Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Breakdown of the 56 members of the Eritrean Assembly members of 1952 by region and political stand

Breakdown of the 56 members of the Eritrean Assembly members of 1952 whose names were posted earlier by region and stand to union with Ethiopia 

Thanks to Ghezae Zeresenay for preparing the graphs

Breakdown the Eritrean Assembly members of 1952 whose names were posted earlier by religious affiliation and by stand to union with Ethiopia.

Breakdown of the 56 members of the Eritrean Assembly members of 1952 whose names were posted earlier by religious affiliation and by stand to union with Ethiopia.

Posted in FB in Feb 2014

Thanks to  Ghezae Zeresenay, for taking the time analyse the data and prepare the graphs

Picture: Asfaha Woldemichael with Tedla Ogbit inspecting Eritrean police in the 1950s plus a note

 Picture: Courtesy Jelal Yassin

Asfaha Woldemichael with Tedla Ogbit inspecting Eritrean police in the 1950s:

 Tedla Uqbit, Brigadier-General (?-1963): an ardent Unionist who persistently worked and assisted the annexation of Eritrea. Trained under the British, Tedla Uqbit became one of the most feared Eritrean personalities during the Federation years. In 1951 the British Administration sent him for study to England. In November 1954, alongside with two other police officers, dismissed by the Chief Executive on the grounds of redundancy. Tedla Uqbit resigned from his post rather than accept a transfer to a civilian position, giving his reason that his dismissal had been due to his strong support for Union. His case was taken up by the palace, and with pressure from the Federal government, in May 1955 the Chief Executive forced to appoint Tedla Uqbit as deputy Police Commissioner with the rank of Major. In September 1955 replaced the departing Police Commissioner of Eritrea, the Briton Colonel Wright, Tedla became the Police Commissioner of Eritrea. Later in his capacity as Commissioner of Police, Tedla was to be responsible, for the dismantling of the federation. During the 1956 Assembly elections he was at the forefront in harassing anti-Unionist candidates. Although free to harass, he remained accountable to the Eritrean Supreme Court, which was headed by Sir James Shearer. Tedla Uqbit was known for his ruthless suppression of actual and anticipated dissension so that by the beginning of 1960 he had managed to muffle all signs of opposition in Eritrea. The departure of Sir James Shearer in 1959 gave him absolute power and a free hand to jail anyone with impunity. In June 1962, for his unwavering service to Ethiopia, Tedla was promoted from colonel to Brigadier-General by Emperor Haile Selassie and bestowed the title of "Commander of the order of the Honor of Ethiopia."

 During the abolition of the Federation he was the busiest man to make sure all Eritrean Assembly members available for the intended final vote to terminate the Federation. Surprisingly, nine months after the fall of the Federation he lost his life in confrontation with the regime he loyally served for years.

 When his power was considerably minimized by the Governor-General, Abiy Abebe, he began to resent Ethiopian rule and objected order. Eventually, Tedla declared that he had restored the Federation and ordered all his subordinates including all police heads of each division in the territory, to stay in standby position until further order. In his futile attempt of restoring the federation back, he had contacted the UN Secretary General, Mr. U-Thant through the consulate of the United Kingdom in Asmara. Governor-General Abiy Abebe ordered the arrest of Tedla and on June 11, 1963 his police headquarter was encircled by the Ethiopian army. Amid negotiation with Ethiopian army officers, it was pronounced that Tedla Uqbit had committed suicide. Although official reports claimed the same, his death is still mysterious. The same day Colonel Zer'emariam Azzazi, his deputy, was promoted to Police Commissioner of Eritrea. (See Tekeste, pp. 102-103, 117-118, 124-125, 136, Zemen, June 27, 1962, and "Examination Archive on the death of Brigadier General Tedla Uqbit," June 20, 1963)

 From a bibliography in “Eritrean Assembly” by Anwar Seid Suleiman

Mohamed Omer Hakito (1919 – 2011) a great Eritrean leader for independence

Mohamed Omer Hakito (1919 – 2011) a great Eritrean leader for independence
Born in 1919 in Assab, Akito went to an Italian school there and finished his studies – 4th Grade being the highest limit for Eritreans – in 1934. At the age of fifteen, he joined the Commissariato of Denkalia as a clerk. In 1939, he became an interpreter in the shipping offices of Societa Anonima Navigazione Eritrea at Sa...na’a, Yemen. The experience encouraged him to set up his own commercial activity in 1944, between Eritrea, Yemen and beyond. It was at the beginning of his lifelong and successful career in business that he entered Eritrean politics in the late 1940’s.

