Friday, 29 May 2015

Memorandum on Abyssinia 1855 by the British Foreign Office

"Memorandum on Abyssinia" is an article from Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London, Volume 25. Communicated by the foreign office on March 12, 1855
You read among other things:

“A merchant starts at Massowah for Baso, the last mercantile station to the southward of Christian Abyssinia. He pays at Massowah for the import or export duty to the Turkish Governor. He must then engage a Shohos (I guess refers to Saho or Shaho) an independent tribe, inhabiting the hills near the coast and in possession of the only passable roads, winding through the defiles for 50 or 60 miles. According to the agreement made and his appearance wealthy or otherwise, he may pay this guide from 10 to a half dollar, arriving then in Obeay’s dominions, he will be stopped 4 to 5 times, before he reaches Adowah…

…On the accusation of any man in Abyssinia, of any crime he has the right to be heard in the first instance by his own judge, that is either the chief of his village or the master he is attached for the time being, and to be forwarded to his residence with his accuser, by any authority to whom he shall appeal in the King’s name..

….The boundaries of Northern Abyssinia is defined as the district inhabited by Christians, do not reach by 90 or 100 miles, to the Red Sea at any point. This interval is occupied by various more savage tribes: The Adiael, The Azebo Gallas, the Areya Gallas, The Denakil, the Faltals, the Shoho, the Habab and the Arab tribes of the Beni Amer. These have adopted more or less strictly the Mohametan faith, and are all expecting the Gallas wandering tribes, living by their flocks or their camels governed by no master, and occupied with incessant fueds or combats....

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Manumitted Slaves in Egyptian Massawa 1873 - 1885 العبيد المحررين في مصوع المصرية

From Bondage to Freedom on the Red Sea Coast: Manumitted Slaves in Egyptian Massawa 1873 - 1885 by Jonathan Miran

العبيد المحررين في مصوع المصرية 1873 - 1885
مصوع وتجارت الرقيق

الاثنين ١٦ فبراير، ١٨٧٤ كان الى حد بعيد, يوم غير عادي في المحكمة القضائية في مدينة مصوع الساحلية على ساحل البحر الأحمر. كان بالتأكيد يوم مشغول لكاتب المحكمة. في ذلك اليوم، قدم ٧٦ من العبيد ( ٤٣ إناث و ٣٣ ذكور) - ومعظمهم من مناطق الواقعة اليوم في إثيوبيا من مناطق الأ رومو، وعلى بعد ما يقرب من ألف كيلومتر بعيدا عن مصوع - قدمو انفسهم، واحدا تلو الآخر، إلى المحكمة المحلية ، التي أصدرت لهم العتق موثق تثبت حريتهم. لم يكن هذا ما يحدث في كل يوم.

The article can be downloaded here (may need registration)


The study of 239 manumission acts registered in the court records of the Red Sea port of  Massawa, now in the modern state of Eritrea, allows us glimpses into the practice of slavery and emancipation in that town in the 1870s and 1880s. The evidence sheds light both on urban slaves owned by local Massawans, commercial entrepreneur-sojourners, Egyptian officers and the Egyptian government, as well as on those slaves who might have been captured en route before their shipment across the Red Sea to the Arabian Peninsula and the Middle East. In the context of the scanty historiography of slavery in the Ethio-Eritrean area, the data provides unique information about gender, age, names, origins, geographic provenance and the circumstances of manumission of  276 slaves, many of whom originated in what are today areas of south-western and western Ethiopia, but also from the Eritrean borderlands and the Sudan. The evidence also provides insights into ethnic and racial distinctions and categorisations, as well as the experience of slaves before and after manumission, including concubinage, marriage and, perhaps, employment with the Egyptian government which ruled Massawa between1865 and 1885.
Monday, 16 February 1874 must have been quite an unusual day in the judicial court of the port town of Massawa on the Red Sea coast. It was certainly a busy one for the court scribe. On that day, a total of 76 slaves (43 female and 33 male) – mostly from Jimma, Limmu, Gomma, Leeqqa, Kaffa and other localities in the Cushitic- and Omotic-speaking areas located today in western and south-western Ethiopia, and almost a thousand kilometres away from Massawa – presented themselves, one by one, to the local law court (mahkama), which issued them with manumission certificates attesting their freedom. This was not something that happened every day.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

