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An Eritrean Opposition Group Claims To Have killed Five Government Soldiers

In a statement it issued, an Eritrean opposition group known as United Eritrean Democratic Front (UEDF) said that its elements have attacked a government security squad led by Captain Negassi Seare and killed all its members.

According to the statement, the attack was carried out on Sunday 11pm local time, on January 11, 2015 in the Gash Barka region between the villages of Grmaika and Temerat.

Both villages are deep in Western Eritrea close to the Sudanese border.

According to the UEDF statement 1. Captain Negassi Seare , 2. Second Lieutenant Saleh Mohammed Ali, 3. Sergeant Kahsay Ghidey, 4. Lance corporal Zeratsion Haile, and, 5. A soldier who didn’t have an ID card in him, were killed.

The UEDF also stated that it has confiscated three AK-47 (Kalashnikov) rifles, one Tokarev pistol, 3 Chinese bombs, and a mobile phone.

It alleged that Captain Negassi and his squad have been terrorizing Eritreans escapees and refugees, in the border area, in Eastern Sudan, and has kidnapped several refugees from Shegerab camp.

UEDF defines its mode of operation as one that pursues both peaceful and armed struggle against the PFDJ government. Until its recent congress a few months ago, “it was known by its Tigrinya acronym MEDEFE’E [Eritrean Movement for Democracy and Justice (EMDJ) and after the congress it changed its name to UEDF.”

UEDF stated that its operation of Jan. 11, “is not only an expression of our people’s anger or a reaction to Isaias’s announcement of the death of the constitution, but also…. a warning to all those who have become the tools of the PFDJ and are engaged in the hunting of and are washed in the blood of citizens… it is an advice and a warning to the Isaias regime and the Isaias group.

The group also claims that it has been carrying out military operations inside Eritrea since 2014.

Gedab News contacted a member of UEDF leadership who goes by the name “Qeshi” who explained, “At the moment our organization’s operations are clandestine but the leadership is spread in many places including in the neighborhood around Eritrea.”

Asked if his group launches its operations from Ethiopia, Qeshi said, “Though we have asked Ethiopian authorities for permission to establish a training camp for our members, they have not yet allowed us to operate from Ethiopian territories.

There are several armed opposition groups in Eritrea operating along its southern border and Gash Barka region.

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  • Michael

    “An Eritrean Opposition Group Claims To Have killed Five Government Soldiers”
    Awatedotcom is the one claiming such barbaric acts as news!!!

    That is the ultimate goal of Awatedotcom and enda Meharena -…We should not be mistaken by these groups – They are the sworn enemies of Eritrea – They just use the cover of “opposition, Democracy or human rights to further their mission of “regime change” at any cost….

  • Asmara Eritrea

    Truly tragic it has to come to this – Eritreans killing Eritreans. Our fight should be solely against the dictator and how to get rid of him.

    Eritrea forever, death to the dictator.

  • selam

    awate team , and the editors , you have been very very good for not pushing the eritrean people to fight militarly and i guess you should be reward by the Eritrean people who seek justice , Please tell the opposition who are very narrow minded people to not kill our brothers . those soldiers are soldiers who are on the border against their will.Let them know that they will achieve nothing by killing a forced solider . Weyane and their so called Zobawiyan will like to see eritreans slaughter each other . But any eritreans know what the gun is all about.

  • selam

    I am not new to but i have never intended to comment until this day , and please take my points as a new learner of your forum. < How are these so called opposition who are killing our forced soldiers who have no voice in their own home as well as in their own country , how could be these people's life counted , can we have a rational view that we can not and will not reach to the point that some people like salah have been telling us that we Eritreans could not answer gun by gun ,we have been opposition shaebia for almost 15 years now and we can see that it is not like a factory which is constructed to give some product because some one is designing the out come . we should take responsibility for taking our people's view inside and out side about the killing of some once father for no result.

  • Abraham Hanibal

    Who is going to kill whom? We know that the bulk of the Eritrean Army members are conscripts, serving like slaves without their free consent. Is it right to fight against these oppressed brothers and sisters of ours? I don’t think so. It would only increase the tragedy we are facing. The best strategy should be for the opposition to unite the people around a common agenda for change, and persue a regime-change through popular uprising backed by members of the EDF. If there is any fighting, it should be against those in the security of the dictator and the Demhit, should these try to quash the peaceful uprising that may ensue.

