First let me introduce my self and my mate Abrhale Solomun(Tsaada, Whitey): Me and Abrhale were from the 1000 strong mechanized brigade sent to Tigray to help the then ailing weyane army that was holed down around Debre Tabor. Here we both were from the department of FDC (Fire Direction Centre), And our first job was to survey the terrain by reading our maps and then direct our rocket, tank and artillery fires to the desired directions. In short, we were informal consultants or right hand men to the commanders at the scene.
To begin with, it was early in the morning may 26, 1991. We were fast asleep in Sandafa where we were told by ‘G’ Tsadkan to prepare ourselves to approach Addis from the East.
Armed with pistols (except for the two operators who had AK – 47 strapped to their shoulders) we were off on the road only to slow down and waved off to go past his foot soldiers. And it was at this time that I said to myself ‘what the hell are we doing? We could climb a hill and see the city through our binoculars and we could also consult our maps but what is the bottom line? What is the chance for us to safely reach the desired OP? If our tanks are to roar through the city they will need a guide and this is the job of the military intelligence not us.
Soon we were almost 10km near Addis where we met a muscular man clad in whites, driving a beautiful Peugetout 504 to his dairy farm. This man was scared to death when he was barked to stop by our ‘General’ and asked where he was heading. Then came one car, another car and many. All were told to stop and asked by him where they were heading.
For us this was nonsense, so we said ‘comrade Tsadkan this is below your status….’ When suddenly an enemy military truck, fully armed with 13 helmeted soldiers, came from nowhere. Now the show has come down! When the two operators who were brave enough to spray the truck with bullets from the back and front. Bullets started wheezing, whistling past our ears and between our legs and some were ricocheted with sparks. This was only for one minute to stop but for us it was eternity because we had no time to draw out our pistols. Only thing we did was fret and laugh unconsciously to our death.
Thanks heaven! The four of us were alive, but we couldn’t locate our brave ‘now general’. Finally, we saw him 100m far hiding behind the fattest eucalyptus tree no ten men could hug. Jesus Christ, how did he run that fast this fat assed “Now General”. Believe me, he was all shaken, a sad figure to look at shit scared to death.
Now, after 30 years, I am in Addis when suddenly I saw in my cell phone ‘Our brave now General’ boasting and bragging that he is ready to enter Addis like Caesar entering Rome with a lot of fanfare and honorary march.
Poor me this is what reminded me to go back 30 years to write about this incident. I am sure Tsadkan will deny it, but I am dead sure he remembers it very well. As for the poor soldier, the tally was one dead and 12 wounded.