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Liquidation in the ELF
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Brief Report on Ethiopia's Crimes Against Eritrean civilians 1961-1991

Lessons Never to be Forgotten

Part II 1960s to 1974

In 1962 Emperor Haile Sellassie unilaterally dissolved the Eritrean parliament and annexed the country

We need the Land not the People,” declared the Ethiopian emperor at the first place

Because of this policy the Second Ethiopian Army division burned many villages and killed many the unarmed civilian population.

Phase 1 : Barbaric crimes committed by the Second Ethiopian Army division in the 1960s

Based on the Human Right Watch report (1991:44) the first large-scale abuses of human rights occurred during three army offensives in 1967. Here is a short list of atrocities that committed against civilians by the Second Ethiopian Army division

  • 1965 at Merara, Hamassien province, and at Medeka, Keren province 67 men and 46 men respectively were killed by the Ethiopian soldiers.
  • On 11 of February 1967 many villages were burnt down in Barka district by the Second Ethiopian Army division. According to reports from local community leaders, 402 civilian were killed, and about 60,000 cattle and camels slaughtered with machine guns and knives and burning alive. In addition 21 detainees, most of them teachers and government employees were summarily executed in Tessenei prison on February 12.
  • Following an attack launched by the Ethiopian army against the area where the Eritrean Liberation Front was operating, 28, 600 refugees crossed into Sudan in March 1967. (Kibreab, 1987:71).
  • The February-March 1967 martyrs at the villages of  Ad-Ebrihim, Ad-Kukui, Ad-Jemil, Ad-Omer, Ad-Saydna Hamid, Ad-Gherbet, Ad-Fedl, Ad-Habab, Emtrub, Mogoraib and others in Barka  who were killed after the burning of 62 thriving villages and the machine-gunning of over 60,000 of their livestock. Renewed burning campaigns of that year killed many and displaced thousands after burning the villages of Halhal, Bab-Jengeren, Hamelmalo, Melebso,Felhit, Enchinaq,  Hashishai, Fana, Wazintet, Qamchewa, Azreqet, Habero and many others put at 173 villages by some field researchers.
  • Between February and April in 1967, the Ethiopian soldiers burned 62 villages, including Mogoraib, Zamla, Ad Ibrahim, Gerset Gurgur, Adi Bera, Asir, Fori and Ad Habab. Furthermore, 402 civilians were killed, and about 60, 000 cattle and camels slaughtered with machine guns and knives and by burning them alive. This was reported from local community leaders.
  • Between 30 April and 8 May 1967, the Ethiopian army burnt 120 villages to the ground, with an estimated 10, 000 people killed and approximately 50,000 fleeing to more secure parts of the country, or into Sudan as refugees. Eritreans for Liberation in North America,( EFLNA, 1977:23.).   Reporting on the military actions against civilians in the southern lowlands and districts surrounding the town of Keren in Senhit Province, an Ethiopian prisoner of war commented.
    " It is true that whenever we were going to or coming from a battle, we used to burn many  village s on the way, kill anyone in sight and take away whatever property we could put our hands on. For instance, I can recall, when we were engaged in a battle near Keren around December 1967, seeing many villages burnt such as Babjengen" , Halhal(cited in Eritrean People's    Liberation Front, 1982: 72). Furthermore, according to the ELF (sep.1977) report an estimated number of 40,000 civilians were massacred during the six years of the armed struggle. Over 1,500 villages were given to flames, 3,000 forced-settlers were created
Between Feb. and June 1967 the following criminal acts were committed by the Ethiopan army
Province Villages leveled Civilians massacred Livestock killed
Barka 80 700 600, 000
Semhar 10 98 600
Senhit 176 uncounted uncounted
Akele Guzai 86 148 7, 000
Total 352 946+ 67,000+
Source ELF Foreign Information Centre Sept.1976
  • On 11 July in 1967 the villages of Eilet and Gumhot were burned, and 30 young men tied up and burned alive inside a house. Five other villages were burned over the following days, 51 people killed. 6, 000 domestic animals were killed. According to reports the soldiers singled out camels for slaughter, because they were vital for transport. Wolde Giorgis (1987:82) also cited those soldiers slaughtering cattle, eating what they wanted, and then leaving the rest to rot. He adds that sometimes soldiers would kill cattle just to get the livers.
  • In November 1967, almost all the villages of Senhit 174 in all were destroyed by soldiers from the Second Ethiopia Army Division . Some reliable sources reported atrocities included: Kuhul and Amadi: the army ordered the people to collect in one place, where they were bombed by air force planes
  • Asmat: the army opened fire on a wedding party, killing an unknown number
  • In 1967, over 40 men were slit on the neck in front of their children and wives at Misyam
  • The August 1967 wanton killings and burning of the villages of Ailet, Asus, Weqiro, Figret, ShebaH, Gedged, Gemhot, Metkel-Abet and many others.
  • The summer-autumn 1967 killings and burning in highland Eritrea and destroying wiping out whole villages and property in the Hazemo-Hazo valleys and plains, at Fishey-Merara,  Deg’A, Arebet, Diyat, Timza’e, Mai Chada, Endazmach-Ogbit and other localities.  These were followed by grisly massacres like the one at Misyam where the over 40 men were slit on the neck in front of their children and wives.
  • In 1969, marshal law was proclaimed, as armed resistance became stronger. Haile Selassie used to say that ‘We need the land but not the people'. Ethiopia first attacked the lowlands, and gradually the whole Eritrea was on fire, except the cities. In the lowlands, villages were burned to ashes and its inhabitants slaughtered, and some children were found sucking the breast of their dead mothers. He had problems governing Eritrea as a whole. (Cbaac, 2008)
  • 40th Anniversary of Hazemo Massacre Commemorated
  • Said Beshir has been captured alive and executed in public the at Edaga Hamus (Asmara) in the late of 60's. He is the first ELF freedom fighter POW hanged in Asmara read more

