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W.Haile
Mysterious death of Ibrahim Afa
Mysterious death of Abraham Tewelde

Liquidation in the ELF
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2019-09-22

 

 

 

 

 

Fact and Evidence Part IV: [1959-1965] The formation of the ELF in competion with the ELM

Formation of the ELF:1959-1961

After Idris Mohammed Adem went to exile with Ibrahim Sultan in 1959, he displayed extreme hostility towards the formation of the ELM.( Harakat). Bereketeab (2000:184) states that the leaders of the ELF, and Idris Mohammed Adem in particular dislike the strategy of the ELM ( Harakat) to broaden its organization through recruiting Christians because in their view, it was Christian that delivered Eritrea to Ethiopia in the first place. Mengesteab (2005:40) also adds that , Idris launched a vitriolic campaign against ELM and its leaders threatened by the youthful and secular orientation of the Harakat leadership and by Nawid's early affiliation with the Sudanese Communist Party
Mahmud Mehamed Saleh who was recruited by Saleh Eyay in 1959, in his interview said that when Idris Mohammed Adem went left to Cairo, most of the people there were thinking that Weldeab Weldemaryam,
lbrahim Sultan and Idris Mohammed Adam as national figures would do a lot, they were expecting a lot of them. Harakat once sent a pamphlet that neither ldris Mehamed Adem nor Ibrahim Sultan want to cooperate with Harakat that they refuse to cooperate and work with it.
Markakis( 1987: 108)also mentioned that in the fall of 1961, Ibrahim Sultan, and Idris Mohammed Adam separately visited the Eritrean community in Saudi Arabia to raise support for plans to organize opposition to Ethiopia. There, they were both urged to contact the ELM and possibly join forces. Both stopped in Port Sudan on their way back to Cairo, and met Said Nawid and his colleagues but the meetings were fruitless. Idris Adem roused Eritrean nationalists against the ELM, this was through using religion and ethnicity recruited a number of Eritreans from the diaspora.
In the furtherance of sectarian politics,Idris Mohammed Adem led the creation of a new organization, known as the ELF in 1960. without political program and organizational accountability, the leaders of the ELF believed that mandate had been bestowed upon them during the time of political struggle in the 1940s and 1950s. They therefore believed that newly emerging political forces had no legitimacy. Moreover, their view that the Eritrean arena could not accommodate more than one organization (Bereketeab, 2000:184). The object of their political and armed campaigns was not only Ethiopia but also the ELM ( Harakat). Because of this motivation the ELF leaders launched the armed struggle on 1st September 1961 under the leadership of Idris Hamid Awate who committed crimes against the Kunama people before 1961. Idris Hamid Awate's crimes for first time was published by baden-kunama.com.
The three ELF leaders Idris Mohammed Adam, Idris Osman Geladewos and Osman Saleh Sabbe began to lead an armed struggle by remote control from Cairo ( Mengesteab 2005; Gebre-Medhin 1989).
Since formation of the ELF in July 1960, the ELF leaders instead of working with the ELM for the interest of the Eritrean people against a common enemy, but they launched a campaign of denunciation against the ELM ( Harakat) by portraying the ELM ( Harakat) as communist in ideology and anti-religious.
According to the founder of ELM( Harakat) Said Nawid, ELM ( Harakat) disagreed over the ELF leadership's belief that they had the sole mandate of representing the Eritrean people. Idris Mohammed Adem also showed his hostilty toward Woldeab Woldemariam who welcomed the formation of the ELM ( Harakat) and offered his services to further its cause. Woldeab was a Christian highlander which appalled Idris Mohammed Adem.
"I always said, 'I am not a Christian, I am not a highlander. I am an Eritrean.'Woldeab_Woldemariam

 

Liquidation of the ELM(Haraka) by the ELF 1965

Based on the allegation mentioned earlier, when the unity meeting between ELM ( Harakat) and ELF was arranged by the Sudanese government in 1962, neither Idris M. Adem nor Osman.S.Sabbe attended it (Iyob, 1995 :104-105). At this meeting Woldeab Woldemariam was present, and the veteran politician joined the ELM in 1962. (Bereketeab, 2000:184) also mentioned it in his book that the ELM made a proposal to the leadership of the ELF to merge the two organizations but this proposal was rejected by the ELF's.