أشرطة فيديو تاريخية من السودان Historic videos from the Sudan

أشرطة  فيديو تاريخية من السودان

Historic videos  from the Sudan

ذكرى إستقلال السودان

Sudanese independence 1956:

ذكرى إستقلال السودان - لمحة وفاء - ولاية الخرطوم


وثائقي من قناة الجزيرة

ثورة ٢٤ اكتوبر ١٩٦٤ السودان

A relevant story to us, on how the Sudanese elites failed their people by failing to manage their ethnic, regional and political diversity and brought the Sudan where it is today. Some political forces conspired to support the dictatorship in 1958 and others joined in when the got some interests. The dictator appointed himself as Chancellor of the University and appointed a President for the University for the first time, when it was through elections. The Students objected.

When Hassen Al Turabi who was the Dean of the Law Faculty was asked about the Southern problem, he stated it was due to lack of liberties which was also in the North, that they were equally oppressed and that if the dictatorship is toppled so will the southern problem be resolved. Just like some politicians tell us now that if the dictator goes, everything will be resolved.

President Abboud visting the UK 1964, he was deposed 5 months later
زيارة الرئس عبود الي انجلترا ١٩٦٤


When president Abboud visited the USA and met President Kennedy 1961زيارة الرئس عبود الي الولايات المتحدة وقابل كنيدي

Djibouti in 1943 and the new Ethiopian Army trained by the British

Djibouti in 1943 and the new Ethiopian Army trained by the British;

Repatriation of Italian prisoners from Ethiopia 1943 إعادة الأسرى الإيطاليين من اثيوبيا عام

Repatriation of Italian prisoners from Ethiopia 1943: They went to Ethiopia to colonize, committed atrocities and thought they will live there for ever. The came back humiliated. Women and children were repatriated at first. Small quantities such as coffee, sugar and other commodities they had taken with them was confiscated by the British:

إعادة الأسرى الإيطاليين من اثيوبيا عام 1943
 ذهبوا إلى إثيوبيا لاحتلالها، وارتكبو فظائع وكانو يعتقدون انهم سيعيشون هناك  إلى الأبد. ورجعومذلولين. تم ترحيل النساء والأطفال في البداية. كميات صغيرة مثل القهوة والسكر وغيرها من السلع التي ارادو اخذها معهم صودرت من قبل البريطانيين

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Missionaries, Education & the State in the Italian Colony of Eritrea

Missionaries,  Education & the State in the Italian Colony of Eritrea by Jonathan Miran, 2002:

بعثات التبشيرالكنسية, التعليم والدولة في فترة الحتلال الايطالي في اريتريا

This chapter examines the role of Christian missionaries in the educational system in Italian Eritrea, from the establishment of the colony in 1890 to the creation of Italian East Africa (Africa Orientale Italiana) in 1936. More broadly, it investigates the 'nature' of the Italian colonial state, as revealed in the Eritrean case. ...

In 1890, the few schools in the newly proclaimed colony were run by French Lazarists and Swedish Lutheran missionaries, In 1894 the Italian authorities expelled the Lazarists, replacing them with Italian Capuchins. Thirty years later, they deported most of the remaining Swedish Lutheran missionaries. So from 1923 onwards, the Capuchins controlled almost all government and all Catholic schools and assumed the management and implementation of official educational policies. Moreover, with the advent of the fascist regime in Rome and the ensuing Lateran pacts with the Holy See (1929), Catholicism became defacto the state religion in the colony in the early 1930s.

