Despite the fact that the Derg regime was heavily defeated in the five invasions it launched, it still took a substantial amount of time to prepare itself with armaments and human resources for another big offensive, the sixth offensive, “Keyih Kokob”. As part of this latter invasion, the regime deployed thousand of special trained soldiers with various sophisticated weaponry and armament. The invasion was different than the previous invasions because this time the regime was determined to end the Eritrean people struggle for liberation. A number of seminars and meetings were held all over the country including in other parts of the world in a bid to persuade other parties that the invasion has the support of the Eritrean and Ethiopian people. It also issued development programs that seem to benefit the people of Eritrea and various propaganda campaigns were launched. As a result, every one was eager to see the outcomes of the war.
The sixth invasion also is known as the “Wefri Keiyh Kokob” started in February 15, 1982 and continued for ninety- five days. This was one of the severe wars and was followed with some small skirmishes until it ended with total defeat of the regime. The invasion ended with the victory of the EPLF, and the regime lost around 40 thousand of its soldiers and surrendered large number of its weaponry deployed in the country during the invasion.
The sixth invasion also played vital contribution in the history of Eritrean people struggle for independence because starting from the 1979 attack in Nakfa and Northern Sahel frontiers, the Derg regime was having a number of preparations to end the struggle once and for all. As a result, it was launching continuous attacks for two years until the beginning of the sixth invasion which made the EPLF forces be engaged in a continuous defense wars. The victory achieved from the six invasions assured the existence of the struggle and the front.
After the strategic withdrawal ELF were moved to be stationed in the lower part of the Barka region , and the third unit also known as “Sabe’s Unit” was also stationed in the lower Barka region. Being stationed in the place where the ELF was first established and having the support of majority of the inhabitants didn’t make the ELF happy, and as a result ELF forces begun launching attacks against the third unit until it withdraw to areas bordering the Sudan.
Meanwhile, violating previous agreements the ELF leadership begun to takeout soldiers from their deployment station of joint frontier and this were a huge betrayal because it was a tough time to the EPLF, this took place in 1980.
Before the aforementioned betrayal, they also had begun to attack EPLF forces in Denakalia and in a number of other places. After withdrawing ELF soldiers from the joint frontier the front begun to officially launch attacks against EPLF forces. And until 1981 there was a severe civil war between the two fronts and in 1981 ELF forces fled to Sudan and divided into a number of small units.
To be continued…