Addis Ababa July 13/2018 The Ethio-Eritrea war, which broked out 20 years ago, has caused both Ethiopia and Eritrea to expend a huge amount of expenses that could have been used for other urgent needs of the countries.
Tens of thousands of servicemen and women, machine guns, tanks and missiles were deployed by both countries with the assumption of wining the tragic war in which over 70,000 people killed and more than a million displaced from their home because of the deadly war.
After the end of the war, the two countries remained in a state of “no peace no war” situation impeding their diplomatic, and economic and overall ties for two decades.
The war also caused devastating social crisis for the people in both countries resulting in the separation of families creating a total social crisis, which seriously affected huge number of families in the border areas of the two countries.
Mulgeta Muhaba, a young Eritrean living in Ethiopia, is among those people who highly suffered from separation from family.
He came from Asmara to make his own business in Addis Ababa 25 years ago, but things changed and the war erupted denying him access to Asmara.
“Though Ethiopia is a peaceful country to live in, life without family was so difficult, I felt despair of missing my family,” Mulugeta told ENA ecstatically by the formally ending the state of war between Ethiopia and Eritrea.
Since things are swiftly changing following the visit of Premier Abiy to Asmara, the only thing Mulgeta had from his families’ memory was his mom’s photo which he took from her 25 years back, he said as if he is in a dream.
Recently, after 25 years of a state of limbo, loneliness and fear, a glimmer of hope sparked for Mulugeta as the result of the normalization process between Ethiopia and Eretria.
He said with a smile on his face and satisfaction, “I know that one day I will be able to meet my family but I did not expect that it would be so soon; when I saw Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed conferring with President Isaias Afewerki tears of joy covered my face.”
Mulgeta lacked words to express his contentment and one can easily notice the joy and glee on his face.
He said with hope, “Love wins, I am going to see my mother that I have missed for 25 years her image was almost fading away from my mind, I am overwhelmed with joy that I am going to see my younger brother who was conceived in my mother womb when I was separated from my family with a droplet of tears on my face.”
He was unable to contact his mother due to bad cellphone and is planning to fly back to Asmara to meet his mother as the air route between Ethiopia and Eretria will start in a couple of days.
Likewise Seyoum Woldegebreiel, who is 70, was married to an Ethiopian and blessed with four children. His mother, sisters and brother are now living in Asmara.
Prior to the border war, he had good connection with his family in Eretria but after the war broke out he was totally separated from his family and could not even attend the funeral of his mother.
The ordeal that Mulugeta and Seyoum have passed through is just one of the few examples of similar cases among hundreds of Eritreans residing in Ethiopia. Now thanks to the peace effort spearheaded by the leaders of the two countries, a window of hope and sustained peace is visible over the horizon.
The peace accord between Ethiopia opened a new era in the history of the families as they have now managed to talk to their uncles and aunts. They are now ready to fly to Asmara for a historic flight after 20 years and one can imagine the joy that is awaiting for them.
According to Eritreans living in Addis Ababa, it is a new chapter that unexpectedly ushered the reunions of families that were so far separated. The peace accord between the two countries had helped to dismantle the deadlock between the countries by taking out adverse distrust and hostilities that prevailed over two decades.
Moreover, the reunion and restoration of peace between the two countries has a greater role in accelerating comprehensive socio-economic and political relations between the governments and peoples of the two countries.
Although the road was torturous for Mulugta and Seyoum, many families who were stranded on both sides will soon celebrate their union.