Crimes Against the Eritrean People (1958-2008)
In this 47th year of commemoration of the beginning of
the armed struggle for national liberation, this paper argues that the
Eritrean struggle for liberation was not started 47 years ago on 1st September
1961 but 50 years ago in 1958 when the Eritrean flag was lowered and only
the Ethiopian flag was permitted, and political rights and civil liberties
came to an end in 1958 in violation of the of UN 390(AV) Resolution. This
violation led to the rebirth of the Eritrean people's struggle for independence
We need to distinguish the Eritrean people's struggle which began in 1958
from the armed struggle which was launched in 1961 by Idris H. Awate,
leader of the Eritrean Liberation Front’s military wing. When we
look back to our history of the struggle for independence the ELF leaders
intentionally undermined the genuine initiation of the struggle by the
ELM. However the timing of the armed struggle was launched just in mere
competition with the Eritrean Liberation Movement (Haraket) by
the ELF leaders without any clear programme.
Neither the ELF nor EPLF were founded by genuine leaders. The only genuine
and progressive liberation movement was started in 1958 by the Eritrean
Liberation Movement ( Harakat) whose members believed that Muslim
and Christian are brothers and their unity make Eritrea one. Regarding
this there is more explanation of this in sections 3.1and
3.2 of this paper.
The start of the armed struggle became an incentive for many of the youth
to join the armed struggle but they became victms of the former revolutionary
leaders' power struggle. During the liberation struggle the ELF and EPLF
leaders never hesitated to eliminate anyone who challenged them. For example
Menkaa in the EPLF and Falul in the ELF. This paper also provides an overview
of the crimes committed by the former revolutionary leaders and their
collaborators who are now members of the Eritrean government and opposition
groups. They have refused to acknowledge their crimes and apologise
to the Eritrean people.
The facts and evidence of this paper clearly show that disappearances,
conspiracies, killings and executions in Eritrea did not start after liberation
in 1991 or 2001 but have a history going back
to the 1960s. To mention a few: the liquidation
of the Harakat fighters by the ELF in 1965; the
execution of 27 ELF fighters by Hishal, deputy commander of the fifth
zonal division in 1967, the killing of hundreds of fighters (Siray Sriya
Addis Abeba) by the ELF ca1969 , the purge of the democratic movement
(Falul movement , Menkaa
movement and others) by the ELF and EPLF in the 1970s
Like the execuation and killing of innocent fighters and civilians
during the liberation struggle, the killing of innocent citizens has
never stopped. In fact it got much worse during the broader conflict as
many members of the Eritrean Defence Force were executed by the order
of their own military commanders, and after the Reformist movement 2001.
It is very sad that in commemorating Martyrs' day neither the ELF nor
the EPLF former revolutionary leaders never wanted to officially honour
those fighters who were killed by the EPLF and ELF security forces or
special units through their leaders’ orders.
The reason for documenting crimes committed against civilians
and fighters over the last 50 years by the Ethiopian government, ELF and
EPLF during the liberation struggle, and by the EPLF/PFDJ after the liberation
is to make the younger generation aware of those crimes. It is also to
tell the public the truth that the Eritrean liberation struggle started
50 years ago in 1958 and not in 1961 and that Idris H. Awate was the first
martyr in the Eritrean armed fight against Ethiopian annextion. There
were other martyrs before him like those who lost their lives in a general
strike protesting against the violation of the of UN 390(AV) Resolution
by the Ethiopian government in 1958, and others who sacrificed their lives
for the freedom of Eritreans before 1958, such as Abdulkadir Kebire who
was assassinated by members of the Unionist Party in 1949.
Therefore, this paper convey the message that the Eritrean
people should learn from their past, of their naivete in trusting those
former revolutionary leaders and their collaborators who set back the
victory of the liberation struggle in the 1970s and are still within the
opposition leadership. Apart from this it has no
other political motivation. Since these leaders have committed crimes
or colloborated with the former revolution leaders, changing the name
of an organization such as the ELF.RC to EPP does not bring a solution
since the leaders are the same people who have never wish to acknowledge
their crimes committed during the liberation struggle as will be seen
in Section 3 of this paper.
The Eritrean people do not have problems with the names of Fronts such
as the ELF, ELF.RC, EPLF etc because every Eritreans participated in those
fronts as a fighter, a member of a mass organisation or a simple supporter
during the liberation struggle, but the solution for the current problem
is not changing the name of the Front such as ELF.RC to EPP but changing
the leaders of the Front.
To make it easy for the readers there is a hyperlink
at the end of each section which might help the reader to move to the
next section. The contents are categorized
in the following sections and subsections.
1. Commemorating a martyrs’ day.
2. Chronological evidence of these
atrocities committed against civilians by the Ethiopian goverment.
3. Some evidence of the ELF and EPLF leaders' crime against
fighters and civilians.
The ELF Leaders’ crimes against the Harakat fighters in 1965.
committed by the former ELF revolutionary leaders after 1965.
3.3 The ELF
and EPLF leaders' conspiracy of killing fighters causing disappearances.
consequence of the civil war 1972-74 and accusations against leaders.
and liquidation in the EPLF 1973-1980.
and liquidation in the ELF in 1970s.
committed against ELF fighters by the EPLF in the 1980s.
committed against civilians by the EPLF and ELF in the 1970s.
4. EPLF/PFDJ crimes after liberation
4.1 Lists of disappearances
and killings from 1991 to 2001.
4.2 Brief information
on prisons and victims.
4.3 Lists of
execution of some prisoners and others since 1991.