The consequence of the 1970s and 1980s civil War, and accusations against leaders
why the EPLF split from the ELF in the following words:
However, this is untrue. As mention earlier, the EPLF
was founded in power competition by the EPLF leaders ( Sabba and Issayas)
with the ELF leaders ( Idris Mohamed Adem and Abdella Idris). After the
formation of the EPLF groups (1 and 2) in the early 1970, the ELF leaders
instead of solving their differences in dialogue with the EPLF leaders,
the ELF leaders
Tedla Bairu, first vice president ; Abdalla Idris Mohammed,second vice president
|Herui Tedla Bairu who was elected vice-chairman of the Revolutionary Council in 1971 following in his father's footsteps, participated in the decision to liqidate the EPLF in1972(Killon, 1998:251) This caused for the two years civil and an estimated 3, 000 casualities among the fighters more deaths among the combatants than the entire thirteen years of government military actions to 1991( Human Rights Watch 1991:42). The ELF, under the military command of Abdalla Idris, denounced the new organzation|
|The ELF passed
a series of resolutions on Februrary 29, 1972 aimed at liquidating its rivals.(Sherman
1980: 81) which was caused a civil war 1972-1974.
During the civil war(1972-1974) more than a thousand lives lost because of power rivalry between the ELF and EPLF leaders. According to the Human Rights Watch (1991).
The two years of internecine strife between the two movements, which caused an estimated 3,000 casualties among the fighters - more deaths among the combatants than the entire thirteen years of government military actions to date. Purges within the two fronts also saw a number of people murdered.
A battle between the two fronts at Wolki in October 1974 left 600 fighters dead, and caused a spontaneous demonstration by the citizens of Asmara, who marched to the battlefield and demanded that the fronts settle their differences by negotiation ( Human Rights Watch 1991, 42). Markakis ( 1987: 138)also states that in October 1974, a newly arrived ELF-PLF unit stationed in the village of Zager, 18 km from Asmara, clashed with an ELF unit from the nearby village of Woki. A murderous battle ensued lasting several days, with heavy casualties on both side.
|ELF and EPLF leaders who should be blamed for the death of 3000 fighters in the civil war 1972-1974|
| After the
ceasefire agreement between the ELF and EPLF in 1974, there was an on-off
confrontation fighting between the ELF and EPLF which caused the death of
some fighters on both sides. This confrontation stopped for some time after
the 20th of October unity agreement between the ELF and EPLF leaders in
The agreement which reached between the two fronts’ leaders was not a genuine unity agreement but was a tactical agreement similar to what happened among the opposition leaders from 1999 to present. As a result of this tacticl unity agreement a long power rivalry between the EPLF leader ( Issayas ) and the ELF leader ( Abdella Idris) the EPLF leaders took military action against the ELF in 1981.
The military action which was taken by the EPLF led to civil war that caused the deaths of many fighters on both sides. This was the ELF Supreme Council’s legacy of military action against Haraka in 1965. Mengesteab (2005:55) adds that Isaias and his group restored to the old ELF argument that Eritrea could not support more than one liberation front.
|Until 1977, the EPLF argued that secondary contradictions could not and should not be resolved by armed means, suggesting that political dialogue. This was when the EPLF was militarily weak relative to its rival.|
ELF and EPLF leaders who should be blamed for the death of unknown number fighters in the civil war of 1981.[According to unofficial report the civil war of 1981 caused an estimated between 1,000 and 2,000 casualties]
|In 1981 Abdella Idris was defeated by his long rival Issayas and lost power inside Eritrea. In 1982 Abdella Idris took military action against his opponents, the leaders of the ELF-RC, and Melake Tekele was killed by Abdella Idris.|
| Melake Tekele
was not innocent of crime as he was the head of the ELF security department
which was responsible for the kidnapping, disappearance and killing of innocent
civilians and fighters from 1975-1980.
both the ELF and ELF.RC leaders have
become the main rival leaders within the opposition which caused a rift between the ELF RC and ENA in 2002. Concerning this
Sadia Ali wrote how on Earth they (ELF.RC) speak about their opposition
to Dictatorial regime in Eritrea when they walk out from the
ENA 5th regular session. Read more
The spilt of EDA in 2007 was also happened because
of the rival leaders of the ELF.RC and ELF. At the
EDA Conference which was held in Addis Abeba, 2008 Hussen Kelifay also
said that his organization was not ready to accept the candidature of ELF-RC
for the Executive Office.
there was a military clash between the ELF-PLF-UO and the ELF-RC which caused
the deaths of an unknown number of fighters from both sides
• In 1986 the ELF-RC was also attacked by the EPLF
• In 1988 the EPLF attacked the ELF-PLF UO and unknown number of fighters of ELF-PLF UO were killed includes its military commander Tesfay Mehere
The opposition leaders' unwillingness to consolidate the Eritrean people's struggle against this autocratic government has a history going back to the 1970s when they set back the victory of the liberation struggle in 1978 just 30 years ago. Regarding this Wolde Giorgis(1989: 93) wrote that the ELF and EPLF had the power to take Asmara, but at the last minute their mutual hatred proved stronger than their hatred of the Ethiopian army. He adds that, they lost their opportunity because they could not come to an agreement.
If there were genuine leadership inside the opposition groups in 2001, this autocratic regime would not have remained in power until now. However, the opposition groups leaders have contributed greatly to prolong this dictatorship.
To conclude it is not the intention of
this paper to detail the problems of the opposition leaders, but this
is just to highlight that the mistakes of the former revolutionary leaders
and their collaborators are being repeated by the people who lead the
| EHREA Eritrean Human Rights
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