The unauthorized profile of the Eastern-Sudan Frontís Chairman 2-3
By Mohamed Ibrahim
From episode 1: After the GOS offensive in
South Red Sea
area, people sought refuge in the neighbouring
leaving every thing of their poor and precious possessions for the unknown. With around 9,000 persons not turning up in the small vibrant town, Garora resembled a ghost village.
Musa was very keen to stay in the safest
rather than risking being in the dangerous Garora. He released himself to exchanging rumours and launching smear campaigns against his own comrades as he always used to do.
Kunna and I
opted to stay with a handful of stubborn Garorians and exchange jokes with them but, we always advised them of being extremely cautious.
In a carefully calculated move, prominent Eritrean General Abdo Ramag visited us in a show of support. He arrived in a motorcade of an only two vehicles; one with an erected Doshka mortar. Flanked with a group of his affiliates he came to our house in a relaxed outfit and a Packet of Rothmanís in his left hand.
Chatting in his broken Arabic he satisfied the fascination of Abdella Kunna who always told stories about his friendships with the HJDF leaders. So this is a good opportunity for him to collect some more tales.
In his message to us, General Ramag assured us of their plans to push back the Sudanese army and hand us our liberated area.
That show was not Musaís
because he doesnít know the General with the multiple scars around his body and as the Head of Intelligence & Security he might be asked
an unpredicted question from the unpredictable man, so he resorted to the kitchen where younger comrades were cooking the famous Beja grilled lamb(SALAT). Musa helped in serving the food to the group who plunged in a hot card game.
Shortly afterwards I left Garora for Hamoshkoreib area via beautiful
. Fortunately General Ramag didnít keep his word and
South Red Sea
remained in the hands of the government of
I have been attached to the Chairmanís office as a director where I started the work of the preparations for the General Congress. We formed an influential committee which took the hard work of preparing the reports, auditing the financial records, preparing the constitution, regulations and other documents. Literally the committee did everything. Musa and other comrades were excluded on the basis of merits but he Ėpersonally- kept a vigilant eye on its proceedings.
Many of the Committee members kept no secret of their intentions to turn a new page, have an absolutely new leadership for the organization, adopt a new approach and have all the members of dual allegiance sidelined.
Incumbent chairman Sheikh Omer was very supportive so we abolished the Security & Intelligence Department which was headed by Musa. We made it a junior section in the chairmanís office.
Now we had the manís favourite department disappearing, were can we freeze him? No one cared, the decision about his fate should be a matter for the General Congress members.
We took the necessary precaution by not allowing anybody from Musaís group to Command the army as we added this responsibility to the Chairman who would assume the title: Chairman & Commander in Chief.
This title had always fascinated ambitious Sheikh Omer who looked at the Great D.John with a green with envy eye and idolation at the same time.
As the game entails we allowed the Congress members to discuss and have everything on the table despite the negative messages that kept coming from the (friends). One of them (the friends) disrupted the ratification of a new Military Conduct Law by describing it as lenient and not competent to govern a commercial company let alone a militant organization.
While the sessions of the Congress were continuing we noticed the absence of four of our colleagues. Hours later we learned that Musa had ordered their detention. He later charged them of plotting to have certain names elected in the leadership. Under pressure the (friends) agreed to set them free but every one got the message. The group failed their bid and every member detached himself from them.
The man who disrupted the adoption of the military law stood against the idea of secret ballot and said that we have to elect a Chairman beforehand and then vote by taking a stand for yes and sitting down for no to have
the outgoing leadership re-elected or ousted
Not many members stood for the re-election. Musa and his henchmen were looking furiously at the voters in the eye until one of his henchmen screamed stand up, what you waiting for?
67 out of 113 (depending on my own and a friendís recollection) stood up in favour of their re-election.One of them begged me openly to say yes but I kept sitting without any intention to change my mind.
When it came to the other members they were elected individually in a tight head to head secret ballot.
The outgoing leadership had a colleague who took the title (Deputy Chairman, Secretary General and Secretary of External Relations). This title was scrapped into new entities ; Deputy Chairman and Secretary for External Relations.