“Almost every young Muslim of your background joined the Moslem League of Eritrea (MLE), why did you join the Pro-Italy Party instead?” I asked him in one of our series of interviews. “I did not join Pro Italia. I was one of its founders. I set it up in Denkalia,” he replied, “You see, the Italians first set foot here in Assab before they moved north to conquer Massawa, Asmara, Keren and the rest. Assab was the springboard for their conquest of Eritrea and even Somalia. And what did they do? They totally neglected this area and developed the other places; they linked them by road and rail, modernized them and all. I wanted Italy back in Eritrea as a trustee in order to make it dispense with its obligation and rectify the neglect.” I could see that he still felt strongly about the injustice as he sighed and added, “It did not happen that way…”

In 1952, Akito was unopposed when he succeeded in his bid to become a member of the First Legislature of the Eritrean Assembly. It did not take him long to establish himself as a fierce fighter for Eritrea’s rights under its federal status with Ethiopia. Along with several young dissenters like himself, he became an uncompromising critic of the Unionist plans and maneuvers of both the Eritrean and Ethiopian authorities. He also had the broadness of mind to make alliances with fair-minded Unionists starting to harbour doubts about Ethiopian intentions.

In the 1956 elections for the Second Legislature, Akito was declared the hands down winner over his government sponsored rival. Before he could resume in his seat, however, CE Asfaha declared the election null and void for a purported irregularity and called for a special election to determine a “true winner” in the constituency. Akito immediately took his case to the Supreme Court of Eritrea where cases involving the Executive were adjudicated. In a landmark decision, the bench chaired by Chief Justice Sir James Shearer struck down Asfaha’s “null and void” claim and reinstated Akito as the undisputed winner. But Asfaha would not abide by the Court’s decision and, in an unconstitutional move, he found a flimsy procedural excuse to coerce the Assembly members to vote on whether Akito should be allowed to return to his seat. Seven members supported Akito. The rest voted for his dismissal.

“And you stayed out, end of story?” I asked him.
“I stayed out yes, but not end of story. I had the court order in my hand. I was the lawful representative. So I denied Asfaha the opportunity to replace me by his handpicked supporter. First, I refused to seek or accept other employment. I also let other people run my business in Assab. Second, I refused to leave Asmara. Third, every time that the Assembly was in session, I took my court decision with me and attempted to take my seat, only to be blocked at the gate on each attempt. If I had absented myself from this routine, it would have been interpreted as submission to their will and they would have gone ahead with a by-election to replace me. “

From an article by Alemseged Tesfai on Hakito in 2011“In Memoriam Mohammed Omer Akito - Our Own Firebrand”

Newspapers & periodicals published in Eritrea from the 1928 - 1954 (Source: شبكة رصد اريتريا M.N.ERI)

Eritrea Weekly News was published in both Arabic and Tigrinya

A note on the Blin people of Eritrea

The Blin: An ethnic bridge between Muslims and Christians in Eritrea and one of the most tolerant societies in the country and with tremendous contributions in the struggle for independence

Blin is a Central Cushitic language spoken by an estimated 100,000 in Eritrea (about 2 %) – according to the scanty Government Statistics from 1996. They are concentrated in the ‘Anseba region around Keren. The two major groups are the Bet Tawqe (Muslims) and Bet Tarqe (predominantely Catholic). They are sedentary agriculturalists with few pastoralists. The speakers of the language call themselves Blin while their neighbours call them Bilen. Sandwiched between the two largest linguistic groups in Eritrea, most speakers are bilingual in the Semitic languages, Tigrinya or Tigrait. Perhaps it is only among the Blin where you find Muslims and Christians in the same family. The Blin also embody the huge sacrifices the Eritrean people paid in the struggle of Independence. Although, relatively a minority, their presence is heavily felt not only among the rank and file but among the number of political and military leaders and among the veteran women who were enrolled during the early years of the armed struggle. I asked once a colleague to write for me the list of political and military leaders during the war for independence and the list was very long. Their participation is also strongly felt among those opposing the dictatorial regime.

