The former commander of Benishangul People’s Liberation Movement (BPLM), Abdulwahab Mehad escaped from the Asosa zonal correctional center, a high-ranking official of the Benishangul Gumuz regional state told local media. He made the escape while he was out in the field participating in inmates’ developmental activities.
According to the report, Abdulwahab was sentenced to nine years in prison before he managed to escape on December 27, 2021. He was previously sentenced to life in prison in 2009 but reportedly escaped from prison in 2010, the report said, adding, he then fled to Eritrea where he worked with other armed rebel groups.
The report continued, “In 2017, following the peace deal made between the BPLM and federal and the regional governments, the alleged escapee returned to Ethiopia to start a civilian life.”
The report further stated that the BPLF was disbanded after receiving a 20 million ETB from the government for rehabilitation. Later it was revealed that Abdulwahab participated in the June 2018 attack in the regional capital Asosa where lives were lost. “He was then sentenced to 16 years by the federal high court, which was reduced to 9 years after he appealed to the federal attorney general. The attorney general, however, rejected the court’s decision and Abdulwahab managed to escape before the court’s final ruling,” the report read.
The regional official told the local news outlet his speculations that Abdulwahab’s second escape from prison in broad daylight despite high surveillance might be connected to some conspiracy. He also added that the hopes of finding the escapee are slim, “He spent the last 20 years in armed struggle and knows the in and outs of the area which is close to Ethio Sudanese border.”
The Benehsangul Gumuz regional official also confessed his fears that the escape of Abdulwaheb will considerably compromise the region’s stability as he might return to Sudan to resume recruiting and training youth. AS