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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Battle of Af Abet and Eritrean Independence
Author:Gilkes, Patrick
Year:1995
Periodical:Northeast African Studies
Volume:2
Issue:3
Pages:39-51
Language:English
Geographic terms:Ethiopia
Eritrea
Subjects:rebellions
military operations
nationalism
Inter-African Relations
Politics and Government
Military, Defense and Arms
External link:http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/northeast_african_studies/v002/2.3.gilkes.pdf
Abstract:In March 1988, the Eritrean People's Liberation Army (EPLA) won a major victory on the Nacfa front, overrunning Af Abet, the command centre and main supply base for the Nadew Command, the largest element in the Ethiopian Second Revolutionary Army in Eritrea. This EPLA victory had immediate and considerable effects on the military situation. At the end of March, Mengistu himself publicly acknowledged the seriousness of the situation. In mid-May, he declared a state of emergency in both Eritrea and Tigrai regions. The 604 corps of the Third Revolutionary Army in Tigrai had considerable successes in Tigrai in mid-1988. In February 1989, however, TPLF (Tigray People's Liberation Front) victories led to the total collapse of the 604 corps. The series of Ethiopian military reverses in Tigrai and Eritrea in 1988 and early 1989 did not, however, affect the Ethiopian army's overall willingness to fight. This related to the army's attitude toward the territorial integrity of Ethiopia and its determination to try to keep Eritrea. Indeed, it was essentially this ideology that kept Mengistu in power for so long. The army turned against him only when he appeared to threaten its position. In May 1989 an attempted coup failed. After May 1989, the army was no longer prepared to fight seriously to preserve either the Ethiopian regime or Mengistu. In May 1991 the government collapsed. Notes, ref.
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