The 15 manís Central Committee elected Musa as deputy chairman to lock this job on the faces of ambitious Abdella Kunna and Amin Shingrai.
Musaís election has been widely perceived as a compromise because he was not happy with his new title of Chief of Staff with three assistants for Military Operations , Administration and
Training .All these posts have been filled
by relatively competent comrades.
Another factor helped the election of Musa was the reality that Sheikh Omer didnít like to have some one who might have bigger ambitions as his deputy and Musa with his submissive character had never been considered for the top job.
In fact Sheikh Omer with his cautious behaviour had never allowed any of his comrades to grow and show any probability of succeeding him.
Another factor was that Musa is not belonging to the influential GAMILAB tribe which dominated the Beja Congress activities. The GAMILAB comprised
between 80- 85% of the members, so every one was sure that there is no reasonable possibility of Musa being Beja Congress Chairman even if Jalal Talbani became the president of Iraq!!
Not every one was happy with the outcome of the new leadership especially Sheikh Ahmed Betai who has been sidelined by the (friends) and Sheikh Omer.
Sheikh Ahmed Betai who is a member of the influential Betai clan is not a man
who resorts to compromises.
He started his contacts within amongst the Army and with other parts. He apparently got a listening ear in Comandor Abdel Aziz al-Helw who was in charge of the SPLAís New Sudan Brigade.
Under the SPLAís protection, Sheikh A. Betai declared his defection and formed a new leadership with him as a Chairman and a group of others including Musaís foe Mr.Idriss Nour (currently deputy Wali of Gedarif State).
The Eritrean reacted swiftly and moved their tanks to Rebda where they pushed Cdr. Al-Helw to take his hands off the matter. The Eritrean took Betaiís group into their custody where they have been abused by Sheikh Omerís group before they transferred to Tesanai town.
The group remained in the Eritrean custody for two months before their transfer in a truck by Musa (of course) to a new prison built for them.
Some of the Eritrean Officers told me that they handed the men to Sheikh Omer on the condition that they should be immediately released. In fact I never banked in such fallacies.
In my capacity as Director of the Chairmanís Office, I was responsible of receiving the leadersí monthly reports which was a pre-condition for them to apply for the next monthís budget.
In that office I learned that Musa despite of all his claims doesnít know how to read and write. Thanks to the ESAP and the post of Assistant to the President which doesnít require its occupants of being literate although other public service jobs require this skill.
Throughout his tenure as Chief of Staff Musa had never submitted a millitary plan either for an attack or defense. He kept himself busy with the stories of prisons, fabricating accusations against comrades and act as a complete proxy for the Eritrean Intelligence machine.
One day an angry member confronted him and yelled on him with the secret that every one knows. He told him he is a coward spy and one day he will be brought to pay for his conspiracies and plots.
In fact our friend got a fresh conspiracy; he ahs been sent to jail charged with sexually harassing a younger comrade. The man spent many months in detention where he sarcastically called himself Monica Lewinsky.
There is no doubt that the struggle against the injustice became harder than the injustice and joining the regime which was supposed to be uprooted was safer than combating it.
Musa was widely known as a man of no friends. Every one who is closed to him is suspected of being a spy ( JASOUS ) which is the most trans-lingual disparaging term in the Eritrean territories.
When I look at the path of Musa to the helm of the Beja Congress , I always remember Ateia as-Saíati ,the MP in the Egyptian comic series (Sikkat al-Hilaly).That MP was always on the front pages of the papers , whenever he go he would by
received by will- wishers and supporters. One day he looked at himself deeply and told his assistant that ďI need the immunity, without immunity there is no Ateia as-SaíatiĒ. I am wondering what Musa would say to himself when he is left alone.
One day while we were preparing for the 1st meeting of the newly elected Central Committee, we have been informed that the (enemy) is preparing a conventional attack against the opposition held territories in the East. The meeting was cancelled and all members of the Central Committee were send to the area except (Musa) who has been assigned to the co-ordination between the Friends and the NDA forces!!!