According to Fallon, the earliest published form of Blin may be found in in a Catholic mission report which contains a multilingual vocabulary list. The Blin (also called Bogos, after the region) is given in both abugida and an Italianized Romanization. One of those who has written extensively on the Blin is Kiflemariam Hamde. Fallon also mentions that Daniel Yacob , in collaboration with Blin speaker Tekie Alibeket, has pushed the Blin version of the abugida into the computer age with computer encoding now accepted in Unicode 4.1
Upon its independence in 1993, the Government provided for a policy of mother-tongue education in primary schools. A policy decision by the Eritrean government required all non-Semitic languages to use a Roman-based alphabet. The use of such an alphabet is said to make an easier transition to English-language education, which is used exclusively in secondary and higher education. According to one writer, Zeraghiorghis, The alphabet also represents a compromise between those who associate the Arabic script with Islam and the abugida with Christianity.

In 1996 the Eritrean Ministry of Education formed the Blin panel in the Department of General Education and in 1997, a pilot program with six teachers and 230 children began mother tongue instruction in Blin in the village of Ajerbeb and instruction quickly expanded in 1998-1999, when Blin was used as the medium of instruction in 27 primary schools, about half of which are run by the Catholic Church. Language, math, and science texts are available in grades 1-5, along with civics and geography for upper elementary students.

Some Eritrean scholars wrote about the Blin include the late Michael Ghabr and Kiflemariam Hamde and some of the recent ones include Sadia Hassanen. 

صورة للمناضلان محمود إبراهيم شكيني رحمه الله و سعيد أحمد با داود اطال الله في عمره

اA 1967 picture of martyr Mahmoud Chekini and Seid Ahmed Ba Dawoud taken in Damascus. Chekini was back from a military training in China while Ba Dawoud was on training in Syria. Ba Dawoud was one of the founders of the Islah (reform) group calling for uniting the various military regions in the ELF in the late sixties and one of the leaders of the Eritrean labour movement. Damascus was one of the Eritrean support centers abroad during the liberation war
  • هذه صورة للمناضلان محمود إبراهيم شكيني رحمه الله و سعيد أحمد با داود اطال الله في عمره ومتعه بالصحة. اخذت في العام 1967 في دمشق محمود عائد من دورة الصين وباداود في دورة سوريا. با داود من مؤسسي حركة الإصلاح ومن قيادات الحركة العمالية الإرترية وكانت دمشق احد اهم مراكز الثورة الارترية بالخارج
Picture: Courtesy of Ibrahim Gedem

Picture: Agordat Airport 1935

Where are we today?

14 December 1894 when Bahta Hagos rebelled against the Italian colonial army

14 December 1894 when Bahta Hagos rebelled against the Italian colonial army.

ፈርዲናንዶ ማርቲኒ ብዛዕባ ባህታ ሓጎስ ዝጸሓፎ 1891-1895
ነጋሽ አስፋሃ ሃይለ ካብ እንግሊዘኛ ናብ ትግርኛ ስለዝተርጎሞ አመስግኖ
ባህታ ሓጎስ ደጋፊ ኢጣልያ ኣብ ዝነበረሉ ብ1891 እተጻሕፈ
ናብ ሰገነይቲ ንምብጻሕ ዕላማና ነበረ። ባህታ ሓጎስ ድማ ኣብ ፍርቂ መንገዲ ተቀበለና። ብድሕሪኡ ሓዉ ምስኡ ወዱ ገረመድህን ነበሩ። ባህታ ኣብ ክፍላ ኣርባዓታት ዕድመ ነበረ። ነዊሕን ቀጢን ክትርእርዮ መታለልን ድኹምን ይመስለካ።እንተኾነ ካብ ከባቢኡ ክሳብ መረብ ዝዝርጋሕ መሬቱ ብዘይካኡ ቅኑዕ ከምዘሎ ኣይትፈልጥን ኢያ።ፈርዲናንዶ ማርቲኒ ብዛዕባ ባህታ ሓጎስ ዝጸሓፎ 1891-1891

