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Military Developments between the Strategic Withdrawal and the Second Congress (Part IV)

Continuing its attacks, EPLF launched several acute attacks in western part of the country that were under the full control of the enemy forces. As part of these attacks, in July 5, 1985 EPLF launched an attack on the town of Barentu and defeated the huge force deployed in the town.  Unable to accept its defeat, the Derg regime gathered all its soldiers from all over the country including those deployed in Ogaden and launched counter-attacks until August 26, 1885 where it recaptured the towns of Barentu, Tessenei and Aligidier. The battle of Barentu did slow down the pace of the EPLF attacks but still damage was done to enemy forces where it lost thousands of its soldiers.

After the battle of Barentu, enemy forces launched another attack known as the Bahri Negash Invasion on October 10, 1985. Believing that this was this would be the one and last attack that was going to destroy the struggle, the regime launched huge force with heavy armaments. But these latter attacks were ended in utter failure in December 4, 1985 where the enemy lost around 17 thousand of its soldiers.

In 1986 the regime was unable to launch attacks, in the contrary EPLF was registering huge victories along with the previous attacks in areas fully controlled by enemy, and the ambush and commando operations underway in various parts of the country which makes the victories of front remarkable.

During the time from the strategic retreat to the second congressional meeting, March 1987, there were a number of military conflicts that make clear two important things in the struggle of the Eritrean People to liberation.

First, it made clear that the Derg regime is not going to solve the inquiry of the Eritrean people to liberation peacefully. Despite the fact, that Ethiopia was under a constant drought and famine the regime was engaged in buying various armaments and weaponries to destroy the armed struggle of the Eritrean people.  And still the regime was unable to defeat EPLF and was facing huge military and political loses. In contrary to the reality, the former Soviet Union continues to extend its assistance to support the regime.

Second, the long and bitter battles make clear the existence of EPLF and the armed struggle. The latest victories of the battle elucidates the inquiry of the Eritrean people for liberation can’t be destroyed through force and that EPLF will fight until the liberation of the people and the country accomplished.

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