It is months now since TPLF soldiers and federal forces began fighting in Tigray. Much damage has occurred. Civilians have fled their homes, some have died, others lost their loved ones, and the tensions continue to surge. Within no time, Tigray will become a ghost town.
Although Prime Minister Abiy promises to restore peace in the region, the situation has wholly deteriorated. Even though federal forces have declared victory, the few remaining in the area continue to live in fear. Abraha Kinfe, currently a refugee in Sudan, cannot forget the pain Tigray’s violence has caused him. His heart continues to bleed with grief, as he remembers holding the lifeless body of his wife.
Conflict Cost Me, My Lover
Abraha Kinfe, a 40-year-old widower, can’t help but blame his wife’s death on his violence-prone country. Although the man has to stay strong for his three children, two newborn twins and a five-year-old boy, his heart is sure full of grief. Given an opportunity to pour he hear out, Abraha narrates of a tragedy that befalls his family.
He states that he and his late wife had been married for thirteen years. They lived happily in farmland near Mai Kadra town in western Tigray. However, 10th November marked the beginning of their sorrow. Federal troops had advanced to their area, making patrols in search of rebels. On that day, when the forces visited their neighborhood, they went and hid in the bushes. They were relieved when the soldiers left without noticing them.
However, at that time, his wife was also in labor. Terrified to rush her to the clinic in Mai-Kadra, Abraha and his neighbors in the hideout managed to help Letai deliver. Letai had successfully given birth to twin girls while still in the bush. Later that day, Abraha and his family returned home. Nevertheless, Letai continued to bleed as she had not received postnatal treatment. After ten days of constant bleeding, Letai passed away.
Abraha could not comprehend the death of his wife. He was broken, angry, sad, felt different emotions all mixed. He could not believe his wife was no more. With the help of his neighbors, they buried Mrs. Letai on their farm.
“When my wife died, I felt the world collapsing all around me. I cried and cried, holding her in my arms.”
He says he wished he could have taken her to the clinic. But at that time, things were upside down in the town. People were running helter-skelter in search of safety.
Escape From Tigray
At the time of Letai’s death, the situation in Tigray was still dangerous. His neighbors had managed to escape, leaving him behind with his family. Abraha narrates how difficult it was for him to look after the twins and his son. Any time troops came around their neighborhood, and they would hide in the bushes.
Babies naturally depend on breastmilk from their mother to survive. As such, Abraha had a difficult time caring for his twin kids. He says he managed to sustain them by giving them drops of water, sugar and dipping his fingers in soup-like food, allowing them to suck. However, it was not long before Abraha realized they were becoming weaker. He went to the federal army stationed in the area and requested to take his twins to the clinic in Humera.
He was lucky enough to be granted passage. He grabbed the opportunity and fled to Sudan. Currently, he is living as a refugee in Hamdayit refugee camp. While there an American doctor now takes care of his twins. The babies’ health has now improved, and they are adding weight.
Meanwhile, Abraha can’t keep up with the guilt of lying to his son that his mother is still alive. Those who have heard of Abraha’s story can’t help but tear up. So many people in the camp sympathize with him and try comforting him now and then.