Some days later he came to our post to convey the news that our Military Operations man Mohamed Din was Killed In Action.
It was a moment of frustration because Mohamed Din was very popular amongst the Army. In addition to his wicked sense of humour , he was brave , ouspoken and he acted as an influence-proof device between Musa and the Army. Poor soldiers are now vulnerable to Musaís influence because Chairman Sheikh Omer was always in need of some one to look after the Army while he could release himself to his eternal giant battle against the clan which recommended him for the top job (the Betai clan ).
Sheikh Omer preferred Musa over Mohamed Din the stubborn outspoken but was not able to remove him.
After the deterioration of Sheikh Omerís ratings amongst the Friends who openly accused him of mismanagement of the organizationís fund, the man offered his resignation to them but the cunning friends told him that this is a matter for his own constituents. The smart bloke knew that he became irrelevant to the friends and he will be sent -sooner or later-to the very PRISON that he used to send his opponents to.
Sheikh Omer kept his job until he was able to flee to
for the first time in his life.
After the escape of Sheikh Omer the Eritrean advised the Beja Congress to put someone in charge to avoid a political vacuum. The poor Central Committee appointed
Musa to avoid having the competition between Faki Ali Mohamed Ohaj who is from the JAMILAB tribe and the veteran member Abdella Kunna. In fact this happened the same way as in the SPLM where Cdr. Salva Kiir Myardit was granted the Chair of the late Dr.John Garang.
Things like this are rare but not very strange. It happened in many areas around the world ; Putin in
, Mubarak in Egypt etc..
Musa kept himself in his same prison .He dedicated his time from dawn to dark to follow his potential opponents, listen to the rumours about them and plot his conspiracies against them.
We mentioned earlier that Mr.Musa had never came up with a military plan of action but there are some operations that he could take credit for; the confiscation of his peopleís live stock.
In an evil afternoon after our election to the Central Committee, Musa came to me in the Headquarters. In his business-like manner he went directly to the Chairmanís residence. I knew that Sheikh Omer is not there so I chased him.
I found him looking around with great frustration and asked me ďwhere is Sheikh Omer?Ē My answer was typical to the requirements of the cloudiness came ďI donít knowĒ.
He knew that I am not intending to co-operate, the guys in the communications section also donít know? He said.
Helplessly, I shocked my left shoulder.
He pretended to go but he swiftly returned and asked me do you know some one from
called al-Amin Mustafa.
- A livestock trader?
Of course, he is a well known figure.
Is he an NIF supporter?
No he isnít and in fact he is absolutely detached from politics but, whatís the matter?
We received some intelligence that some of his livestock entered the liberated areas and we want to confiscate it.
I warned him strongly not to do that. I gave him a lot of reasons not to perpetrate this act of thuggery but he went on despite his promise to me!!!
There were many similar stories like this.
This is the kind of operations that our Chief of Staff had planned but he didnít took any part in the oil pipeline blasts which were Ėin fact- the only successful military acts conducted by the Beja congress.
The planning and the execution of those operations is known by an only handful of the Central Committee members
because of the kind of danger it involves and its great impact on the regime.
In the third operation, I heard nothing from the State radio ( Um Durman) in the due date.
Sheikh Omer was out of contact and no one is to ask about the fate of our comrades.
I met with Musa and I asked him if he knew any thing about the group. He answered me they are OK but I insisted asking him about his specific information. He asked for some coffee beans, he counted some of it (I guessed they were 33) and then used these beans as tarot and consulted them 3 times.
I was asking about real thing and he answered me using his self-proclaimed knowledge of tarot and geomancy. I hope he is not using it in the presidential palace which has been occupied by evil spirits since independence.
In fact Musa proved to know little about fortune-telling because that operation turned to be a total fiasco and became the last one. The government troops and choppers chased our commandoes
all the way back. They killed an innocent fuzzy-wuzzy ,killed
the camels and foiled the operation.
To be continued