Eritrean Liberation Front

About Eritrea - History & Culture

After the successive trails to establish a liberation movement in the country, Eritreans residing abroad formed a new clandestine liberation movement in Port Sudan, Sudan. Osman Mohammed Said Nawed, Idris Mohammed Al-Hassen, Osman Mohammed Osman, Taher Fedab, Mohammed Faki Mahmoud and Saleh Eyed were few of those who established the Eritrean Liberation Movement (Haraka).

 

•     Guaranteeing national unity
•     Opposing any kind of segregation among the people of the country
•     Liberating the country
•    Establishing democratic Eritrea were the main aims of the movement.


This liberation movement working for the above mentioned objectives was a secret organization with its head office in Port Sudan. The aforementioned individuals were also the leaders of the movement though their post was not known officially, not even the members of the movement know their leaders. This was mainly due to the structure of the movement which organized the members in group of seven individuals where members of one group did not know members of other groups. This was done to keep the secrecy of the movement where it got its name “Mahber Shewate” and the movement was officially formed as a liberation movement in 1959.

The need to keep the movement secret was for the security of the members as well as the activities of the movement because by that time it was obvious that establishing a liberation movement in the country was nearly impossible.

“I swear to work for my country, devote my properties and life to my country and swear in the name of God or Allah that I will not jeopardize the movement’s secrets,” were the vows the members took upon their recruitment. And the vows were read in the names of God or Allah by swearing in holy books of both religions.

The Eritrean Liberation Movement began functioning as the official liberation movement of the country, and many nationals in Sudan joined the moment. Later the movement expanded and began recruiting members in the former Barka and Sahel districts and in Keren where nationals from all parts of the country and both religions began joining the movement. In the year 1960, the movement recruited a foot ball team, Adulis, which was working as a medium of recruiting youngsters in the capital Asmara, and highlands of the country. Every group of seven individuals was obligated to have a bi-weekly meeting where the members would know latest developments.

While the Eritrean Liberation Movement (Haraka) was strengthening its movement the atrocities of the colonial powers were escalating from bad to worse which led to the demand of many of the members for an armed struggle.

Despite the demands of the members of the movement, the leaders in Port Sudan denied the demand and come up with a plan that the first step was to alert the general public and afterwards the armed struggle would begin, but the difference in location among the members and the leadership did not help the movement to solve its difference.

Following such differences, nationals like Edris Mohamed Adem and Edris Gelawdiwos, who were in favor of an armed struggle for the liberation of the country established a liberation movement in Egypt, The Eritrean Liberation Front in July,1960.

What makes this latter movement different was its declaration of an armed struggle to liberate Eritrea. In September 1, 1961 Hamid Edris Awate fired the first bullet of the Eritrean people's armed struggle in the name of the Eritrean Liberation Front and many of the former liberation movements joined this newly formed front.

Though there were many that joined the Eritrean Liberation Front, there were few that remained in the Liberation Movement (Haraka) who were working to transform the movement into an armed liberation movement, despite their efforts the leaders of the Eritrean Liberation Movement (Haraka) opposes armed struggle. They even claimed that the Eritrean Liberation Front was a movement established without any research and definite aim and refused to recognize it as a movement.

The Eritrean Liberation Movement (Haraka) was the first movement to establish the idea of a movement that works for the liberation of the country and was the first to ban ethnic and religious differences created among the people by the colonial powers and was also the base for the Eritrean People's Liberation Front.

source: "Tarek Hizbi Eritrea"