You can download the article here (may need registration if not previously registered at

Jihad, Sufism and Colonialism in Sub-Saharan Africa: The case of the Khatmiyya in Eritrea" In Italian

رسالة دكتوراه حول "الجهاد, الصوفية والاستعمار في أفريقيا جنوب الصحراء الكبرى: حالة الختمية في إريتريا" بالإيطالية

A PhD Thesis on, "Jihad, Sufism and Colonialism in Sub-Saharan Africa: The case of the Khatmiyya in Eritrea" In Italian by Silvia Bruzi, 2010


Can be downloaded here: For those who do not read Italian there are a few pictures and an interesting reference list

Power without Pashas: The Anatomy of the Naib Autonomy in Ottoman Eritrea

سلطات النائب في ارتريا العثمانية

Power without Pashas: The Anatomy of the Naib Autonomy in Ottoman Eritrea (17th - 19th Century) an Article by Jonathan Miran

About a century following Ozdemir Pasha's conquest of the ports of Massawa and Hergigo in1557, the Ottoman authorities devolved power to a locally potent family of the Bejja-descended Balaws and appointed it chief as "Na'ib" or deputy. By the middle of the 18th century the Na'ibs were able to develop their political power, impose their authority, in a vast area extending from the Red Sea coast to the highland plateau....

The article can be downloaded here (but may need registration):

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Eritrea compared to neighboring countries

Eritrea compared with neighboring countries

Both Eritrea and Ethiopia had one university each in 1991, Today, the one university in Eritrea is dismantled, while there are close to 30 universities in Ethiopia!

GDP per Capita
Below poverty
50 % (2004 est)
39 % (2012)
46,5 % (2009)
Telephones main
60,000 (2012)
797,500 (2012)
Tel. Cellular
305,300 (2012)
20,524,000 (2012)
27,659,000 (2012)
Broadcast media
Only state owned
Few commercial and community owned Radios
State owned
Private TV and Radio Stations
Political Parties
One non-functional
More than 20
12 parties
More than 9 parties
Military Service
Compulsory indefinite
Voluntary, definite
Voluntary, definite
(16 – 25 Years)
Compulsory, definite
18 – 33 years
Airports total
With Paved runways

13 (2013)
57 (2013)
13 (2013)
74 (2013)
$ 573,500,00
$ 4,14 billion (2014)
$ 119,500,000
$ 7,185 billion
$ 1,6  billion
$ 12,08 billion
$ 9,247 billion
Foreign debt
$ 1.049 billion
$ 17,02 billion
$ 891,300,00
$ 47,45 billion
*1Press freedom 2014

Africa’s greatest prison for journalists, 28 journalists detained

5 journalists in jail

One journalist in jail


*2Proportion of under nourished population 2011/13
61 %
(Former Sudan)
Prevalence of under weight children 2009-2013
(Former Sudan)
Global Hunger Index (2014)

*1 Source: Reporters Without Borders
*2 Source: Global Hunger Index

Rest based on CIA’s World Fact Book

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

A Chinese Central Television (CCTV) documentary about Haile Sellasie

A Chinese Central Television (CCTV) documentary about Haile Sellasie:

Published on Jul 18, 2014
Though he died almost four decades ago, Haile Selassie's legacy remains strong and valid.
"Faces of Africa" sought to unearth the events and memories of the man who dared to confront The League of Nations, now UN, pleading for their support in conquering the Italians who were preparing to attack Ethiopia.

And the Abyssinian crisis 1935 - 1936:


King of Abyssinia 1935:

Life in Abyssinia: by Mansfield Parkyns 1868

Life in Abyssinia: Three years' residence and travels in that country 1868 by Mansfield Parkyns:

The book covers: Trip through the Suez Canal to Jeddah, Interactions in Jedda, Suakin, Massawa and its inhabitants, Naib’s guide, Umkullu,  lions elephants, Interactions at Ailet, the Saho villages, Hamassein,  Kodofellasi, Mereb, Adwa, Howzayn, Axum,  and descriptions of other places and their inhabitants. Manners and Customs, Personal appearance, Births and marriages, Deaths and Funerals, etc. 

can be downloaded here:

