The Daring ELF Operation of Haikota July/August 1963
An ELF unit led by Adem Mohamed Hamid planned to attack and take control of the police station in Haikota. At the beginning of the armed struggle, it was the police force that got engaged with the ELF units. The Haikota Station was an essential outpost for that purpose. An ELF fighter, Mebrahtu Tseggai, from Ashera nicknamed, Agaat, was sent to Haikota to survey the possibility and collect information. When he finished his mission, he reported to the Head of the unit Adem Mohamed Hamid, nicknamed ‘Gendifil’-elephant soldier that it was possible. Gendefil then went to Haikota disguised as a mad person and confirmed it was indeed feasible. Before the operation, a policeman from Bushuka station, Omer Dini, had defected to the ELF with some weapons.
According to the plan, the unit stopped a passenger bus near Haikota. The bus was on its way to Tessenei. The driver was Abu Humed. The fighters, some of them unarmed, known then as ‘Kolei’ stopped the bus before it reached Haikota. They politely asked all the passengers to disembark near a place with Trees and water. They took over the van and drove to Haikota, singing marriage songs. They stopped in front of the police station and immediately attacked and took control of the station. In the exchange, there were some casualties in the police. But not from the fighters. The police were taken by surprise.
The fighters took 35 rifles (Abu Ashara), 60 hand grenades, and two light machine guns for the first time. They drove the bus into the wilderness, but the bus got stuck in a river-bed, not far from the town. So they had to carry all the weapons for a long distance. This incident paved the way for the battle of Togoruba that took place on 15th March 1964, which was the first confrontation with the Ethiopian army.
Source: ELF records and interviews with persons who knew about the operation