Prisoners death records  







Mysterious death of Ibrahim Afa
Mysterious death of Abraham Tewelde

Liquidation in the ELF
index sitemap advanced





Crimes committed against the Eritrean people by Ras Alula and Emperor Menelik II of Ethiopia

Ras Alula

When Atse Yohannes took over in Tigray, the highlands of Eritrea were autonomous regions ruled by local families. Ras Woldemikael Solomon, ruler of Hamasein (1841 – 1879) from Hazega replaced Ras Hailu Tecle Haimanot of Tsatzega who was close to Atse Tedros. Ras Alula raided and pillaged several parts of Eritrea at different times before and after his appointment as Governor of Seraye, Hamassein and Akle Guzai on 9th October, 1876. His was the first non-Eritrean to rule the highlands of Eritrea. The only way he could feed his large army was to raid different parts of Eritrea and loot livestock and other property. Yet he never succeeded in having full control of Eritrea.

 The Christian elite  of Eritrea never forgave Alula for putting an end to their political autonomy  and for deposing their regional leader Ras Walda Mikael   px
Ras Alula had mobilised a 20, 000 man army in Tigre and on the first Saturday  after Mesqal 27/ 1878 he crossed the Marab and entered Hamasen. An advance guard cut the Hamasen –Bogos road to block Walda Mikael’ escape route( Haggai Erlich's, "Ras Alula". P 27)

In July 1879  with Walda Mika el in his camp Allula crossed the Merab and camped at Gura in Akalla Guzay.. The French  in Massawa were concerned about a possible Ethiopan advance, especially  to Bogos, where their Lazzarist missionaries
(whose religious activities Yohannes denounced) had also served the Egyptian cause and had harboured Ethiopian outlaws like Walde-Mikael and Bahta Hagos.

In August 1879 Alula ordered his deputy Walda Mikael to send his troops forward. Commanded by one of Walda Mikael devoted Kantiba Shawish, the Ethiopian army entered Bogos, and taxed the various tribes, Europian colonists and missionaries.

After Alula arrival in Hamasen in 1879, Allula had renewed commerce with Massawa, hitherto adversely affected by the Egyptian campagn and the struggle with Ras Walda Mikael. From that moment, Alula did his best to secure the trade route to the coast in spite of the international problems involved.. His main interest was the highly profitable arms trade, for which the ras was in constant commercial relations with various Greek traders in Massawa. 

In 1880 Alula raid  Bogos and  took 10, 000  head of cattle Alula led another expendition to Bogos in December 1881 on 16 January camped with his army at Debra Sina and published an awadj regarding rates of taxes for the neighbouring tribes.  Most of these unfortunate people reported the new French vice consul at Massawa. “Bring the tax”, while Rashed Pasha [the Egyptian commander] who cannot protect them, burn their villages

Around 15 of Febrary Alula pillaged for two day in the Ad-Tamaryam and Bedjuk countries and returned to Addi Taklay with 7-8 000 sheep and goats, almost as many cattle, and some 15, 000 thalers(Maria Theresa dollars)[Haggai Erlich's, "Ras Alula"34-35 pages

On the Massawa-Tigre caravan route, the tiny little village of Asmara described as numbering  150 inhabitant in 1830 was chosen by Alula as his commercial headquarters. In 1880(or even before) . Alula appointed  a naggad ras there to organise the caravans. At the beginning of 1881 Rohlfs reckoned the populations of Asmera as numbering  a few hundered.In early 1884 Wylde estimated three hundred houses and a population of   two thousand.(Haggai Erlich's, "Ras Alula" P82

At the end of September 1880 he led his 12,000 man army into the Ansaba valley. On 10 October 1880, Alula crossed the river towards Keren near the Egyptian post of Shabbab. A detachment was sent to neutralize the fort of Sanhit (Keren), while the bulk of his army marched to the Halhal high plateau and established a fortified camp on top of a mountain. Here, Alula stayed for three weeks, dispatching strong raiding parties against the Habab, Beni Amer, Mensaa, Barka and others.
On 15 February 1882, Alula pillaged for 2 days Ad-Tamaryam and Bejuk and returned to Adi Teklay with about 7000- 800 sheep and goats , similar number of cattle and 15, 000 (Maria Theresa dollars).