NASA IMAGE: Dust storm in Sudan and Eritrea

صورة عاصفة ترابية في السودان وإريتريا من وكالة الفضاء الأمريكية

Dust storm in Sudan and Eritrea

In northeastern Africa, there are deserts everywhere, and where there are deserts, there is dust. This true-color Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) image from June 14, 2002, shows a massive dust storm swirling over northeastern Sudan and Eritrea (small, coastal country occupying most of the bottom right quadrant of the image; boundary not shown). The dust could be coming from any of a number of deserts in the region, including the Nubian Desert at top center or the Baiyuda Desert, tucked into a bend in the Nile River at the center left edge of the image. Still farther west of this scene, even the ephemeral streams and vegetation seen in this image became virtually absent, and a broad expanse of desert covers the country.s northwest. At lower right, a cluster of small islands, obscured by the air-borne dust, is the Dahlak Marine National Park in the Red Sea.

Saturday, 16 May 2015

عبدالله إدريس «أيقونة» إريتريا بقلم: يوسف عبدالرحمن 15 مايو 2015 - الأنباء

عبدالله إدريس «أيقونة» إريتريا

بقلم: يوسف عبدالرحمن

الجمعة 15 مايو 2015 - الأنباء

An article about the late Abdella Idris by Kwuaiti writer Yousef Abdel Rahman 15th May, 2015 on Al Anba newspaper

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

An Italian-Tigrait Dictionary prepared 1894

An Italian-Tigrait and Tigrait-Italian Dictionary of 1894, thanks to Tsegu Kahsay for sharing:

Can be downloaded here:

'Notes on the Beni Amer' by F.S. Nadel 1945

Picture; EDOARDO MARTINORI, "Diglal Beni-Amer - Ali Hussein", fotografia, 1891

'Notes on the Beni Amer' by F.S. Nadel pages (51 -94) in the original manuscript (Pages 61 - 104) in this  Vol. 26 of  "Sudan Notes and Records" published 1945. Thanks to Tsegu Kahsay for sharing the link:

The social engineering in the western lowlands in Eritrea carried out by the British Military Administration

The social engineering in the western lowlands carried out by the British Military Administration 1941 - 1952

الهندسة الاجتماعية التي اجرتها الادارة البريطانية في المنخفضات الغربية من ارتريا ١٩٤١ - ١٩٥٢

The article "Making Tribes: Social Engineering in the Western Province of British-Administered Eritrea"  by Jan-Bart Gewald

In light of the results of this investigation, the administration proceeded to reorganize the tribal structure in the Nacfa and Agordat districts. It was first ascertained which groups seemed by virtue of their size to merit independent tribal status after an initial period to allow voluntary amalgamations. Second, arrangements were made to encourage voluntary amalgamations of the smaller groups. As a result 20 wholly new tribes comprising a total population of 147,164 have emerged as independent units, 8 former nonaristocratic tribes (total population, 32,899) have been refashioned, and the former aristorcratic tribes have been recast in light of their reduced population. Twenty chiefs and 591 subordinate chiefs have been elected, mainly by unanimous vote.
.... In this part of the country, the British administration, in an effort to curb banditry and social unrest, completely changed the manner in which people had access to power. To do this the British divested several political structures of legitimacy and invested others with state-sanctioned legitimacy. Some precolonial forms of governance were canceled, new forms were created, and some forms with alleged historical antecedence were invested with new legitimacy. In doing this, the British administration changed forever the society in the Western Province......

You can access the article here (may need registration):

Saturday, 9 May 2015

The Portuguese Expedition to Abyssinia in 1541 - 1543

The Portuguese Expedition to Abyssinia in 1541 - 1543 as narrated by Miguel de Castanhoso, Joao Bermudez, Gasper Correa
The contemporary narratives of the Portuguese Expedition into Abyssinia, commanded by D. ChristovSo da Gama, fourth son of D. Vasco da Gama, which have been brought together
here, consist of the books of Castanhoso and Bermudez, some letters to and from the King of Abyssinia, and some extracts from the contemporary chronicler Correa. These have been as far as possibleillustrated from the sources above mentioned, as well as from the works of travellers in
the country. According to the editor, the Portuguese Expedition was decisive in that Abyssinia has since remained Christian. This is the account of how a 400 Portuguese army, under D. ChristovSo da Gama; defeated Ahmed Gran.