    • haileTG

      Selam Abraham,

      I know that when we are talking about uprisings, we are hoping for a cleaner, less messy and quickly executed/resolved one. We should also remember however, even uprisings do evolve into civil wars under certain conditions. This usually happens when force is consistently applied to quash the uprising but fails to control it. This would then become a running battles between the supporters of the regime (even those you mentioned as security organs…) and the uprising group. The situation would then be escalated into insurgency. Once the insurgents are reconfigured and start to follow chains of command from central leaders, they become belligerents fighting over control of the state’s territory and seat of government. At this stage the uprising could be said to have evolved into civil war. All sides would then be expected to adhere to international conventions on protection and responsibilities there of. The insurgence stage could also be described as rebellion but [if] it is recognized by external actors, it would be referred to as insurgency. In any case, the conflict in a civil war is among compatriots of the same country that have failed to reach settlement peacefully or through popular demand (protests). If the objective of the uprising is to force out a regime, then unless the armed forces side with the uprising groups, it would most likely lead to insurgency that would eventually lead to civil war.

      Libya and Syria are key examples. Iraq is different because the regime fell under external conflict situation and Somalia’s case is also different because the regime fell by armed rebellion/insurgency launched from the get go. Eritrea’s case is also very different. The situation is ripe internally and externally for change, but spontaneous uprising could go either way and direct military take over is another avenue (assuming the army can retain cohesive command and control). So, the possibility of civil war doesn’t seem to be ruled out whichever way we go (although some avenues are better at avoiding it than others). The regime seems to only play the single card that would lead to civil war and the responsibility of avoiding it seems to be shifted (somewhat unfairly) to those on whom it is imposed in the first place (not by you but by the general arguments we hear nowadays).


      • Nitricc

        “I know that when we are talking about uprisings, we are hoping for a cleaner, less messy and quickly executed/resolved one”
        Haile, HOPE is not a strategy. This is where your toothless oppositions lose the silent majority. I get it; if it helps, I suggest the oppositions should try a prayer as well. Hope and prayer go hand in hand.

        • haileTG

          Nitricc, I see now that the toothy gehdli set out knowing that Eritreans will sloughter each other in medda and pay 65000 souls and 150000 disabled. I see that the toothy PFDJ started out knowing that it would end up a friend of rag tag armed groups, terrorists and a dark, waterless and peopleless nation 25 years later. This is where you lose me Nitricc, for all the great military strategist you sound tome, you all the way like Hope when you expect the opposition is a leatherguided precision device and the silent opposition some kind of prudent investors. None of them is like that Nitricc. Now should I call you Field Marshal or Hazeka Major Nitricc

      • Abraham Hanibal

        Hi Haile;

        From our understanding of the situation in Eritrea, the Isayas regime or inner circle is isolated from the general public. We know the beneficiaries of the current status quo are very limited: those who’re at the helm of the political and military leadership of the regime. Even these are living under a borrowed time, as they know very well their fate, should they fall out of favor of the dictator even for slight suspicion of iloyalty. Your fear of a civil war breaking internally needs the existence of a substantial group that has vested interests to keep the dictatorship, but the reality is the great majority of the people and army, if not entirely, are victims and would more than welcome any action that would result in the removal of the tyrany.

        I understand that it is very decisive for any popular uprising, that it should have a helping hand from the armed forces. The bloody Isayas inner circle would never hesitate to crush any uprising by force, for this reason members of the army should be ready to protect the people, hence it is important to forge an alliance with the armed forces before any uprising is initiated.

        The other alternative, that is opposition groups engaging the regime from outside militarily is less likely to succeed. The regime would try to portray such forces as the enforcers of foreign invasion. Even the idea of Eritreans killing their oppressed compatriots is unbearable, and it only serves the dictator himself. Remember also when the opposition groups are firing to kill, they would also be answerd by equal measure, no one would wait to be killied while being fired at.

        This means there is no other way than emboldening the people and army to join hands and face the regime from within.

        • haileTG

          Selam Abraham,

          If I start with the armed opposition groups, these are not popular rebellion. They are very closed systems where everything has to go through their own politburo. Whether they win or lose, they are self centered in a sense that their objectives are calculated within their own organization and that of their allies.

          On the uprising side, you are correct that the ONLY way it can be avoided from failing or devolving into civil war is when the army takes the people’s side. In fact, it is established in all related literature that the singular reason that turns an uprising into civil war is a violent reaction by the regime. In Egypt for example, the army is more independent and respected by the populace. In Libya it was the opposite, but a major fault there was also the fact that the protesters started out violently. They were soon outnumbered by the loyalists and had it not been to NATO intervention, they could probably have been slaughtered. One other case that could reduce the risk is also if the head of the regime leaves the country early into the uprising.

