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Military Developments between the Strategic Withdrawal and the Second Congress

Military developments registered between the strategic withdrawal and the second congress is categorized in three stages.

The First Stage

The first stage includes the period the first to the fourth offensives.  As previously mentioned, the strategic withdrawal of EPLF forces was in July 1978, and the first offensive continued until the end of August. In this offensive, EPLF forces withdraw from their fronts South of Asmara and North of Embaderho village. The Second offensive started in December 20 of 1978 and continued till the end of the month, during this time the Front withdrew from its East and South Keren fronts.

The third offensive was held from January 1979 to February 9, 1979 in the fronts of Anseba, Mai’emedo, and North Sahle and around Nakfa-Denden.   In the following months of March and April were the fourth offensive allegedly aimed to destroy the North Sahel and Nakfa fronts but those latter attempts were ended in utter failure. During those four offensives, the EPLF forces fought with great determination and patriotism.  During those times the front was not only engaged in defending, it also had launched various attacks in places under enemy control.

On those four consecutive offensives the loss of enemy forces was around 25 thousand of its soldiers. Although, it reduced the speed of the attacks, the enemy was still eager to conduct another larger offensive.

The Second Stage
The second stage includes the successive attacks launched on July 8, 1979 that continued to the end of the month, this is the fifth offensive. During this invasion, enemy forces lost 12 thousands of their soldiers and faced huge amount of material loss.  The offensive ended up with the defeat of the enemy forces with a huge victory to EPLF forces and had the big psychological and moral effect on the enemy forces. Victories of the fifth offensive also gave a moral boost to EPLF forces to launching further attacks against enemy forces; as a result the first attack was launched in Nakfa in December of 1979. EPLF forces also launched another attack in the Northern Sahel frontier, the outcome of those two attacks were huge that the enemy forces were heavily defeated losing around 15 thousand soldiers.  Enemy forces were also forced to withdraw to their base in Afabet, to the lowlands. This victory was not only a success in the military sector, but it also conveyed a message to many that believed the strategic withdrawal was the end of the Eritrean People armed struggle for independence.

To be continued ……………….


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