The Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF) has accused the Organisation for African Unity (OAU) of maintaining a 'conspiracy of silence' about the conflict in the Ethiopian province.
CU: spokesman for the Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF) Mohamad Saleh being interviewed in English.
TRANSCRIPT: MOHAMAD SALEH: "I think it's high time also for Africa to show its responsibility and to interfere in Eritrea."
REPORTER: "You talked in your memorandum about the conspiracy of silence against the revolution by the Organisation of African Unity."
MOHAMAD SALEH: "Yes, it is a conspiracy of silence, because now it is about one million displaced people inside Eritrea, and about half a million Eritreans in the neighbouring countries. Ethiopia is launching an unjust war against the Eritrean people, but we see the O.A.U., and the United Nations, they are aloof and distant from one of its... the problems which we have to tackle."
REPORTER: "What specific role would you like to see the O.A.U. play in Eritrea?"
MOHAMAD SALEH: "I think the O.A.U. should just (indistinct) Ethiopians to a peaceful and democratic solution in Eritrea. We are seeking self-determination. The same time the O.A.U. should organise the (Indistinct) revolution as the sole representative of the Eritrean people. At the same time, we are for a referendum in Eritrea, supervised by the United Nations, the O.A.U. This is very important, because Eritrea was united with Ethiopia without the consent of the majority of the Eritrean people."
In September 1952, during the reign of Emperor Haile Selassie, the former Italian colony of Eritrea was merged with Ethiopia, in a federal arrangement But Eritrea's federal status ended in November, 1962, when it was annexed to Ethiopia as a province Since then, secessionist guerrillas have waged a continuing struggle against Ethiopia By December, 1977 -- after sixteen years intermittent struggle-- three guerrilla movements controlled over eighty per cent of the province Loss of Eritrea would leave Ethiopia landlocked, and government forces have resisted the guerrillas strongly.
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Background: The Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF) has accused the Organisation for African Unity (OAU) of maintaining a 'conspiracy of silence' about the conflict in the Ethiopian province. The ELF -- a guerrilla group fighting for the independence of Eritrea -- made the accusation as African heads of state gathered in Monrovia, Liberia, for the start of the OAU Summit meeting. Speaking in Lebanon, ELF spokesman, Mohamad Saleh, called for a referendum in Eritrea -- to be held under United Nations supervision.