The Eritrean government has detained a leader of one of the factions of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) Gen. Kemal Gelchu, a close friend of the general informed Ethiopian Review today.
In a phone call to Asmara to verify the information, an Ethiopian Review source said that General Kemal is not in jail, but he has been under house arrest and ordered not to leave Asmara. He is also not allowed to meet with OLF troops, Ethiopian Review source said.
Gen. Kemal’s friend said following an interview recently with ESAT, the other faction of the OLF led by Daud Ibssa, who is said to be favored by the Eritrean regime, bitterly protested to Eritrean leaders that the general is undermining them.
Unlike Daud Ibssa, General Kemal Gelchu has been prevented from leaving Eritrea ever since he, along with 150 senior officers, defected from the Woyanne army and joined the Eritrea-based OLF in August 2006.
In December 2010, Gen. Kemal was briefly detained by the Eritrean regime, and after he was released, his movement has been severely restricted. Repeated appeals to the Eritrean regime by supporters of the general to allow him to travel abroad have been ignored.
Leaders of the Tigray People Democratic Movement (TPDM) have also been banned from leaving Eritrea.
Over the past few years, Eritrea has become the Bermuda Triangle not just for the opponents of the regime, but for Ethiopian opposition groups as well. Several Ethiopian opposition members and leaders have been banished by the regime never to be heard of again.