ባህታ ሓጎስ ደጋፊ ኢጣልያ ኣብ ዝነበረሉ ብ1891 እተጻሕፈ
ናብ ሰገነይቲ ንምብጻሕ ዕላማና ነበረ። ባህታ ሓጎስ ድማ ኣብ ፍርቂ መንገዲ ተቀበለና። ብድሕሪኡ ሓዉ ምስኡ ወዱ ገረመድህን ነበሩ። ባህታ ኣብ ክፍላ ኣርባዓታት ዕድመ ነበረ። ነዊሕን ቀጢን ክትርእርዮ መታለልን ድኹምን ይመስለካ።እንተኾነ ካብ ከባቢኡ ክሳብ መረብ ዝዝርጋሕ መሬቱ ብዘይካኡ ቅኑዕ ከምዘሎ ኣይትፈልጥን ኢያ፡፡ ንሱ ምስ እስላመይቲ በዓልቲ ቤቱ ናብ ሃይማኖት ካቶሊክ ቐየሩ። ኣብ ከባቢኡ ዝዳረጎ ሓለቓ ኣይነበረን። ብሓንቲ ቃል ንዝኾነ ጎንጺ መዕለቢ ክህብ ብቑዕ ነበረ። ንመሓዙትን ንዓና ንኢጣልያውያንን ትሑት፣ለጋስን ውፉይን ብምንባሩ ኩሉ ሰብ የኽብሮን ንምምሕዳሩ ይቕበሎን ነበረ።ካብ መዛኑኡ ዝያዳ በሊሕ ብምንባሩ ከምኣቶም ትዕቢት ኣየርእን።ባህታ ግን ቅዱስ ኣይኮነን ንሓው ቀቲሉ።ንሱ ካብ ቀዳሞት ስድራቤት ኣከለጉዛይ ኢዩ። ራእሲ ኣሉላ ምስ ኣጨነቐሉን ሃደኖን ምስ ኣሕዋቱ ምድሪ ሓባብ ተዓቑበ።ሓባብ ብመጓሰ ስለዝናበሩ ባህታን ብጾቱን ካብ ወረረቲ ተኸላኸልሎም።ባህታን ጉጅለኡን ዓዶም ክምለሱ ብዝተፈቕደሎም፣ሓደ ካብ ኣሕዋቱ ብዝምታ ክናበር ደልዩ ነበረ ሞ ባህታ ግን ኣብ ዓዲ ንዝተኽሎ ምምሕዳር ክሕግዞ መኸሮ። ምዕዶኡ ብዝሰምዕ ብዙሓት ፈተውቲ ከፍርዩ ከምዝኽእሉን ኣብ ቅድሚ ፈጣሪ ድማ ሓርነት ህዝቢ ክመልሱን ከምዝበቕዑን ኣረድኦ።ሓዉ ባህታ ኣይሰምዐን። ባህታ ንሓው ወይ ባዕሉ ወይ ኢዱ ንራእሲ ኣሉላ ብምሃብ ከምዝቐትሎ ኣጠንቀቖ። ሓው ኪድ ኢድካ ንኣሉላ ሃብ ብዝበሎ ድማ ባህታ ምሉእ ለይቲ ጸሎት ድሕሪ ምብጻሕ ወጋሕታ ንሓው ቀተለ።ሽዑ ተጣዕሰን ብሕማም መትኒ ተሳቐን።ብኣንጻር ኩሎም ንግዙኣቶም ብጭካነ ዝሕዙ፣ባህታ ይቕረ በሃልን ኣብ ትሕቲኡ ንዝነበሩ ከም ወላዲ ይርእይ። ንሓበሻ ብመንጽር ባህርያት ባህታ ሓጎስ ምግላጽ ኣይከኣልን።ንሱ ፍሉይ ባህርያት ነበሮ።