Alula used the Bogos expedition to engineer Walda –Mikael’s fall. He refrained from sending troops towards Massawa, and thus Walda Mikael remained at Gura surrounding  by Alula’s men, while his most loyal followers were raiding Bogos.

According to Hamasen oral tradition, Alula falsely accused Walda-Mika el’s nephew, Kantiba Haylu to whom Alula had promised the governorship of Hazaga, testified against his uncle, while potential witnesses for the defendant were intimated. Together with his son, Dadjazmach Mesfen and Ledj Hayla Malakot, and his son in law, Balambaras Kefle Iyasus, the ras was arrested  and  sent to Yohannes in Adwa

The emperor was not totally convinced about the plot, and in any case Alula, as a ras, was not superior to Walda Mikael, so it was up to the emperor to do justice.
In December 1879 Yohannes rescinded the verdict and ordered Alula  and  Walde Mikael to Dabra Tabor for a hearing. Alula repeated his accusations, and placed Yohanneses in the postion of having to choose between his faithful servant and the former rebel  Wald Mikael was subsequently condemned and in January 1880, was put on Amba Salama with his sons. Walda Mikael was the last hereditary rulers to hold power in the Mareb Mellas. People in Eritrea still recall Allula’s name in that connection.(Haggai Erlich's, "Ras Alula" P74-75)
The establishment of Asmara, Alula’s capital from late 1884

On 12 May 1885, at head of 5,000 troops, the Alula encircled 1,000 followers of Shaykh ·Abd al-Qadir of the Habab who was collaborating with Mahdist leader, Osman Digna near Amba and annihilated a third of them.

On 22 November 1886, he pillaged the Baria and Kunama, took all their livestock and killed about 2/3 of them. A memory that is fresh on the folktales of the Baria and Kunama.
Ras Woldemikael, Bahta Hagos, Kifleyesus and the Tigrian renegade Dabbab with his Assawota fighters resisted his presence (Erlich 1997, 11-16, 25, 32-34). The Beni Amer and Ras Woldemichael fought on the side of the Egyptians at Gura against Alula. The Italians were able to control most parts of Eritrea peacefully as the people were fed up with Alula’ incursions. He even changed the demography of Hamasein as many of his soldiers settled there.

Ras Alula committed many atrocities in the different parts of Eritrea, but this was his biggest blunder. On 22 November 1886 (this day, 130 years ago), Ras Alula, the army general of Atze Yohannes IV of Tigray having failed to beseige Kassala that was protected by the Mahdists and so badly in need of the prestige of a victory; ordered the ruthless massacre of the Baria and Kunama in south west Eritrea and by the last week of November that year his army massacred about two-thirds (67%) of the Baria and Kunama population of Eritrea - Alberto Pollera's "I Baria e I Cunama" (1913) pp. 50-52.Also stated in Haggai Erlich's, "Ras Alula" pp.101-102

According to oral tradition, it was Emperor Yohannes himself who told ras that the old capital of Addi Taklay “can not serve as a barrier against the enemy” The emperor sought Asmera’s establishment not merely to counter the Italians, but also to provide Alula with a province of his own.

According to Pollera Yohannes authorised Alula to confiscate one-tenth of the Marab Mellash for himself and for his officers, but this effort to crate large gults(territorial fiefs) was fiercely and successfully opposed by the local inhabitants. During his government in the Marab Mellas, Allula managed to make a few inroad into the rest system, to enable  newcomers to join the feudal upper class.( Haggai Erlich's, "Ras Alula" p82)
The first was the formulation of the Forty years right

The second was an edict which laid down that every tribute-paying  owner of land, by whatever title.
Another loophole was to give the right of inheritance  to local women, many of whom probably married Tigrean newcomers and other outsiders
Alula also reportedly exploted Hamasen’s characteristic collective village ownership of land. He confiscated one quarter of the land of such villages for the use and ownership of his Tigrean soldiers, forcing the others to compensate those deprived of their property.