ስዒድበሺር (ገሲር)

ኣብ ቤት ፍርዲ!

ፈራዳይ ኣቶ በላቸው ይበሃል፡ ብዝገብሮ ዝነበረ ገፋዒ ፍርድታት ከኣ እቲ ስሙ በላቸው ኣቶ ለስቅላት ኢልና ክንጽውዖ ጀሚርና ኔርና፡፡


ኣብ መጋባእያ ፍርዲ እትው ምስ በለ፡ ኣቶ ለሰቅላት (በላቸው) ንስሙ ጽውዕ ኣቢሉ ንስኹም ዓዲ የብልኩም ዓውዲ ደቂ ጀበርቲ፡ ካብ ወዲ ኸቢረ ጀሚርኩም ንኢትዮጵያዊት ኤርትራ ብምስልና እምነትኩም ኣወሃሂድኩም ናብ ዓረብ ክትሸጥዋ ትጽዕሩ ዘለኹም ልዕሊኡ ስለ ዘየሎ እምበር ፍርዲ ሞት እውን እናወሓደኩም እዩ እሞ ንሞት ፈሪደካ ኣሎኹ በሎ፡፡

ቅጽል ኣቢሉኸኣ!



ነቲቃላትኣቶስቅላት (በላቸው) ሰሚዑ፡ኣነስዒድበሺርይበሃልጽሩይሰረወታይ (ሰራዮ) ኤርትራዊእየ፡፡ኢትዮጵያትበሃልኣደየብለይን፡፡ኣይሸፈትኩንከኣ፡ሸፊቱብሒቱንውዕልሕቡራትመንግስታትጠሊሙዘሎጃንሆይካእዩ፡፡ዝዘመተድኣምሕረትይሕትትእምበር፡ዝተዘምተምሕረትኣይሓትትንእዩ፡፡ንኤርትራኣደይከኣእትርእዩዘሎኻ (ንማህረምቱማለትእዩ) ክሳዕሩሔይ (ህይወተይ) ትሓልፍካብኢድሸፋቱጎይታኻነጻከውጽእዝመሓልኩእየእሞጨሓምሰራቒ (ጃንሆይማለትእዩ) ካብኤርትራትወጽእወይሳዕቤንተመጽእ? በሎ፡፡ ነታ ዝተወፈየትሉ ናይ ምሕረት ምሕታት ኣብዩ ብ1972 ኣብ ኣስመራ ዕዳጋ ከብቲ ዕዳጋ ሓሙስ ብዝተወሰኖ ፍርዲ ሞት ተሓኒቑ፡ ኣብ ታሪኽ ሰውራ ንመጀመርያ ብፍርዲ ጸላኢ ዝተሓንቀ ጅግና ክቡርን ስውእና እዩ፡፡ እቲ ከምዚታት ዓይነት ጅግንነት ከኣ እዩ ኤርትራውያን ኣቢሉ ዘሔብነና ዝነበረ፡ ብወዳብት፡ግርማይኪዳነ (ወዲፊሊፖ) ሚላኖኢጣል [read more]