እዚ ንኢጣልያውያን ምስ ተዋግኦም መጋቢት 1895ተጻሕፈ።
ብዛዕባኡ ኣብ 1891 ዘስፈርክዎ ጽሑፍ ካብ ትዕዝብተይን ትዕዝብቲ ብቐረባ ዝፈልጥዎን መኮነናት ኢጣልያ ዝተሞርከሰ ነበረ። ሉድዊጅ ማርካታሊ፣ካብ ኣስመራ ኣብ ጋዜጣ ትሪቡና ብዓሰርተ ክልተ ለካቲት 1895ዝጸሓፎ ብዛዕባ ባህታ ሓጎስ ዝጠራጠር ሰብ እንተነበረ ዋላ ሓደ ኣይምኣመኖን።እንተኾነ ኣንጻርና ተላዕለ። እቲ ዝወዓሎ ሃንደበታዊ ወይ ሕነ ንምፍዳይ ኣይነበረን። ኣብ ሰገነይቲ ዝነበሩን ዘኽብርዎን ጸዓዱ ንምቕታል ነዊሕ መደብ ነይርዎ ክኸዉን ይኽእል ኢዩ። ዘዕግብ ደሞዝ ጡረታ ከፊልናዮን ብዙሕ ህያባት ገለ ካብኡ ክቡር ወፈናሉን። ቅድሚኡ ንዝነበሩ ኣቢሲንያ ዘይተዋህበ ዝለዓለ ስልጣንን ክብርን ሃብናዮ። እንተኾነ ኣንጻርና ተዋጊኡ ኣብ ሓላይ ታሕሳስ 18  ወደቐ።

ናይ ፈረንሳ ኢየሱሳውያን ኣንጻርና ክለዓል ኣተባቢዖሞ ይበሃል። ካብ ኤርትራ ስለዘባረርናዮም ተቖጢዑ ክኸውን ይኽእል። ምኽንያቱ ናብ ካቶሊክ ብኢዶም ስለ እተጠምቀ የፍቅሮም ኢዩ። ኣብ ኣኹሩር ቤተ ክርስትያን ንምህናጽ እውን ኣበርኪቱ ኢዩ። እንተኾነ፣እዚ ቀንዲን እንኮን ምልዕዓል ኢዩ ዝብል እምነት የብለይን።እታ ምሳና ዘተ በቲኹ፣ ንካፕተን ሳንጉኒ ዝኣሰረላን ሓይልታቱ ናብ ሓላይ ዘውፈረላን፣ ንሱ ናብ መላእ ኣከለጉዛይ መልእኽቲ ሰደደ።እቶም ልኡኻት ንህዝቢ፣ ካብ ቶም መሬትና ክግብቱ ካብ ስግር ባሕሪ ዝመጽኡ ሓራ ክንገብረኩም ኢና።እዚ ምንቅስቓስ ምስቲ ክረድኣና ዝመጽእ ሓይልታት ራእሲ መንገሻ እተወሃሃደ ኢዩ። ዛጊት ስጉምቲ ዘይወሰድኩ ካብ ስግር መረብ መልሲ ክጽበ ስለ ዝጸናሕኩ ኢየ በልዎም። ኣቐዲሙ ከም እተገልጸ እዚ ኣገዳሲ ነጥቢ ኢዩ። ኣብ ትሕቲ ባህታ ሓጎስ ዝነበረ መዳውብቲ ኣከለጉዛይ ዝርከብ መሬት ሰራየ፣ ኢጣልያውያን ስድራቤታት ወሲደናኦ ነበራ። ኣብ ኣከለጉዛይ ድማ 25ሀክታር መሬት ብካልኦት ኢጣልያውያን ተወሲዱ ነበረ። ንሱ ብዛዕባ ምምንዛዕ መሬት ብምቅዋም ንኢጣልያውያን ከጥቅዕ ፍቓድ ክወሃቦ ናብ ምኒልክ ሰለስተ ደብዳበ ሰደደ። ምኒልክ ካብ ኢጣልያ መልሲ ይጽበ ከምዘሎን ዓቕሊ ክገብርን ክልተ ጊዘ ሓተቶ። ምኒልክ ንባህታ ከጥቅዕ ፍቓድ ከምዝሃቦ ዝፍለጥ የልቦን። እንተኾነ 35  ሽሕ ብረት ናብ ራእሲ መንገሻ ሰደደ።