In the Marab Mellash Allula’s soldiers found a new way of life and lost their interest in returning to Tigre. Allula had encouraged the settlement of his immigrant soldiers, mostly the one to two thousand devoted veterans whom he  had commanded since his days as an unknown shalaqa. They lived in the Marab Mellas, and no longer wanted to return to Tigre where they had no property. Their needs were met through land alienation and rapid integration into the Hamasen peasantry.

According to Perini, in pre-Alula times Sa zega, Godofelasi and Edaga Hamus were the main markets in the Marab Mellash, and trade was free of tax all over the country. Alula however closed all the markets and opened a big one in Asmera, at which a shum edaga, the chief of the market
Alula’s tax schedule was quite high. Merchants had to pay the relatively enormous sum of about two thalers per mule load, while a farmer an owner of two oxen, was charged  about ten thalers per annum, plus two-fifths of his production.

During Alula’s administration 1879-1889, Hamasen provided taxes of 125, 000 thalers; Akalla Guzay paid 7, 900 per annum Tribes of the Habbab, Bogos, Maria and =Banu Amir paid a total of around 7, 750 thalers per annum.[Haggai Erlich's, "Ras Alula"84-85].

Source: Erlich, Haggai (1997). Ras Alula and the scramble for Africa -a political biography : Ethiopia and Eritrea 1975-1897 book being mortal


Azieb Habtemariam ወራራት መሳፍንቲ ትግራይ ኣብ ኤርትራ ብዙሕ ሃሰያታት ኢዩ ኣሶዒቡ። ኩሉ ግን ኣይከም ኣሉላን። ራሲ ኣሉላ ክሳብ 10,000 ዝኾኑ ወተሃደራት ኢዮም ነሮሞ ኢዚኦም ድማ ካብ ህዝቢ ዓሚጾም ዝበልዑ እምበር ስሩዕ ስንቂ ዝነበሮም ኣይነበሩን። ሰራዊቱ እቲ ባዕሎም ዝዕምጽዎ ጥራሕ ዘይኮነስ ባዕሉ ብትእዛዙ ዝዝመታ ዝነበራ ጥሪት ቁጽሪ ኣይነበረንን። ኣብ ጽሕፍካ ናይ ህልቀት ህዝቢ ናራን ባዛን ጠቒስካ። መበገሲ ነገር ንሸኽ ኣረይ መራሒ ህዝቢ ናራ ዝነበሩ ንሰራዊት ዝኸውን ጥሪት ኣኻኽበለይ ንስኻን ህዝብኻን ድማ ናብ ከሰላ ምሳይ ክትዘምት ኢኻ ዝብል ትእዛዝ ህቦሞ። ሸኽ ኣረይ ግን ዝተባሃልዎ ኣይገበሩን ቁሩብ ጠበናጁን ጥሪት ጥራሕ ኣጽንሕሎም። ካብዚ ዝተላዕለ ኣሉላ ወሰን ኢሉ ኣጥፍኦም። ልቢ ዘይቆጸሩ ቆልዑትን ኣነስትን ንዕዳጋ ወሪደን። ተረፍ ድማ ገጸ በረከት ኮይኖም ንመሳፍንቲ ትግራይ ተዓዲለን። ሞሱንጀር ዝተባህለ ወጻእተይና ኣብ 1860? ምዝገባ ኩናማ ክሳብ 200,000 ከምዝነበሩ ኣ ጽሑፉ ከስፍሮም እንከሎ ጣልያን ኣብ 1905 ዝገበሮ ፈቐዳ ግን 19500 ጥራሕ ዘኒሖሞ። እታ ዕድመ ከም ማቱሳላ ፍርዲ ከም ኣሉላ.. ትበሃል ምሳሌ ካበይ ዝመጸት ኢያ ኣይርድኣንን ኢዩ።


