Silver jubilee of the demise of Nadew Command will be commemorated March 17 through 19 in Afábet under the banner theme” “Demise of Nadew Command, a Turning Point Feat!” It was 25 years ago, on March 17 to 19, 1988, that our freedom fighters accomplished a turning point feat in the history of Eritrea’s liberation struggle that dealt once and for all a blowing defeat by laying a siege to a formidable enemy command– otherwise known as the Nadew Command–which had constituted a significant portion of the Ethiopian Derg army around the Nakfa Front.
Deemed to be one of the world’s military feats for its remarkability in military strategy, scale and thunderbolt tactics, obliteration of the 165 km long well-fortified frontline of colonial Ethiopia at Nakfa through a 72-hour military operation enabled 70 km penetration deep into the enemy-held territory by ushering in the EPLF’s transition from years of revolutionary standoff to strategic military offensive.
This special operation against the Nadew Command was born out of years of standoff with the enemy as the large-scale military assault was a very significant and strategic one for which Eritrean freedom fighters had already sacrificed a great deal of perseverance and time.
Thus, this military Operation was a cumulative result of almost 10 years long standoff of Eritrean fighters in the mountain chains of Nakfa, the northeastern Sahel front, Barka, as well as guerrilla warfare and hit-and-run attacks elsewhere in the country, to which colonial Ethiopia and the superpowers behind ultimately succumbed.
The demise of the Nadew Command did not only give way to the end of colonial era, but also added impetus to Eritrea’s liberation struggle, thereby heightening the morale of freedom fighters. Needless to say, Eritrea’s liberation in the wake of the demise of the Nadew Command was inevitable. Colonial Ethiopia, however, opted to carry on a last-ditch attempt to no avail in place of gathering the remainder of its human and material resources following the demise of Nadew. After a short period, the EPLF army liberated the entire nation and concluded the chapter of liberation struggle. This month in Eritrean history does not only chronicle the demise of the Nadew Command of 1988. The operation by Eritrean combatants that culminated in conclusive liberation of the town of Nakfa was also recorded on March 23, 1977.
March is also a month of striking heroic feats in Eritrea’s glorious history. The Eritrean youth that succeeded to freedom fighters, who brought forth national independence, once more gained command of Egri Mekel with unmatched heroic exploits in the three-day battle waged on March 14 through 16, 1999, in a bid to safeguarding Eritrea’s sovereignty against the TPLF invasion. In the battle, where more than ten infantry divisions and hundreds of tanks took part, enemy troops were appallingly driven into the narrow combat zone as cannon fodder.
What makes Eritrean history distinctly impressive is that the small people of the tiny nation emerged victorious on its own over the successive colonial regimes that had counted upon boundless provision of the superpowers. All these major military exploits performed in the month of March shall stand out glorious to posterity