          In any case, your assessment that the regime is isolated is something I agree to great extent, but one need to leave room to the unexpected too. So, the link with the armed forces is not only critical but also decisive.

          Rate of defections from the regime to the protesters side has a multiplying effect in the speed of the uprising achieving its goals. And significantly reduces the overall cost in human life throughout the duration of the uprising. It works in multiplicity of ways by boosting protesters moral, degrading regime capability & moral and providing strong signal for more crowds to join in.

          This is why the uprising is better to be organized by people on the ground meticulously before the get go.

          As I said at the intro. armed groups are a different species all together and have top down command and almost always have strong drive for control of power. You can consider them well oiled killing machines for all intents and purposes. When people support them or oppose them, they miss the key point that such groups care less about it and their structure is not responsive to that kind of opinion polls. But uprisings are people owned, can remain so if they are organized, but we must acknowledge that they also have inherent risks if the regime is bent in violent measures and they prove tough nuts and they wouldn’t go back. That would then easily progress into the next phases I described in the previous section.


  • Saleh Johar

    Kogne, you are absolutely right. I am not sure about salih Yunis and the other “paper tigers”. But p[lease don’t send me a suicide vest, I am not wearing that thing for any reason. Indeed, I tell all those Internet tigers (or is it paper tigers) “sre entelekin”–are you the PFDJ ambassador to Israel by any chance?

    By the way, will you carry a gun and push them back when they come or you will …. please don’t turn a paper tiger on me 🙂

  • Peace!

    “Before” “After” for disaster! That should have been the headline for the News. Well, this is a very dangerous way to seek change, and whoever is supplying weapons to the group should be held responsible. Hopefully Gedab news will ask the group the origin of the weapons because it is as important as allowing acces to a place where they can operate freely.

    If the oppositions are giving up on creating a condition that would make impossible for DIA to continue, I doubt they can defeat him militarily.


    • Saleh Johar

      Peace, an AK-47 rifle costs as much as a dinner for two in an average restaurant in the West. The neighborhood owns enough weapons to wipe its entire population three times over. Weapons are not the problem, watching the signs and considering it a reason for a sneer is. And that’s what the PFDJ (and its clones) continue to do when many are raising a red flag. The issue is not about defeating or not defeating Isaias, at least in how you present your argument, but looking beyond that and working for a solution. We must not forget we live in a violent and unpredictable region.

      • Peace!

        Hi SJ,

        You could be totally right I am not familiar with the neighborhood you mentioned. The reason why asked is, given there are many people including myself who have no solid knowledge on which group of the oppositions has the right vision for our country, asking such questions can help scrutinize the group whether it is pursuing the change we all wish to see. Opposing DIA by itself is not an ideology, and doesn’t give a right to any group to drag us into unnecessary civil war.


        • Saleh Johar

          I understand, but you need to recognize the PFDJ is charge of the country–it has the capacity to pacify Eritrea or push it into total anarchy and violence which no Eritrean I know wishes for. But people are being pushed to the corner and don’t be surprised if some groups would snap and push back with force.

          Personally I do not care who has a program as long as it will be tried and voted for by the public. But we have to reach to that stage with reason to avoid the unwanted. We should depend on a system that allows peaceful transactions of our daily life, and we have to build that. And it is difficult when you have an exclusionist and irresponsible regime that doesn’t care when the country is bleeding and we are in the verge of total chaos. We are no better than South Sudan or Somalia… and that why we must be careful on how we contribute to the diffusion of the current volatile situation. Pray hard if you can :-).

        • Kokhob Selam

          I ununderstand your worries. Let me assure you the Group is aware of all the circomstances and is doing things carefully.

      • Hope

        Mr Saleh Johar,

        Let me rephrase what Peace said in my way:

        -What do you mean by ” Before(Old AK-47) and After(New AK-47″?Please clarify.

        -You attempted to ID the Captain called Queshi and also asked him who is helping his Group and as to where he is located,etc–

        “Gedab News contacted a member of UEDF leadership who goes by the name “Qeshi” who explained, “At the moment our organization’s operations are clandestine but the leadership is spread in many places including in the neighborhood around Eritrea.”

