The Essayas-led group was being joined by elements who were attracted by the rumour that it was 'progressive'. In fact, the group was joined by genuine militants who did their best to educate and politicize the bases of the three factions. The groups thus unified their fighters and could escape the total liquidation by the ELF. The conflict also spilled over to the Sudanese territory and the latter intervened to stop it; it was after the Sudanese intervention that the PLF could enter Eritrean territory. In 1973, the Essayas and Semhar cliques were 'merged' but failed to elect a new leadership with better political outlook. Instead, the same old fanatics were allowed to impose their will on the PLF.

It was soon after the merger that the opportunist stance of the Essayas clique was manifestly demonstrated. The clique first allowed progressive literature and political agitation among the bases; the genuine revolutionaries who joined it for such ends did play a role in the politicization work. But when this type of awakening increased momentum, the opportunist elements felt the coming danger and strengthened their suppressive machinery. The leading democrats were arrested; fighters who demanded for their release met the same fate. Aside from the suppression of the opportunist leadership, the democratic movement within the group committed gross errors and failed to conduct a successful struggle.
Essayas and clique collected all the writings of the progressive movement and burned them at a military training camp.

The leaders of the movement were then physically liquidated in a very brutal manner. Some of the leading elements of the group (sometimes known as Menka.) who were killed by Essayas and henchmen included

1)Yohannes Sebhatu; 2) Dr Russom; 3)Tareke Yehdego; 4)Mussie Tesfamichael; 5)Afeworki Teklu; 6) Habte-Selassie; 7)Aberash Melkie; 8) Dehab T/Tsion; 9) Habte Kidane (gorrilla), and 10) Debessai Ghebre-Selassie.

Following these killings, the Essayas group which preferred to be called EPLF became an absolute dictatorship. No opinion was allowed to be aired out. The choices left were either to commit suicide in various ways or to obediently execute directives passed by Essayas and the lower mortals under his command