President of Ethiopia's Benishangul-Gumuz region, Yaregal Aysheshum,
has defected and joined the opposition camp earlier this month.
The Ethiopian Review Intelligence Unit has learned that Mr. Yaregal had
sought political asylum in an east African country, and when his safety
was threatened, he was taken to a third country.
Although Mr. Yaregal was the President of Benishangul-Gumuz, a region
that is abundantly fertile and rich in natural resources, he had little
say in how the region was administered. As in all the other regions of
Ethiopia, all important decisions are being made by officials of the
Tigrean People Liberation Front (Woyanne) from Mekelle and Addis Ababa.
Yaregal was particularly disconcerted by Woyanne's recent
instigation of ethnic conflicts between Oromos and Benishangul, which
finally led him to join the opposition Movement, according to
After joining Ginbot 7, Yaregal was successful in passing highly
valuable information about the regime's criminal activities. When the
Woyanne intelligence was getting close to him, he managed to escape with
the help of Ginbot 7 local operatives.
Woyanne agents are currently threatening him with confiscating all his
properties in the country and hurting members of his family, while
reporting that he is abroad getting medical attention, in order to lure
him into returning.
Ginbot 7 officials declined to comment on Mr. Yaregal's case.
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