ምንጪ: Nella Colonia Eritrea: Studi E Viaggi; Con in Fine Il Discorso Di Ferdinando Martini Tenuto Alla Camera Dei Deputati Il 15 Febbraio 1908 (Italian Edition)

What Ferdinado Martini wrote about Bahta Hagos (period 1891 -1895)
This was what he wrote when Bahta was an ally of Italy (1891):

Our destination was Segeneiti and Bahta Hagos met us half the way. Behind him was his brother and his son Geremedhin was also there. Bahta was in his mid forties. He was tall and thin. When you look at him you get the impression that he is cunning and crocked.  But his land that extends from here to Mereb, doesn't know any one who was more honest than him. He was a Muslim who converted to Catholicism with his wife. His new faith bestowed on him a greater degree of  integrity. There is no chief in his caliber in the area. One word from him would put an end to any conflict. Every body respects him and submits to his rule because he is humble, generous and committed to his friends and us, the Italians. He shows less pride than the other Eritrean chief's because he is more intelligent than them. Lastly, Bahta Hagos is not a saint because he killed his brother.
He belongs to one of the old families in Akle Guzai. Ras Alula harassed and followed him and Bahta Hagos took refuge together with his brothers with the Habab. Because the Habab were pastoralists, Bahta and his men protected the tribes from other invaders. After Bahta and his group were allowed to return to their homeland, one of his brothers wanted to be a robber to earn his living. Bahta tried to persuade his brother to stop robbery and help the family establish their rule in their land. He told his brother that by doing so they will be able to win more friends and to show in front of God that they will regain liberty for their people. His brother refused to listen.  Later  Bahta resorted to threats.  He told his brother that he will either kill him or will he will surrender to Alula to kill him. His brother told Bahta, 'Go and surrender to Alula'. Bahta Hagos spent that night praying to God and at dawn went and killed his brother. But now he repents that and at times he suffers of nervous episodes. Unlike all the leaders that we met who treat their subjects with brutality, he resorts to asking for apology after any harsh measure, and treats his subjects like a father. 

You cannot describe the Abyssinians through the character of Bahta Hagos. He was an exceptional character.
And this is what he wrote about him after he fought the Italians (March 1895):

What I wrote about him in 1891 was based on my own observations and based on the Italian officials who knew him closely. Ludwigi Marcatelli  from Asmara wrote in the Newspaper 'Tribuna' on 12 February 1895, "If there was any one who had doubts about Bahta Hagos, no person could have believed him. Yet, he rebelled against us. What he did was not a sudden thing or a revenge. He must have planned this over a long time to kill the whites who had stayed at Segeneiti and who respected him. We paid him a decent pension and we showered him with a lot of gifts, some of which were expensive. We bestowed on him the highest authority and  honours that was never given to any Abyssinian before him. Yet he died fighting us near Halai on the 18th of december.

It is said that the Frech Jesuits encouraged him to revolt against us. They were angered by our decision to drive them out of Eritrea. This may be possible , because Bahta loved them and converted to the Catholic faith on their hands. He had also contributed towards buliding a church in Akhrur. But I do not believe this was the only or the main important reason for his revolt. The day he decided to cut the negotiations with us and imprisoned Captain Sagouini and moved with his forces to Halai; He sent a message to the whole of Akleguzai. The messengers told the people, "We are going to liberate you from those who came from across the sea to take our land, and my move is coordinated with Ras Mengesha who is coming to support us with a force. I did not take a move until now because I was waiting for a response from a distant place.."

