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Victories of the Eritrean Struggle and Dominance of the National Force

In January 1977, the People’s Liberation Front held its first congressional meeting, and passed a resolution to change its name to the Eritrean People Liberation Front. The Front was also developed to be a strong unified front with definite strategies to liberate the people and land of the country.

In the same year, K’rora was liberated making it the first town liberated by the Eritrean People Liberation Front (EPLF).  Nakfa was also liberated after for a siege that lasted months: the Derg regime attempted time and again to regain control of the town by launching massive attacks from Keren which were only futile., and  Nakfa   was liberated in March 22, 1977. The liberation of Nakfa was also the operation that transformed the EPLF’s attack strategy into more reliable guerrilla war strategy, and two weeks after the liberation of Nakfa, the town of Afabaet was liberated in 6th of April, 1977.   The victories of the EPLF in those towns threatened the very existence of the Derg regime and as a result, it began to accumulate forces around urban centers so as not to lose control over them. The victories of the EPLF in  the towns of Afabet and Nakfa was heard over the entire world, the Derg, ashamed of its defeat began to ask for arms assistance from the United States of America, but it was further disappointed by the little  weaponry  it got from America. So this called for a total reversal of maneuvers, began asking assistance from the former Socialist camp headed by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

Leaders of the former Soviet Union who had hidden latent desire for ensuring their presence in the strategic Horn region, agreed to supply the requirements of the regime and began shipping massive amounts of armaments, ammunitions and military hardware to Ethiopia.

With a large cache of weapons now on its disposal, the Derg commenced launching various attacks to regain the cities it had lost the liberating forces. It was once again futile, . Meanwhile the EPLF launched attacks in the towns of Keren and Dekamhare, in the subsequent attacks, while Keren was liberated in July 8, 1977 and Dekamhare was freed in July 6, 1977.

Mounting the attacks further, the EPLF liberated the towns of Segeneyti and Digsa in July 30, 1977.  The artilleries and weaponry that were captured during the operations to liberate Keren bolsteredd the arms capacity of the EPLF forces, which was a major factor in the victory of the Front in liberating the aforementioned towns. Asmara, the capital city of Eritrea, was at this time sieged from the North, South and South-west   It seemed the only life line remaining for the regime was the Asmara-Massawa route.

Again the EPLF cut the route by launching an offence at Mai-Atal in October 1977, and destroyed the force stationed there.

In the mean time, Ethiopia was also engaged in a conflict with Somalia and the leaders of the former Soviet Union shifted their alliance with Somalia and started assisting the Ethiopian Regime: political advisors and military officials begun to arrive from the former Soviet Union, Cuba and South Yemen to help the Derg. Satisfied by the aid it was getting, Derg begun attacks from the Asmara-Massawa road but all attempts of the regime ended in utter failure. In November the war continued and the Ethiopian government had inflicted massive casualities, especially in the battle of Semhar .The regime was defeated completely and was forced to flee to its base in Gindae and Massawa abandoning its wounded and dead army.

The advisors from Soviet were shocked by the latest victories of the EPLF and the situation in Somalia, as a result they begun to call for a peaceful resolution of the conflict until they figure out the situation.  Although, EPLF did realized the hidden agenda of the Soviets, to prove that the aim of the front was to serve justice and peace it accepted the call and met the representatives of the Derg regime in East-Germany. EPLF proposed the only way to end the war peacefully is for the Derg regime to accept the right of the Eritrean people to independence but the Derg whose only agenda was to buy itself sometime within which it could train an army and launch attacks on the EPLF paid little heed to the rights and desires of the Eritrean people, as a result it rejected the proposal and the meeting ended without any fruit.

In December of 1977, EPLF attacked the force in Massawa and liberated half of the port city. At the beginning of 1978, EPLF forces moved to the highlands and liberated the towns of Dongolo, Gindae, Embatkala and Nefasit.  The success of the aforementioned battles made the siege of Asmara complete, Asmara, at this time was sieged from all directions.

In the other end, the ELF liberated the towns of Omnahajer, Tessenai, Adi-Quala, Mendefera and Akordat. In the year 1978, with the exception of the towns of Assab, Asmara, Adi-kehi, Barentu and half of Massawa the entire country was in the hands of either the EPLF or the ELF.


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