        Asked if his group launches its operations from Ethiopia, Qeshi said, “Though we have asked Ethiopian authorities for permission to establish a training camp for our members, they have not yet allowed us to operate from Ethiopian territories”.
        Are you serious?And you think you can convince your AUDIENCE HERE BY ASKING HIM THOSE KIND OF QUESTIONS AND WITH THOSE KIND OF ANSWERS?
        Why didn’t you ask him about the essence of kiling poor Warsay rather than “targeting those to be targeted”?
        Let me ask you:
        Do you have any relatives likeCousins,Nephews,Nieces,Brothers,Sisters,etc– as Warsays or Yik’alos at the Front?
        If so,what would you feel or how would you approach Captain Queshi if some of the soldiers,who were killed were some of your relatives,God forbid?
        FYI,I felt terible when my Cousin ,Jemal was murdered by the likes of UEDF -the RSADO, at Aseb Front few months ago.

        • Saleh Johar

          Hope, was the byline Saleh Johar? It’s by Gedab News and if you have questions ask I am here as an individual. But I think you never asked any news institution what images or titles they choose. You have difficulty dealing with as an institution. By the way, I face difficulty understanding you as a person, Gedab will not understand you question. My suggestion. Say your piece on this forum and no one owes you a reply every time you feel like asking. No one can match you speed and number of auestions

    • Salahadin

      Dear Peace,

      Peace be upon the Eritrean people! but the move might not be as we wish unless the only and only responsible regime in Asmara leaves the room for justice.

      Here is today’s News Break from Soudi-Arabia, a fire out-break in the Embassy of Eritrea in SOudi-Arabia.


  • asmerom

    Your comment only tells that PFDJ succided in creating a dumband low grade eritrean generation with the last 21 years.I guess it is going to be challenging to undo that.

  • Admas

    nothing more than just a warmup for the inevitable post-Isais civil war…..which is why the longer Isais stays the better for the “region”

  • haileTG

    Selamat AT,

    Although it is difficult to confirm or reject this claim (with nothing more than their word to go about), the location is interesting. If one is decided on the armed venue, then the length of Sudan Eritrea border is the most strategic location to conduct operations (even hit and run or mounting surprise attacks here and there). If one is fighting at the Zalambessa or further to the east of Ethio-Eritrea border, unless they have a large scale army, it would be uneconomical and nonviable. The eastern Sudan border can easily be accessed from its southern most corner. It can heighten regime stress, economically there are better stakes to strengthen the armed group’s hand and most importantly it has great potential to recruit from a diverse pool as opposed to only refugee pool on the other side.

    So, ideally the Eritrean problem would have been quickly corrected by combination of uprising and set up of transitional administration by taking over presidential quarters and arresting senior military and civil leaders. Unfortunately, the level of fear gripping the populace isn’t well understood from the outside and seems that armed groups might gather strength before the population is emboldened. In any case, any armed group that concentrates its activities around the Eritrea Sudan border, would most likely gain an upper hand in later developments.


    • Tafla

      You can’t have it both ways. They can’t be both government soldiers whose corpses can be displayed as some kind of hunting item and at the same time forcefully conscripted oppressed youth that needs to be liberated by the opposition. It’s unacceptable to cheer the start of a civil war.

      • haileTG

        anta tafla… cheering, analysis, opinion, freedom of reasonable speech, are all different. You know there is an easy way to counter your logic of “both ways”, but on a bigger scale not necessary to engage it. Because, civil war in Eritrea’s case is devastating and highly impossible to control once it gains momentum. this is why I said “ideally the Eritrean problem would have been quickly corrected by combination of uprising and set up of transitional administration by taking over presidential quarters and arresting senior military and civil leaders.” the reality is however, not promising but still there is small room for some unexpected miracle though.

      • T..T.


        Let’s see what the opposition has and has been missing:

        Knowing that Isayas has only one friend country (Qatar) and 180 enemy countries, the Eritrean issues can be internationalized to secure support from those countries against Isayas.

        The opposition todate ceaselessly sought political initiatives only when it knew, like the late Ahmed Nasser said: the electrified environment in Asmara can engulf the whole country with a single bomb thrown as a whistle for the public to start off its direct confrontation against the abuser and enslaver.

        Together with the above explanations there goes the fact that there are many of the opposition groups that believe the dictator can be weakened and taken out only through a combination of military force and political objectives along with the Eritrean Diaspora’s support and explanations on Isayas’s abuses and destruction vide the international media.

