To raise the Ethiopian public against Eritreans and their struggle, Emperor Haileselassie began to propagate that the Arab countries are invading Ethiopia through Eritreans. As a result, many Ethiopians held large demonstrations against Arab countries and Eritreans in various cities of the country. The Emperor also declared “a state of emergency” in Eritrea and had the country under his military governance. He launched large invasions in the former Senhit and Mensa’e districts were number of villages were burned and a large number of civilians were killed and bombarded. Ona was one of the villages that were destroyed during those invasions. As a result, large number of the inhabitants of the area fled to Sudan.
Due to the People’s Liberation Front engagement on the civil wars against Qeyada Al-Ama and the other replacement fronts enemy forces were gaining strength. Despite this fact, the people of Eritrea who couldn’t tolerate the atrocities committed by the colonizers and their co-operatives were joining the liberation struggle in large numbers. Threatened by the continuous flow of the people to the struggle and the victory of the People’s Liberation Struggle over the ELF, Emperor Haileselassie launched large forces to Sahel.
There was a 16 days war against this huge force, from December 12, 1973 to January 11, 1974, in a frontier that covers the area from Alakieb to Algien, Sahel. On this war around 400 enemy troops were both dead and injured, and finally the defeated force returned to Asmara. This was a big victory to the People’s Liberation Front, and the force returned to Asmara, 2nd Division, begun inquiring salary raise, official funeral of low-ranking officers and demanded to end the war.
Meanwhile there was wide spread hunger in Ethiopia. Despite the situation in the country, large amount of the country’s budget was spent on the attacks against the People’s Liberation forces. Triggered by the oppositions of the 2nd Division in Eritrea, the people of Ethiopia begun numerous upraises. The uprising of the soldiers and general public of Ethiopia created political chaos in the country which able the Eritrean People’s Liberation Struggle to move forward.
The End of the Civil War
After the victory of the People’s Liberation front in Sahel, the front starts to move to the highlands of the country which have greater population and large number of enemy forces. In here, the main purpose of the move was to raise the awareness and participation of the public, and to have operations of greater impact. Despite the efforts of the People’s Liberation Front to diplomatic dialogue between the forces: ELF forces tried to halt the move to the highlands, and start to ambush the fighters of the People’s Liberation Forces. The attempts of ELF were ended in utter failure where ELF forces fled to East of Karneshim.
The Force controlling the highlands, Mejelis Al’Seweriya, was campaigning that the People’s Liberation Front was defeated and had fled to Sudan: that the front has ties with the enemy: the move to the highlands was also a proof to the false campaigns of Mejelis Al’Seweriya.
The people of Eritrea have a firm stance against the civil war. At the beginning the war was in the valleys and mountains of Sahel far from the areas were majority of the populations of the country settled later the war became near to the villages and towns: then the elders of those areas start to call for peace among the fronts. The public also tried to create a dialogue between the fronts through a council of elders elected from the areas occupied by both fronts.
To be continued ……..