Despite the Ethiopia army killed many civilians from Arafali, Atshoma, Ona etc. and burnred their villages between 1967 and the early 1970s, Issays held secret talks with the CIA in order to eliminate the ELF which he achieved in 1981. Regarding his secret meeting with the CIA, Amar(2004) states that Wodi Giorg , who was at the meeting with Issays and Col. Mamuzer Copland on 2 Jun 1981ly 1970(note), had an interview with the local press in Addis which appeared in an Amharic newspaper called "Senay", volume 1 number 3 of February 1993. A short while later, Wodi Giorgio was shot dead in front of his Addis Ababa house in order to keep the meeting secret.
Phase II : Barbaric crimes committed by the Second Ethiopian Army division in the early 1970s
    The civilians became victims of the Ethiopian atrocities because of rivalry continuation between Idris M.Adem and Sabbe which cause for the two years civil war in the early 1970s
  • In March 1970 32 civilans were shot dead when the army burned Arafali village. 88 people were executed when the people of Atshoma refused army order to relocated in a protected village this was in March of 1970. as a result of this 700 refugees fled to Sudan, mostly to the Tokar area along the Red Sea coast.
  • The period from April to July witnessed many atrocities as military activities spread to eastern lowlands. 32 civilians were sho dead when the army burned eastern lowlands.
  • 88 people were executed when the people of Atshoma, Arafali village refused army orders to locate in a protected village. Violence against the civilian population increased towards the end of the 1970s
  • In November, 112 people were killed in a mosque at Basadare. The people were collected in the mosque by soldiers who said they would be safe there from a planned air strike; the soldiers then opened fire.
  • The December 1970 massacre of 78 men in Wara, Hamassien and many other atrocities committed under the imperial regime of Haile Selassie.
  • The massacre at Besikdira (12 km east of Keren town) on November 30 1970
  • The massacre at Besikdira (12 km east of Keren town) occurred the day before Onna (December 1,  near Keren) on November 30 1970. The village was completely burned and ca 1000 individuals were killed. The massacre of 120 innocent victims of Besikdira, 714 innocent people massacred in Ona and the burning of the villages in the Sequina area by the Ethiopians as it appeared on one of the publications of Franciscan publications. Read more
  • Another was the destruction of the village of Ona on December 1, in which an estimated 625 people were killed.

  • Source
  • On January 27, 1971, about 60 civilians, most of them elderly people, were killed by soldiers in a mosque in the village of Elabored.
  • ናይ ፖለቲካ ኡሱራት ኣብ ቤት ማእሰርቲ ሰምበል......
    .(ብኢያሱ ይስሃቅ ሎንዶን)

    ናይ ፖለቲካ ኡሱራት ኣብ ቤት ማእሰርቲ ሰምበል ዝነበሩ ካብ 1958 ክሳብ 3 /02 /1975
    ብጀጋኑ ፊዳኢን ሕድራይን ዓንዳይ ተከስተን ዘለውዋም ተጋደልቲ
    ተ.ሓ.ኤ ነዞም ኣስማቶም ኣብ ታሕቲ ተዘርዚሩ ዘሎ እሱራት ሓራ ኣውጺኦምና፡
    (ብኢያሱ ይስሃቅ ሎንዶን)


Eritrean Martyrs’ Day

List of massacres committed during the Eritrean War of Independence



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