      • Amanuel Hidrat

        Haw Tafla,
        Give us a general understanding of yourself how we bring a change in our nation. From all your comments I read, I failed to understand your stand. Help me on that at least not to misrepresent you.
        Amanuel Hidrat

        • haileTG

          hey Emma,

          For some, war is very narrowly defined as a violent act that is mounted against the regime and its power apparatus. Every single other tragic and violent happenings wrought by the regime on others is fine. The death of others is acceptable, it is just “theirs” that is hard to swallow. 🙂

          • Amanuel Hidrat


            Yes indeed, for some, PFDJ’s war against our people is not a war. If statistics could be done, the death toll in the last 23 years against our people (that includes the death in the deserts of Sahara, in the sea, in the hand of human traffickers, in the shoot and kill, in the prison..etc) will surely exceed the civil wars between ELF and ELF-PF plus between ELF and EPLF. No question that we are at war and isn’t overstatement. Hailat, you never loose your grip, and is amazing.

            Amanuel Hidrat

    • Meseret

      haileTG, you are one of a kind! Whenever there is a “news” from Gedab, you are all over it trying to explain and make it palatable to the broad masses. This Qeshi guy, whose “operations are clandestine but the leadership is spread in many places including in the neighborhood around Eritrea” is fictious at best. Wishful thinking is not going to help. Wake up!
      What you can’t do and not even willing to do, you want Mr. Qeshi to do it for you from “the eastern Sudan border that can easily be accessed from its southern most corner. And hope that it can heighten regime’s stress, economically there are better stakes to strengthen the armed group’s hand and most importantly it has great potential to recruit from a diverse pool as opposed to only refugee pool on the other side.”

      Every morning I will help the struggle with a short prayer for you to join UEDF through that “southern most corner of the Sudan just where the three countries borders meet” and for Mr. Qeshi to have more sparkling success like this one!!

      • haileTG

        I have forwarded your concerns to Qedhi:-)

    • Hope

      Haile TH,
      What.a Hypocrisy!
      You have been the most outspoken advocate for the Sinai and Mediteranean Sea Victims but now you have become the most outspoken advocate for the Eri-Sudanese Border” Terrorists” knowing fully that the victims being the same ones like the Sinai Desert and the Mediteranea Sea!
      You even advocated that the Group operating at The Eri-Sudanese Border will destroy the already destroyed Economy fully knowing that the poor people will be the target and the victim of the same Operatiom you are advocating.
      You just exposed yourself and your hidden agenda.
      Bravo Haile TH.
      Kudos and Congrats to you.
      I am anxiously waiting for Vet Mahmouday’s reaction.

      • haileTG

        Dear Hope,

        In case you forget, I oppose HGDEF FULLY, you don’t. I hope all possible pressure be brought on PFDJ to quickly end the miseries you talk about. One of those is for the UN to monitor the Eri Sudan border as per the sanctions regulations and destabilization charges. Either support or oppose the regime, half hearted and indecisiveness will prolong the suffering. In principle I don’t support war, but if it happens there is only the lawless PFDJ to blame for it. Kudos hope arkey for you too for advocating for the continued suffering of the Eritrean people under PFDJ. I can’t wait Sem’s reaction too. You call your your cousin, I will do mine too. Sem is my cus now;-)

        • Hope

          Haile TH,
          Address my concerns.
          Never mind about my stand.
          Did U say Sem?
          What am going to expect other than a joke or a boring satire ?
          If U r going to advocate those Terrorists ,who R killing innocent Warsays,I am going to fight U with my both hands.
          Btw,why don’t you join n them?

          • haileTG

            Hi Hope, here comes your concern:

            1) Never mind about my stand.

            Ans: why would I when you don’t seem to mind it yourself!

            2) Did U say Sem?

            Ans: No. I wrote Sem.

            3) What am going to expect other than a joke or a boring satire ?

            Ans: Don’t forget Tigrayit poems too.

            4) If U r going to advocate those Terrorists ,who R killing innocent Warsays,I am going to fight U with my both hands.

            Ans: Those “terrorists” to you are “Mandelas” to their ethnic groups and handsome boys to their mothers. Your warsays are their “terrorists”. If you mean your bravado about fighting along the terrorist regime, then why are you not doing it now? do you have to wait for Haile to join them first?

            5) Btw,why don’t you join n them?

            Ans: Which one should I go for, the Afar, the Kunma, the United, the Dihnet… give me clue, Hope 🙂