This is an important point, as I explained before,  the Italian families that came were given land in Seraye, near Akle Guzai in the area that was under Bahta Hagos and he did not like this. Other Italians were also given 25 hectares from Akle Guzai. He wrote three letters to Menelik, complaining about the confiscation of land and asking for his permission to attack the Italains. If Menelik did not agree, he asked him to raise the complaint to Italy. Menelik replied twice asking for patience and that he was waiting for a response from Italy. It is not known if Menelik gave the permission for the attack, but he sent 35 thousand rifles to Ras Mengesha.
 From Ferdinando Martini’s memories and impressions in his book, ‘Nell’Affrica Italiane’ 1890.
He was a member of the Italian Parliament who was sent to evaluate the viability of Eritrea, as a 
colony. Pages 102 - 106 from the Arabic translated edition

Bahta originally gained recognition in 1875 when he killed Embaye Araya son of Rasi Araya, an Ethiopian Governor, in a skirmish precipitated by raiding of the area. Bahta and other Eritrian tribal leaders were in constant conflict with the Ethiopian forces under Ras Alula and Yohannes (himself a Tigrian); for example, despite the best efforts of Ras Alula's lieutenant Balatta Gabru in 1880, Bahta evaded capture and later that year allied himself with the Egyptian garrison at Sanhit (latter Keren). In 1885, as an Italian colonial presence replaced the defeated Egyptians, and their control of Massawa, Bahta moved to ally himself with them and their General, later provincial governor Oreste Baratieri. As a consequence, Bahta came to control Akkele Guzay, and by 1889 his own forces formed an important flank in the Italian moves to create the Colony of Eritrea. He fought alongside the Italians against the Mahdists at the Battle of Agordat in December, 1893. However Bahta became increasingly frustrated with the conduct of the Italian Colonial Government and their soldiers, particularly the expropriation of land from the clergy. 

In December 1894, Bahta unilaterally led his force of 1,600 men in direct revolt against the Italians, although he claimed support of Mengesha. He captured the Italian administrator at Segeneiti, which was then the capital of the province, and declared an independent Akkele Guzay. He proclaimed himself "An avenger of rights trampled on by the Italians" and also said "the Italians curse us, seize our land; I want to free you... let us drive the Italians out and be our own masters."On the 15th, the telegraph wires were cut from Segeneiti to Asmara, which the Italians had occupied since 1889, in order to give himself time to mobilize the population and bring Mengesha into the conflict. Baratieri immediately suspected Mengesha and ordered Major Toselli and his battalion to move on Segeneiti. Bahta was killed in the attack on the 18th of December.

From the UN Monitoring Report: Human smuggling and trafficking in Eritrea 2011

The UN Report: Human smuggling and trafficking in Eritrea

Human smuggling and trafficking

Posted at FB July 2011

General Teklai Kifle “Manjus” and Mabrouk Mubarak Salim*, the current Minister of State for
Transport of the Sudan are  identified as main collaborators in the UN Report:

362. An Eritrean source, who claims to have long been engaged in people
smuggling activities on behalf of General Teklai Kifle “Manjus” , told the Monitoring
Group that he was first deployed into Egypt in a convoy
carrying weapons in 2008. According to the source, his contacts confirm that
Eritrean agents based in Egypt were continuing to coordinate routine trafficking of
people and arms via Sinai in 2011.

421. The well-documented exodus of young Eritreans to escape poverty or
obligatory “national service” represents yet another opportunity for corruption and
illicit revenue. People smuggling is so pervasive that it could not be possible
without the complicity of Government and party officials, especially military
officers working in the western border zone, which is headed by General Teklai
Kifle “Manjus”. Multiple sources have described to the Monitoring Group how
Eritrean officials collaborate with ethnic Rashaida smugglers to move their human
cargo through the Sudan into Egypt and beyond. This is in most respects the same
network involved in smuggling weapons through to Sinai and into Gaza.358
422. According to former Eritrean military officials and international human rights
activists, military officers involved in the practice charge roughly $3,000 a head for
each person exiting Eritrea. Eritreans seeking to leave the country illegally (i.e.
without an exit visa), and who can afford to pay these fees, often choose to do so
rather than risk imprisonment.