As a personal note, Ahmed Gran was the military leader of the Afar Sultanate of Adal who had for the first time in Ethiopian history had united most parts of what is modern Ethiopia today (1528 – 1543), under his rule. The bulk of his army were Afar, not Somalis as described in the book. Western scholars and Ethiopian Christian scholars have always presented Abyssinian Muslims as invaders (as if they came from a distant planet like Mars), not as citizens and Ethiopia as Christian. Islam has been deep rooted in Ethiopia just as Christianity is.

Mohamed Kheir

الحملة البرتقالية والتي كان قوامها ٤٠٠ جندي والتي هزمت احمد قران والذي كان القائد العسكري لمملكة ادال العفرية حيث كان قد نجح لأول مرة في توحيد مايعرف اليوم بأثيوبيا تحت سلطته ١٩٢٨ - ١٩٤٣. دأب المؤرخيين الغربيين والمؤرخيين الاثيوبيين المسيحيين بتعريف المسلميين الاثيوبيين كغزات , كأنهم قدمو من كوكب اخر, لا كمواطنيين

You can download a PDF version of the book here:

or here:

OR you can access the text version;

Specimens of the Popular Literature of Tigrait language 1890s

Specimens of the Popular Literature of Tigrait language (presented as of modern Abyssinia): by Dr. ENNO LITTMANN 1890s

"As a specimen of the Tigre traditions I give here the story of Mense'ay and Mayray, the ancestors, or better, the representatives, of the Mensa' and Marya: " Mense 'ay and Ma-yray, without dividing the estate of their father, left [their brothers] Tor'ay and Hazoty and went to Haigat. And after that, they went out from Haigat to spy out the land, saying: . Which will be the best for us?,' [and they went] to Erota. And after they had gone to Erota, Myray said unto Mense'ay: 'In this Erota let us dwell, it is good.' And after that said Mense 'y: 'How can we dwell in this drought in preference to the two rainy seasons and the two harvests and .... READ THE STORY BELOW:

Friday, 8 May 2015

The Rise and Assassination of Patrice Lumuba, اسرار اغتيال باتريس لمومبا

The assassination of  the great African leader, Patrice Lumumba (1925 - 1961), first democratically elected Prime Minister of the Congo : One of the brutal crimes of European colonialists ( Belgium in this case)  with the help of the CIA and African collaborators

The Rise and Assassination of Patrice Lumuba, the Assassination of a Revolution , اسرار اغتيال باتريس لمومبا
who was too revolutionary for his times: in English

In Arabic 
اسرار اغتيال باتريس لمومبا
فيلم وثائقي من قنات الجزيرة

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Account of an ancient Arabic Grave-Stone, found at Dhalak-el Kebeer 1830

مخطوطة عربية قديمة علي احد القبوربجزيرة دهلك تم اكتشافها  ١٨٣٠
كتبت حوالي ١٠٠٠م

Account of an ancient Arabic Grave-Stone, found at Dhalac-el Kibeer, near Massowah, Abyssinia, decyphered by Graves C. Haugetok,  Read July 3, 1830. It records the burial of a female , who had died nearly eight hundred years ago.

The account can be accessed here:

Rasselas, Prince of Abyssinia, an 1889 book by Samuel Johnson

 Rasselas, Prince of Abyssinia, by Samuel Johnson 

An 1889 book that has been translated to many languages:
  የራስሤላስ መስፍነ ኢትዮጵያ ታሪክ ( ትርጉም)

Rasselas was the fourth son of the mighty Emperor in whose
dominions the father of waters begins his course--whose bounty
pours down the streams of plenty, and scatters over the world the
harvests of Egypt.

According to the custom which has descended from age to age among
the monarchs of the torrid zone, Rasselas was confined in a private
palace, with the other sons and daughters of Abyssinian royalty,
till the order of succession should call him to the throne.