According to Negash(1994:138) By the end of 1962 there were three political organisations based in Egypt carrying out political campagins against the incorporations of Eritrea into Ethiopia and supplying arms to the armed band led by Idris -el-Awate. The first organisation was the United Party of the Eritrea Democratic Front which was an umbrella organisation. This was a direct successor of the Moslem League, and since it was led by lbrahim Sultan and Idris Nur. Negash adds that although both lbrahim Sultan and Idris Nur describe themselves as member of the Eritrea Islamic Party, they also added that they belonged to the Coalition Democratic Front and the Eritrean Political Delegation Abroad [the Coalition Democratic Front was made up of the Eritrea Islamic Party and other seven coalition parties composed of Christians and Moslems;] the seconforganisation was the ELF led Idris Mohammed Adam, Idris Osman Geladewos and Osman Saleh Sabbe.The third was the Eritrea Liberation Movement[ELM or Harrakat]led by Mohamed Saleh Nawd and Woldeab Woldemariam

Initially the goal of the ELM was to stage a coup to overthrow the federal government and declare Eritrea's independence. However when the ELM began to face both the hostility of the rival ELF and the threat to its existence from the empire, in 1961 the ELM ( Harakat) declared its aim to launch an armed struggle to liberate Eritrea. The ELM leaders finally decided to establish a military presence in Eritrea to advance the cause of Eritrean nationalism under conditions of secular politics. In 1962, the ELM leadership was able to convince thirty policemen to leave their posts with their weapons in order to form the nucleus of the armed struggle. However, they were quickly encircled by the Ethiopian security forces and their effort was extinguished ( Mengisteab 2005:41). Furthermore, according Negash (2005:138) the activities of the ELM were first discovered in Addis Ababa toward the end of 1962.

The ELM's decision to launch an armed struggle came too late for two reasons. The first was that the open discord between the ELM and the ELF had alerted the Ethiopian government to the threat of organized opposition. Secondly, in consequence, official surveillance became more acute, making the underground resistance's operations more difficult to carry out. As a result of the ELF leaders' unwillingness to work with the ELM ( Harakat) for a common goal, the ELM in 1963 began procuring arms for its intended armed struggle. ELM cells were reactivated and proceeded to procure arms to recruit fighters, but the organization soon discovered that many cells had already been infiltrated by ELF. The rivalry with the ELF made the ELM''s preparation more difficult ( Iyob, 1995:104 -105)

Throughout 1963-1964 the ELM ( Harakat) persisted in the mobilization to launch armed resistance inside Eritrea, however this was not accepted by Woladb Woldemariam as he thought this was dangerous, warned Mohamed Nawud against such step. When Nawud proceeded with preparations to send acontingent of fifty men into Eritrea, Woldeab Woldemariam resigned at the end of 1964( Iyob, 1995:105) .
Towards the mid-1960s the antagonism between the two organizations reached its peak, this was when Haraka had a plan to wage military activity inside Eritrea against the Ethiopian army in 1965. However, the leader of Haraka received a warning from the ELF spokesman, Osman S. Sabbe who pointed out that a liberation front already existed and told Nawud that his organization (Haraka) should unite with ELF or face elimination.
Despite this warning the ELM leaders dispatched a force of 50 armed men to the Sahel to fight the Ethiopians in May 1965, and six the ELM ( Harakat) armed forced were killed by an armed contingent from the ELF force at Ela Tsada in 1965 (Mengisteab, 2005; Bereketeab, 2000; Patemem 1990, Paice 1994, Iyob 1995, Shinn 2004). This was happened due to the ELF Supreme Council decided to take military action against the movement. Mahya-El Din Al
Ahmed Salih Ali
Idris Mahmoudi
Ali Mahmo
Mohammed Saleh
Among the dead was the group's leader,Mohammed Saleh a former policeman.

