Crime committed against civilians by the EPLF and ELF in the 1970s
|During the liberation
struggle Eritrean people not only became the victims of the Ethiopian government
but were also killed by the ELF and EPLF. To mention a few examples::
In the 1960s fifty Christian peasants were executed at the behest of the ELF leadership ( Megesteab 2005: 43) . Another version of this story between 15 and 25 civilians were killed by the ELF in Shimbare, they were killed by vigilante off duty tegadelti of ELF, who were thought to be avenging after their village was burned by Ethiopian soldiers. (Araya 2005). However, the ELF leadership should be blamed for the death of civilians who were killed by the ELF fighters (tegadelti).
In 1971, 52 civilian villagers were burned to death in their huts in a village name Debre Sila by the ELF for non-payment of the ELF demands (Human Rights Watch1991:48). There was also another story on March7, 1971, the ELF plundered the village of Halib Menal, stealing many cattle, after the villagers had killed two ELF fighters while resisting an ELF attempt to occupy the village two day before. Individuals who failed to protect ELF property entrusted to them were also summarily executed. (Human Rights Watch 1991:48).
In addition, according toVKP/KAM (May 18, 2009) some members of the Jebha or ELF unit which had operated in the Kunama land, in the early sixties (1960s) and late seventies (1970s), started to conduct retaliatory activities against the Kunama people, burning Kunama villages, even with their inhabitants inside their huts. The people of the Red Sea area were also among the first groups to be victims of ELF; although the people waited patiently [read more]
There was a similar story about the atrocity against
Ato Haile by the ELF at Wutuh in Summer (kiremti) 1971.
In 1975 there was also a story about 12 youths from Adi-Kehei
area who had a plan to join the Front were wrongly killed as a spies by
the ELF. Among those youths who were killed by the ELF:
|In 1975 Seyoum was appointed as political commissioner of ELF’s administrative Unit 10 (Akele-Guzai)
Yosief Ghebrehiwet in his article "Eritrean Independence: Is It Worth All the Sacrifice?" wrote“In the 1980s, the EPLF had taken many underage kids including girls by force. Many of the kids returned home, some ran to the cities, many went to Tigray and others crossed the border to the Sudan. When parents were not able to bring their kids back and hand them to the EPLF, their crops were confiscated. This was during the worst famine of the 1980s. Although the yield of the crops was too little due to the lack of rain, the aim of this inhumane act was to kill the whole family unit by hunger. Many families had no choice but to migrate to Tigray in search of food but Tigray was equally a famine-stricken region during that time.” And this kind of atrocity was not confined to the EPLF, as the following quotation from the same person testifies: “…
As a child growing up in the vicinity of Areza, Seraye (during Jebha time) I had seen enough of the cruelty of this organization. When it had won the war against Kohain, it had confiscated thousands of their livelihoods cattle and brought many of them to our village. The shepherds of the village, including myself, had to take turns in looking after them until they were all slaughtered one by one. When it won the war against Dembelas, it did the same thing. I had seen the Raya Azebo POWs who were captured by Jebha in the seventies perish of disease, hunger and the few lucky ones who had survived were killed in cold blood during the 1978 retreat. I had seen many innocent Eritrean merchants (negado) been arrested and tortured. I had seen people being hanged in Areza … accused of spying for the Ethiopian regime without any proof …”
|Source Tesfay 2005
Background information about those prisoners who were taken from Keren by the EPLF in 1978.
Tewolde Beyn (Beyene Asfedai) was taken
for « a short questioning » by the security apparatus of the
EPLF in Keren, Eritrea, in August 1978. Later he was taken to Sahel, northern
Eritrea with the following police pensioners in addition to Idris Mohamed
Abdala, alias « Echet Hina » (a Tigre ballad singer known
for his pro-ELF songs) were taken to Sahel as prisoners: Embaye Ghebru,
Ghebresadiq Ghilu'u, Melake Beraki, Ogbamichael, Fitwi Tesfazghi, Woldemariam
Kelati, Berhane Hadgu, Ghebrehiwet Kinfe, Mohamed Omar, Negash Sibhat,
Omar Bekhit, Hadgu Mana, Tenente Zaid.
|Brief background information about Tewolde Beyne Asfedai
Leteab Tewolde Beyn wrote:
PS : I would wish that you and other human rights conscious Eritreans
encourage Eritrean jurists to help establish a fact finding commission
to investigage, at least for the recod, all human rights abuses not only
Source [DEHAI] EPLF's ?
short questioning ? Petition for the Release of Reported Prisoners in
To conclude, during the liberation struggle thousands of civilians not
only became victims of the
The author also appeals to all former members of
the ELF and EPLF who survived the war to tell the public the truth about
the ELF and EPLF leadership’s crimes against civilians.
crimes after liberation
| EHREA Eritrean Human Rights
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