreans wanted to fly the plane to their country without inspection.

"The Eritreans were upset they wanted to eliminate him. They were running up and down the country in legal and illicit business schemes. They had the full blessing of Meles Zenawi, a president of the transition period at that time," according to an information from an insider of the airlines company.

The rush to eliminate Tewolde was deterred when, as a last resort, the Eritreans wanted to use Yared Tsegay, an Eritrean who was manager of Integrated Operational Control Center at Ethiopian Airlines, to persuade Tewolde to change his mind.

"The Eritreans privately met Yared, an Addis Ababa born Eritrean who had no known links to Shabia, and warned him that his colleague, Tewolde, was almost risking his life for blocking the flight of their plane to Asmara."

Yared took the warning to Tewolde, and shared the risks of turning down the requests of the Eritreans.

"Beginning from Meles, Ethiopia is in the hands of Eritreans," Yared Tsegay warned Tewolde. "If they killed you, Meles would only tap them on their shoulder, and say good riddance!"

Tewolde caved in, and let the plane leave Addis for Asmara. Tewolde also joined the ruling TPLF group, thus securing safety, notwithstanding his rise to become CEO of a competitive airlines in Africa.

The Eritrean regime had an unbridled access to Ethiopian resources from 1991 on until war broke out in 1998 after TPLF officials in Tigrai region became a bone in the throat of the Asmara regime.

At the start of war, calls were publicly made for TPLF officials to remove Eritrean mercenaries from power before engaging Eritrea in the battle field. But the TPLF officials who had no Eritrean lineage were scared of and never acted against Meles, who was at his weakest point in his rule. They rather carried out the mass deportation of Eritreans for which Meles, Bereket and others had no option but to keep a low profile until the dust settles down for good.

Settled indeed, and Meles, after aborting the war, vanquished his opponents in Addis in 2001, thus burying any Ethiopian threat to his rule once and for all. Though Meles died in August 2012, his Eritrean group remains firmly rooted in power. For instance, seven of eight TPLF politburo officials are of Eritrean stock.


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