The Supreme Council of the ELF decided to liquidate the ELM'S military wing in 1965.The ELF portrayed itself as the logical extension of the ELM's urban-based resistance and justified its brutal elimination of the ELM in 1965 as a necessary step (Iyob, 1995:112). The ELM's achievements were
appropriated by the ELF, which presented itself as a sole liberation front dedicated to bringing independence through armed struggle. Bereketeab ( 2000:185) states that many believe that the legacy of this military action set the precedent for the later civil wars between the Eritrean organizations. Mengisteab ( 2005:41) adds that this marked the beginning of the bloody civil war in Eritrea that was going to haunt the nation for decades.

Ahmed Mohammed Nasir who replaced Idris Mohammed Adem as chairman in 1975 said that the chief reason for the ELF attacking the ELM was its belief that the Field could support only one organisation [ Bereketeab, 2000 :184).

Furthermore Mohammed Ibrahim Bahdurai who was among the first the ELF fighters with Idris Awate, his attitude toward eliminate of Harak is not different from what Ahemed Nasser said. Mohammed Ibrahim Bahdurai in the interview with Nhrent, he said that the ELF’s success against the armed bands of the ELM was welcomed by all nationalists because everyone knew that the presence of more than one organization in the country would invite divisions based not on political line but on the backward regional and confessional sentiments. This is a contraversion to what Iyob mentioned on her book; according to Iyob(1995: 98) The urban-based ELM used secularization as a strategy to reconcile the moslem-christian schism. However, the ELM's attempt at secularization was stymied by the formation of a rival organization, the ELF in 1961. The ELM's decision to launch its own armed struggle was violently crushed by the ELF.

Mengisteab (2005:38) gave more explanation for the rival between ELF and ELM in the following :


To be sure, the insufficient structural transformation of the Eritrean economy under colonialism and the stubborn persistence of the primordial conditions of social existence, aggravated by the machination of external empire builders and internal power seekers, continued to plague
Eritrean politics in which the foundations of the present dictatorship are based. The early rivalry between the Eritrean Liberation Movement (ELM) and the Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF) should illustrate the above observation.

Following the liquidation of the military wing of the ELM, its forces disintegrated, former ELM members were contacted and persuaded to join the ELF's cell for armed struggle, and a number of ELM members who wished to continue the armed struggle joined the ELF (Sherman, 1980:42). Other like Woldeab-Ab and Wed-Libe attempted to create a Unity Movement to reunite the nationalist group. Killon (1991: 196-197).
Mahamoud Nawd kept the core of the ELM alive but was driven out of Sudan by the ELF in 1967, and in 1970 the Organisation was formally dissolved to enable its members to join Osman Saleh Sabbi, new ELF-PLF in 1970
.

Why Woldeyesus Ammar (Chairman of the ELF-RC) didn't mention the liquidation of Haraka ( Harakat) in his publication? He only wrote that Saleh Eyay a co-founding leader of the ELM had no problem of changing membership to ELF in 1965 when he was convinced that he would do good to the cause for national liberation than by insisting to revitalize ELM.

To conclude, the ELF which was founded by Idris Mohammed Adem in competition with the ELM ( Harakat) just as the EPLF which was founded by Osaman S. Sabbe and Issayas in power competition with the leaders of the ELF in the early 1970s. Although the ELF leaders claimed that the ELF was the mother of the Eritrean revolution and the EPLF leaders also claimed that the EPLF was far more progressive than its mother organization, neither the ELF nor EPLF were founded by genuine leaders. The only genuine and progressive liberation movement in the history of liberation struggle was the Eritrean Liberation Movement ( Harakat) whose founders believed “Muslims and Christians are brothers, and their unity makes Eritrea one" This was came from the 1940s legacy of the great political leaders ( Ibrahim Sultan, Woldeab and others ) who demonstrated their willingness to work togetherfor the unity of the Eritrean people through sharing a chicken killed by a Moslem.

Fact and Evidence Part V [1965-1969] Rivalry between the ELF leader
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