• Short Summary

    Eritrean rebel forces, fighting for independence in their Ethiopian province, say they have retreated in certain parts to turn them into "mobile guerrilla areas".

  • Description

    SCU Eritrean People's Liberation Front spokesman, Midael Kamet, answering newsman's questions in English.

    NEWSMAN: "Were these people (INDISTINCT) when your forces attacked? How did you attack? I mean, was it a big battle, or was it guerrilla? How did the battle take place? Was it in the mountains?"

    KAMET: "There are, of course, two types of battles we conduct. We have retreated from certain areas in order to change those areas into mobile guerrilla zones, like the southern front, and because it would have been suicide to conduct traditional warfare, position... defensive warfare, And, in other areas, we conduct positional warfare. And so, these battles that are being conducted north of Keren, and on the eastern front as being positional warfare."

    NEWSMAN: "North of Keren and..?"

    KAMET: "On the eastern front is positional warfare."

    NEWSMAN: "When you say positional warfare, what do you mean by that? Do you mean you have entrenched positions? The Ethiopians attack and you..."

    KAMET: "Well, we have entrenched position. I mean, it's conventional warfare in the sense that each had a huge number of troops and heavy artillery, tanks and everything. We also have tanks."

    NEWSMAN: "What tanks? Do you use the tanks that have been captured?"

    KAMET: "There is no country which supplies us with tanks. We use tanks captured from the enemy."

    A spokesman for the Eritrean Liberation Front Revolutionary Council (ELF-RC) told Reuters on Tuesday (5 December) in the Syrian capital of Damascus that it guerrillas fighting behind Ethiopian lines in recent days had captured the town of Arraza, southeast of Keren, and Tamarat, near the Sudanese border. Observers say the Ethiopian troops taking Keren squashed for the foreseeable future any chance of Eritrean independence, and had serious implications for the whole of the strategic Red Sea region.

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    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: Eritrean rebel forces, fighting for independence in their Ethiopian province, say they have retreated in certain parts to turn them into "mobile guerrilla areas". A spokesman for the Eritrean People's Liberation Forces, (EPLF), Mr. Midael Kamet, announced this on Wednesday (6 December) at a news conference in the Lebanese capital of Beirut. The day before, (5 December), in Rome, another spokesman told Reuters news agency the offensive of Ethiopian government forces, which he claimed was backed by the Soviet Union and Cuba, had left four thousand seven hundred people dead or seriously wounded and one hundred thousand homeless. The EPLF has appealed to humanitarian organisations for aid to save the homeless from hunger and disease. The organisation says it needs some of the aid for seven and a half thousand Ethiopian prisoners of war it is holding. Ethiopian forces have been pushing towards the guerrillas' mountain camps since taking the town of Keren, the rebels' last stronghold. In Beirut, Mr. Kamet was asked about the recent confrontation.

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