Three guerrilla movements are joining forces to fight a long-awaited offensive by Ethiopian troops against secessionist forces in Eritrea, a guerrilla spokesman said.
Three guerrilla movements are joining forces to fight a long-awaited offensive by Ethiopian troops against secessionist forces in Eritrea, a guerrilla spokesman said. The spokesman, a member of the Tigre Peoples' Liberation Front, said units of his organisation, of the Eritrean Peoples' Liberation Front and the Eritrean Liberation Front were massing along the Eritrean border and inside neighbouring Tigre Province to counter the Ethiopian thrust. At the same time, the government sponsored a rally in Addis Ababa to condemn the Eritrean Liberation forces and campaign for support to meet the separatist challenge.
SYNOPSIS: The Mayor of the city, Dr. Alemu Ababa gave the rallying call, as thousands of workers, peasants and youths began streaming into the Addis Ababa Stadium in the early hours of Sunday (11 June) morning. The crowd chanted slogans for a united Ethiopia and said that forces like the E.L.F. would be crushed without mercy. The people declared some of the slogans in Tigrigna, the language spoken in the Eritrean region and pledged support to what they said were the broad masses in Eritrea subjected to separatist elements that do not represent them.
Under the slogan of "Everything to the War Front" the demonstrators left the stadium and took to the streets in what was described as a symbolic Northern march, chanting revolutionary slogans and war songs. They moved to the public square on the New Asmara Road and then dispersed to their own localities. The main speaker, Lieutenant Colonel Legress Wolde-Mariam in charge of military political affairs on the ruling Provisional Military Council, interpreted the Eritrean problem as a class struggle. He said international imperialism and reactionary Arab regimes stand behind the separatists.
A spokesman for the guerrilla movements predicted that the government is launching the largest operation in the 17 year long Eritrean conflict. He said that the guerrillas were already putting up strong resistance to the Ethiopian advance, setting ambushes and mines. The main clashes are expected when government forces leave the highway and advance into rural areas near the Eritrean border.