The Death of Welday and Kidane

Wolday Giday & Kidane Kiflu,

Excerpt from book  “Eritrea and Ethiopia”  by Heru Tedla Bairu. 2016 page 99.

The death of  Kidane Kiflu and Welday Giday, two prominent personalities from Highlands, in March 1970 (at Hafera, the Eritrea/Sudanese border) by the General Command, Shook the Eritrean Revolution to its roots. Woldai Gidey, was a popular nationalist; and Kidane Kiflu, a scholar of the University of Addis Ababa, was an outstanding   revolutionary. He joined the  university during  the same year I graduated; he came to my attention as a result of an incident worth recounting. Like most freshmen, he shared his room with other  students; one afternoon, when his roommates were preparing themselves to spend their weekends outside the campas, I  found him in bed reading: “ The poverty of philosophy”-Marx’s response to Proudhon’s book; “ The philosophy of Poverty”.  I was perplexed by Kidane’s access to a book considered rare in those days.

The university library was devoid of Marxist  literature due to the fact that the Jesuits had zero tolerance for leftist literature. I therefore, concluded that Kidane belonged to a secret readers club. He joined the ELF in 1967, about the same time I was in Damascus. We started communicating with each other immediately, and continued the correspondence  until his death.

He wrote his letters in three copies; the original was sent to Mr Weldeab Weldemariam; while the other copies were sent to me and Naizghi Kiflue. I have no doubt in my mind  his letters are significant to the history of the ELF, for the period 1967-70. Kidane’s Tigrinya was impeccable; students of Tigrinya were impressed by his concise and elegant reporting style; above all, he was a born leader endowed with the self-effacing  personality associated with skillful organizers.

In Stockholm, we read Kidane’s letters in turns; my mother preferred, however, that I read Kidane’s letters to her aloud. I declined  to break the news of his death to my mother until she confronted me with her premonition. I never saw my mother struck by so much grief; from her reaction I was able to fathom the depth of the rage that was felt by all Eritreans over the death of these inimitable revolutionaries. This tragedy became the last straw that broke the back of the General Command. Source  Eritrea and Ethiopia  by Heru Tedla Bairu , 2006 page 99.


Additional information about Kidane Keflu

Ibrahim Berhan (2001 states that Kidane is one of those gallant and brilliant fighters,TeGaDeLTi,who was assasinated in Kassala,Sudan in the late 60s.He was not only a heroic fighter who relentlessly opposed the sectarian and backwarded political outlooks of the then Jebha,he was a decent person with exceedingly pleasant personality.Those who were incarcerated with him in Sudan's jail in the late 60s attest to those facts.Once he was released the butchers of the then Jebha killed him and put his body in a trunk of a taxi.So was the barbaric acts of QiYaDa ALaMa that left no options for the true and patriotic fighters that they have to emabark upon seeking a different path of pursuing the nationalist agendas source)

Source kab riqe -hefeneti Tekie Beyne (2009: p.123)

Source kab riqe -hefeneti Tekie Beyne (2009: p.123)



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