The book can be assessed here:

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

The ELF special unit that targeted Ethiopian planes in 1969

Left to right: Mohamed Ali Afarorah and Mohamed Osman Yusuf Saig
Fisseha Abraha Fikak

So that the young generation understands the sacrifices made for this country, a country that has been high jacked by the ruling junta. This is an account of a special unit in the ELF, called ‘Punishment’ that was established in the late 1960s to target Ethiopian planes, as legitimate targets, as they transported soldiers and weapons to Eritrea. It was during one of those operations that the late Pakistani Prime Minister, when young, defended the Eritrean Fedayeen to be released from jail there. In all the five operations, there were no human casualties. 

 The heroic operations of the ‘Punishment’, special unit 

The late, Osman Denden, in his book, "The battle of Eritrea", in Arabic, documents the struggle of the Eritrean people for independence. We present below excerpts from the book on that special unit, ‘Punishment’ or Igab, in Arabic.

‘Igab’ which literary translates to ‘Punishment’, in English is a type of bird of prey in North America. This was the name given to a special commando unit, in the Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF). The late Osman Saleh Sabbe, established and it was supervised personally by him. He selected the members of the unit and even participated in transporting weapons and explosives to the site of the operations. The commando unit was formed early 1969 in a document written in blood whose operations were to be governed by international laws regarding war. It gave the Eritrean revolution the right to target economic interests of the enemy on the ground, in the air and the sea.

After the end of the Arab-Israeli war of 1967, the Ethiopian foreign minister stated that now that the main supporters of the Eritrean revolution had been defeated, it was an opportune time to crush the Eritrean revolution once and for all.

After this statement, the Ethiopian forces started the implementation of the "scorched earth" policy in 1967 using indiscriminate bombing of villages and killing civilians mainly in the lowlands and Muslim villages in the highlands. Even livestock were not spared and wells were poisoned. Asrate Kassa, the then Governor (Enderassie) of Eritrea oversaw the implementation. It was during this period the first wave of Eritrean refugees entered the Sudan. Some of those refugees still live in the same refugee camps, today.

During this period, the Ethiopian army committed grave atrocities, without the knowledge of the international community. The late Sabbe established that unit to attract world attention to what was going on in Eritrea. Ethiopian planes that were carrying soldiers and weapons to Eritrea were considered, legitimate targets.  The members of the Unit were selected from ELF foreign offices and included a 14 year old boy by the name Ahmed Amin Berhan. One of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) leaders, the late Abu Iyad (Walid Nimir) personally supervised the training of the members in one of the PLO training camps.

Regarding highjacking of airplanes, the author states that it was the United States that was a pioneer in highjacking airplanes. He indicates  that the US planned and funded the high jacking of Cuban civilian and military airplanes, since 1958.  23 Cuban planes were high jacked and taken to the US. He claims that the US allowed the kidnappers to destroy or auction the highjacked airplanes. He further states the US abandoned the highjacking of Cuban airplanes only when the US planes highjacked and taken to Cuba were more than those high jacked by the US.

Other countries were also involved in highjacking of airplanes. In October 1956, France high jacked a Moroccan airplane where one of its passengers was the Algerian liberation leader, Ahmed Ben Bella, and his colleagues. He was imprisoned in Paris for six years.

Israel had a track record of hijacking, shooting down of civilian aircraft, or forcing them to land in its territory. This included a British plane where some of the passengers were Algerian officers which was forced to land in an Israeli Airport, Lod (now called Ben Gurion Airport).

The damage done to Ethiopian Airlines, by the Punishment Unit, was enormous. A number of airplanes were made out of service and the operations are estimated to have reduced passenger numbers to around 40%. The insurance companies refused to pay any compensation of losses as those were regarded due to sabotage that was not covered by insurance.
The first commando operation
 At about 8 pm on a Tuesday, the 11th  March 1969, an Ethiopian passenger plane, a Boeing 707, was destroyed at Frankfurt airport, Germany, as time bombs placed by the Fedayeen under the seats adjacent to the wings of the plane exploded. As a result the plane was divided into two parts. No one was hurt, as the timing was carefully planned. The passengers had left the plane and even cleaners in Frankfurt had finished their work and left the plane before denotation. The German newspaper, Suddeutsche Zeitung estimated the losses at DM 25 million

The incident generated worldwide attention. The Ethiopian Government, issued a statement, accusing Syria of masterminding the incident. Syria responded denying the Ethiopian allegations. Emperor Haile Selassie threatened to take to strong measures against Yemeni communities in Eritrea and Ethiopia. The Fedayeen who carried out the operation, were able to leave Frankfurt airport at lightning speed, due to prior arrangements have made it possible for them leave the targeted Ethiopian plane they boarded from Athens in Greece and left to West Berlin and later to East Berlin with forged Ethiopian passports and returned to their base safely. The two fighters who took part in the operation were: Mohamed Osman Yusuf Saig and Mohamed Ali Omar Afarorah.  

The second operation
On the 8th of June 1969, three members of the special unit destroyed an Ethiopian Airlinee Boeing 720 at Karachi Airport, Pakistan. The airplane had arrived there from Cairo on its way to New Delhi. The three militants infiltrated into the Karachi airport across the barbed wire surrounding it. The ammunition used in the attack was brought by Osman Sabbe to Karachi. Two of guerrilla fighters got into the plane and asked the remaining passengers and the crew to disembark and placed explosives of the plane. The plane was completely destroyed and its pieces spread in the airport. What made the effect of the explosions heavy was because the plane was being re-fuelled. The explosion covered a large area and threatened the destruction of other airplanes in the airport.
At the end of the operation, the three guerrilla fighters surrendered themselves and their weapons to authorities in Pakistan. They indicated that they were members of the ELF and had leaflets explaining the Ethiopian authorities’ atrocities in Eritrea.

On the 30th of June, 1969, they were brought to a Pakistani court which sentenced them to long term imprisonment and they were:
1. Ali Said Abdella, sentenced for 20 years (former Foreign Minister and died 2005)
2. Fisseha Abreha Fikak was sentenced for 23 year-old (He was earlier a member of Ethiopian Commandos who joined the ELF, he died not long after the event)
 3. Mohamed Idris Tilul who used to work in Saudi Arabia and had volunteered to train with other volunteers.

After the ruling of the court, The President of the Pakisatani Lawyers association and seven Pakistani lawyers volunteered to defend them. They explained to the court that they participants in the operation were guerrilla fighter who were members of the Eritrean Liberation Army that was fighting for a just cause and that the operation they conducted was politically motivated against Ethiopian occupation and against atrocities committed against the civilian population in Eritrea. The prison sentences were reduced to two years.

The Ethiopian Government had sent the Ethiopian State Minister, Seyoum Haregot (Eritrean, son of Haregot Abbay) who was married the granddaughter of the Emperor to Pakistan. He demanded the extradition of the three commando to the Ethiopian Government. Seyoum and his Ethiopian entourage stayed 10 days in Karachi but failed to achieve any results.

When the news of the arrest of the three Eritrea Fedayeen spread across Pakistan, the late Pakistani Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto (when she was young) used to visit the Eritrean prisoners and brought them food. The prisoners did not know her identity until they were released after serving their sentence. They were able to return to their base safely by the help of the late Palestinian leader, Khelil El Wazir (Abu Jihad) who happened to be passing by Pakistan from China. He met the three Eritreans and asked the Palestinian representative in Pakistan then, Khalid Al Sheikh to provide all assistance to them.
The third operation which was most daring
On the day of 13th of September 1969, members of the unit highjacked an Ethiopian Airline plane that was travelling from Addis Ababa to Djibouti and forced it to land in Aden, Yemen. This incident which happened in Addis shock the Ethiopian security, in terms of place and its timing. Addis Ababa was preparing to receive the African Heads of State, during that period.  