*Mubarak Salim, the current Minister of State for Transport of the Sudan is also a wealthy merchant and former leader of the now defunct “Free Lions” rebel group that once formed part of the Sudanese “Eastern Front” opposition alliance supported by Eritrea. Salim, an ethnic Rashaida, works closely with other well-established Rashaida smugglers, who operate with the full knowledge of Government officials on both sides of the border.

From the UN Monitoring group Report: Diaspora taxes and remittances 2011

From the UN Monitoring group Report: Diaspora taxes and remittances

Posted at FB July 2011

D. Diaspora taxes and remittances
381. Probably the most significant source of revenue for PFDJ is the excise of a 2 per cent income tax on Eritrean nationals living abroad.318 An estimated 1.2 million Eritreans — or 25 per cent of the total population — live in the diaspora,319 with the most important concentrations in North America, Europe and the Middle East. According to estimates by various national law enforcement officers, Eritrean eyewitnesses and former Eritrean Government agents in the diaspora, the Government of Eritrea is estimated to raise tens — and possibly hundreds — of millions of dollars on an annual basis.
382. Justifications for the tax vary. A senior Eritrean official described it to the
Monitoring Group as a land tax for expatriate Eritreans or dual nationals who own
land or property in their homeland.320 Numerous Eritrean expatriates in different
countries have described it to the Monitoring Group as a “consular service”. For
example, any Eritrean citizen seeking to renew a passport or Eritrean holders of
foreign passports requesting a visa to visit Eritrea must produce documentation of
their tax payments in their host country.321 On this basis, the 2 per cent tax is
calculated and the individual is obliged to make payment, in the form of cheque or
money order, into an account controlled by the local Eritrean embassy. Individuals
who have not required “consular services” for several years are nevertheless
required to pay “arrears” for years in which the tax was not paid.

383. Those unwilling to pay these taxes may have entry rights into Eritrea denied,
property in Eritrea seized or family members in Eritrea harassed. In cases where
host country documentation is considered to be unreliable, unofficial Eritrean
embassy or party officials may monitor the activities of the Eritrean diaspora
communities in order to assess their income and degree of compliance.

384. Monitoring Group interviews with former PFDJ and Government of Eritrea
finance officials indicate that these hard currency deposits are managed by PFDJ,
under the direction of Hagos Gebrehiwot, and not through State institutions such as
the Bank of Eritrea, the Commercial Bank of Eritrea, the Ministry of Finance or the
Treasury. Taxes collected this way are remitted to the accounts of different Eritrean
embassies abroad and thereafter transferred from embassy account to embassy
account, depending on operational needs, or transferred to privately held offshore

385. The PFDJ Economic Affairs Department also controls millions of dollars in
hard currency in the form of remittances deposited by members of the Eritrean
diaspora sending money home to family and friends in Eritrea. Remittance deposits
are made through Himbol, a PFDJ-controlled wire transfer company that maintains
offices — both official and unofficial — at Eritrean embassies and community
centres abroad, and which uses international wire agencies as agents to affect

386. Hard currency remittances accumulate in Himbol and embassy bank accounts
outside Eritrea, while recipients in Eritrea receive disbursements in local nakfa
currency. Since Himbol is a PFDJ-owned company, the hard currency deposits
abroad can be managed by the Economic Affairs Department of PFDJ as it sees fit.
As with taxation receipts collected in embassy accounts, this money is either
transferred to PFDJ-controlled accounts held in correspondent banks, moved to
(official or unofficial) embassy accounts, or disbursed as cash for transfer in
diplomatic pouch by Eritrean “diplomatic” couriers.

387. Although Eritrea is not alone in imposing extraterritorial tax obligations on its
citizens, there are some unique aspects of the manner in which this policy is
implemented. First, the tax may be applied to foreign nationals of Eritrean origin,
regardless of whether they maintain dual nationality. The tax is routinely collected
by diplomats at Eritrean missions abroad, a practice that arguably violates the
Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. In locations where Eritrea lacks
diplomatic or consular representation, the tax is often collected informally by party
agents or community activists whose activities may, in some jurisdictions, be
considered a form of extortion.