ዓወት ዓድዋን ግዳያቱን ሃጼ መነሊክ 17 ነሓሰ 1844—– 12 ታሕሳስ 1913

Lessons Never to be Forgotten

Historical photo - صوره تاريخيه[source
هذه الصوره التقطت في عام 1896 في مستشفى ميداني في مصوع، بإرتريا. يصور العساكر الإرتريين وبعض الضباط الايطالين. ماتبقوا من المعركة التى كانت بتاريخ 1 مارس 1896، وبين الجيش الإيطالي والاثيوبي - بعد ان انتصر الإثيوبيين في تلك المعركة الشهيره وكان هناك حوالي 2000 جندي إرتري الذين كانوا في خدمة الجيش الايطالي بعضهم قتلوا وأسروا حوالي 800. و عقابا لهم على ما يعتبره الإثيوبيين خيانة، من قبض عليهم تم قطع اليد اليمنى والقدم اليسرى. وتم ذلك في دير الأنبا جاريما شرق عدوة، في منطقة تجراي في شمال إثيوبيا. توفي العديد من الأسرى. هذا الفيديو معروض في متحف الاثنوغرافيا، باستوكهولم، السويد

This photo was taken in 1896 in a field hospital in Massawa, Eritrea. It depicts Eritrean askari (soldiers) and some Italian officers. The soldiers were captured in a battle on March 1, 1896, between the invading Italian colonial army and Abyssinia (Ethiopia).

The Ethiopians won the battle and 2000 Eritrean soldiers who were in Italian service were killed and 800 were captured. As punishment for what the Ethiopians regarded as treason, the right hand and left foot of the captured were cut off. According to the Italian subtitle this was done at the monastery of Abba Garima east of Adwa, in the Tigray region in northern Ethiopia. Many of the captives died from their injuries.

This video was made for the exhibition "The Storage - An Ethnographic Treasure" displayed at the Museum of Ethnography, Stockholm, Sweden.


Mewael Mehansho Tesfalem Grande Solo ብርግጽ፡ ኣነ ከምዚ ዓይነት ኣሬሜንነት ርእየ ኣይፈልጥን። ዝገርመካ ምነሊክ ነዚ ውሳነ እዚ ዝወሰደ ብምስሳን ራእሲ መንገሻ ኢዩ። ቀቅድሚ ኲናት ዕድዋ ራእሲ መንገሻ ኣብ ውግእ ኮዓቲት ተሳዒሩ ኔሩ ኢዩ። ጠንቂ ስዕረተይ እቶም ምስ ጠላይን ወጊኖም እተዋግኡኒ ኤርትራውያን ኢዮም። ስለ ዝኮነ ካኣ ኤርትራውያን ክንምህሮም ኣሎና ብምባል ተሪሩ ተማጒቱ'ዩ ኣቑሪጽዎም። እንተኾነ
ራእሲ ወልደሚካኤል
ደጃዝማች ኣበራ ካሳ
ባሻይ ኣውዓሎምን 
ብላታ ገብረግዛብሔር ጉላይን 
ዛኣመሰሉ ተሳተፍቲ ውግእ ዓድዋ እምብዛ ኢዮም ሰምቢዶም። ንሃጼ ምኒልክ ድማ ኣትሪሮም ተማጒቶሞ። ነቶም ዝተረፉ ከባቢ 300 ዝኾኑ ካብ መቑረጽቲ ኣድሒኖሞም

800 ጉምቦ ኣእዳውን ክንድኡ ሚኢቲ ጉምቦ  ኣእጋርን።  5ይ ክፋል፡     [  

Background information




             © 2004-2017. Contact: