July 24, 2012

The successive offensives and liberation of Eritrea

The successive offensives and liberation of Eritrea

by Yishak Yared | Almost two years after the demolition of Nadow Iz, continuous large scale military operations were conducted in a bid for the EPLF to preserve the victories already obtained and transcend into new military offensives while the Derg regime to avoid further military loses and regain what it had already lost.

Though the EPLF conducted large scale military operation in April 1988 in the Keren front in a bid to preserve the momentum of Nadew Operation the outcome was not successful as expected. It again launched another offensive in May and again did not materialize. The Derg military after they felt seemingly consolidating their stronghold at the Keren front after suffering heavy lose; they established a new front at the plains of Azhara and Maemide to avoid the pressure coming from the EPLF and to take back Afabet.

The huge military attempts were met with strong resistance and they suffered again a heavy lose. More over, the EPLF forces conducted tactical attack and rearranging of position at the Mensae front and with that the initiative of the enemy was was doomed to failure. The military development during the second half of 1988 was the offensive of the EPLF navy at the Massawa archipelago and its environs. Though the EPLF Navy was with limited capacity its role in the military operations and its future development as an important force was understandable. Within 10 months of the year 1988 around 45 thousand of the Derg manpower was out of action.

All possibilities that were initiated by the enemy through the Keren front were blocked. With that the concentration of the EPLF shifted towards the east plains, and in the beginning of 1989 it conducted successful mechanized offensive at the northern plains of Semhar; the successful Shire operation together with the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF); and in 1989 the victorious Assosa operation.

These all successful operations inside Eritrea and Ethiopia not only were important military and political developments but also were gate ways to the historical Fenkil Operation. Until the Operation Fenkil 50 small and big scale military operations were conducted.

From 08 to 01, 1990, the historic Fenkil Operation was conducted that liberated Massawa and cut the road from Massawa to Ghindae. The operation was special in all aspects. It was also an operation which killed the morale of the enemy and the binging of the end of its stay in Eritrea. The international community also forced to believe the eminent independence of Eritrea. In the combats conducted within two years including those 14 combats conducted at the end of 1990, in 64 combats the Derg regime lost 110 thousand of its forces.

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