The 20th of June is a day of commemoration for all those who sacrificed
their lives for the Eritrean struggle for independence, and for
those who lost their lives in the 1998-2000 border conflict with
Ethiopia. It is also a commemoration day for all those political
prisoners who lost their life in prison or were executed by the
Ethiopian regime during the liberation struggle.
The same day is also an honour and
a day of commemoration for all civilians, who were killed in Asmara
during the demonstrations in 1958 and later: Hazemo, Korokon in
1967; Elabared, Basik Dera Ona, Arafali , Atshoma in 1970 ; Om Hajer,
Woki Duba, Agordat, Om Hajer, Asmara in 1974 and 1975 ;Mogoraib,
Shebah, She'eb in the 1980s , and elsewhere.
During the liberation struggle thousands of civilians
became victims of the Ethiopian government and also of the ELF and
EPLF. There were many stories that the public used to hear about
crimes committed against the civilians by both fronts (ELF and EPLF)
through family and friend of the victims. Unfortunately only a few
of the accounts are recorded by Human Rights Watch.
The 20th June should be the day for remembering
to honour those innocent fighters who were killed in mysterious
circumstance or unofficially executed under different pretext by
the former revolutionary leaders (ELF & EPLF). On this Martyrs'
day, it is very painful for the families of the fallen martyrs who
were never officially told about the deaths of their loved ones,
when, in 1993, the then Provision Government of Eritrea announced
the names of martyrs.
The number of martyrs of the liberation struggle is not the officially
announced 65, 000 but higher than this number because 5, 000 innocent
fighters who were killed by the EPLF security and others were not
included. Generally the number of martyrs among civilians and fighters
is estimated to be more than a hundred thousands. Stefanos (2000)
and White (2005) reported that the number of people killed during
the 30 years of liberation war was estimated around 250, 000.
Therefore, the nation must commemorate Martyrs
Day of 20th June as a day to remember all those martyrs who were
killed in the battlefield in both pre- and post- independent Eritrea,
by the EPLF and ELF security forces or special units as well as
all the civilians who were killed by the Ethiopian army/security