Before the highjacking event, Members of the ELF in the Ethiopian capital succeeded in leaking a memorandum written by the ELF explaining to the Heads of States at the then Organization of African Unity (OAU) about the atrocities committed by the Ethiopian Government in Eritrea and asking them to discuss the Eritrean question. Every one was surprised when that memo was distributed to the Heads of States, at the Conference hall. In the memo, the ELF indicated that it will resort to all available means to pursue its legitimate struggle.

When the highjacked plane landed at the airport Aden and when one of the Eritrean Fedayeen was leaving the Cabin, an Ethiopian security in the plane shot and injured him. The Fedayyen exchanged fire with the security officer and injured him, but he was, himself, seriously injured. None of the passengers were hurt during the shootout. The hero of the whole operation was a 14 year old boy, Ahmed Amin Burhan, an Eritrean who was born and grew up in Somalia as his family had immigrated there, during the Italian occupation. His mission was transfer the weapons to be used in the operation through Khartoum to Addis. He accomplished that mission successfully. The other two were, Mohamed Saeed Salih Sengour, the leader of the group who was injured and Mohamed Saleh Yehlly.   

The fourth Operation
It took place on November 1969, and the aim was to highjack an Ethiopian Airline plane, a Boeing 720 that was on route from Madrid to Addis through Athens. The three Fedayeen arrived at Madrid Airport from Rome. While they were at the airport lounge, security officers at the airport were suspicious of a handbag that was with one of them. They searched the bag and found weapons in it and so he was arrested. The other two boarded the plane without knowing that their colleague was arrested in Madrid.

Ethiopia had tightened security at its airplanes. There were 12 security men at that plane, armed with rubber bullets. When the two Fedayeen boarded the plane, they found that some of the front seats had cards on them that indicated they were reserved so that two persons could not sit together. When the plane took off, the security officers who had identified the Fedayeen, stabbed them with daggers, and killed them. A Champagne was served to the passengers as a form of celebration. When the plane landed at Athens, the Airport authorities refused to arrest those involved, making an excuse that the murder did not take place at Greek territory and the plane was allowed to continue its journey to Addis. The two who were martyred at that operation were Ali Mohamed Omer and Hamid Shenin. Their colleague who was arrested in Spain for several years was Mahmoud Suleiman.

Picture Courtesy of Biniam Hirut who posted it at FB-group: Historical Pictures from the Horn
The nationalities indicated could be the fake passports they were holding

 The fifth attempt
Emperor Haile Selassie had planned to visit Italy in June 1969. The Unit planned an operation in Italy to blow up the Ethiopian Embassy in Rome so as to prevent that visit from taking place and to attract the attention of the Italians to the Eritrean cause. The Unit member who was assigned to do this was Mohammed Saeed Berhatu, a 26-year old who was studying in Cairo during that period. The time bomb that he was fixing to use exploded, while he was preparing to leave the Hotel to carry out his assignment and he was killed. This was on the morning of June 20, 1969.

Other highjacking of Ethiopian planes that took place during that period:
 On 23 January, four Ethiopian students high jacked an Ethiopian Airlines plane that was on domestic flight and forced it to land at Benghazi airport, in Libya They stated that they were not members of the ELF, but high jacked the plane in protest to a massacre that the Ethiopian army carried out in Eritrea.  The ELF representative in Libya convinced the Libyan authorities to allow the students to travel to whatever destination they wanted to leave.

Another Ethiopian military plane was highjacked by its Eritrean pilot, Afworki Mengistu and was made to land at a military airport in northern Somalia. This was done in coordination with a clandestine cell of the ELF in Addis Ababa and Somali authorities. This event took place in November 1971.

The author of the book, states that the Ethiopian security services were trying to catch the mastermind of those highjackings and so the Ethiopian Airlines was made to hire one of the Middle East Airlines planes to operate in the Aden-Jeddah-Beirut route. The plane run with the Ethiopian Airlines Logo and staff. The Palestinian security uncovered the plot in time and warned Osman Sabbe and the ELF leadership not to use the Middle East Airlines, particularly on that route.

 Translated from Osman Denden’s book "The battle of Eritrea", in Arabic
This note was originally prepared by Hamid Idris Awate FB page, in Arabic