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Eritrea: Ahmed Sheikh Feres’ Death Kept Secret For Four Years

[A few days ago, Eritreans discovered the death of Ahmed Sheikh Feres, an octogenarian who died in the Eritrean regime’s prison where he was kept without charges since May 2007. News finally came out that he actually died four years ago but the regime didn’t announce this until last week. Ahmed Sheikh Feres is a “formidable patriot and latest victim of the Isaias regime.”]

• Born in 1927 in Hergigo.
• Worked as a sailor and as vice captain on various Italian, Italian-Eritrean, Greek, Ethiopian and Saudi commercial vessels in the 1950s and 60s.
• Was trained in commercial marine navigation and seamanship in Italy.
• Was active member of the Eritrean Liberation Movement (ELM), aka Haraka / Mahber ShewAte.
• In 1959, when Osman Saleh Sabbe, then director of Hergigo School, became a target of Ethiopian agents, Captain Ahmed Feres first hid him in his home in Assab and then smuggled him out of Eritrea.
• Upon the creation of the ELF in 1960, he was tasked with coordinating activities inside Eritrea (specifically in the coastal areas) with ELF leadership outside.
• He soon became a main channel for the extremely risky job of buying and secretly procuring arms across the Red Sea to supply ELF fighters (mostly in coordination with Sabbe).
• He was arrested in December 1965 by the Haile Selassie authorities together with several others, including Mahmoud Sabbe and Sheikh Suleiman. In spite of continuous torture, he was adamant that he knew nothing about the charges.
• Prosecuted with 8 others and, on 7 May 1966, sentenced to 20 years in prison.

• Spent more than 9 years in prison (from 1965 to 1975), at Sembel, Carcere, Addis Abeba, Adi-Kuala, and back to Sembel. In prison, he continued his political activism and befriended, among others, Haile Woldensae (Durue.) Their friendship and mutual respect continued when they were reunited after independence.
• He was charged by the Ethiopian authorities, while still in jail, with recruiting inmates for the Eritrean cause. Other charges were also brought forward, including that he knew the hiding place of a weapons cache and that he had encouraged his brother (who he was told was killed recently) to join the ‘insurgency’ (ELF). He was subjected to renewed interrogations and torture, and twice condemned to solitary confinement for months.
• He was freed from Sembel prison in February 1975 together with 800 other inmates by the ELF. He was one of those who helped coordinate the operation from inside the prison. He chose to join the PLF (precursor of the EPLF).
• When the PLF’s Foreign Relations office (led by Sabbe) started unity negotiations with the ELF in late 1975, a move that was rejected by the field leadership (led by Isaias/Ramadan), Captain Feres was among a delegation sent by Sabbe to talk to Isaias and the other field leadership members.
• When Sabbe and Isaias parted ways in 1976, he continued with the Sabbe-led PLF. He subsequently became captain of the only ship that was operated by the PLF.
• In the 1980s, he went back to private employment as captain of commercial vessels in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.
• In March 1991, he published his memoirs in a book.
• Immediately upon Eritrea’s independence, he returned to his homeland.
• In independent Eritrea, he continued his public work, including by serving as chairman of Hergigo’s local committee and on a number of committees and development initiatives in the Massawa area.
• On May 2, 2007, at the age of 80, Captain Feres was arrested by the Eritrean regime’s security. No charges have been brought against him to this date. While the reason for his incarceration is not known, two possibilities are mentioned. (1) Not long before his arrest, Captain Ahmed Feres met Isaias Afwerki in Massawa and pleaded with him to allow Osman Sabbe’s remains to be buried in Hergigo and for his friend Dure’e and other G-15 prisoners to be released. (In fact, these are issues about which he had been outspoken all along). (2) Weeks before his arrest, he had met Brig General Re’si Mrakh to inquire about the whereabouts of the head of Massawa’s Islamic Awqaf Committee and other individuals from the region who had been arrested earlier.

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  • AOsman


    Watch the following clip from EastAfro……(I could not get the direct link)



    • Rodab

      Thanks AOsman.
      The clip is a ‘bird’s view’ into the hardship people are going through. For readers’ benefit, here is a small portion of it:
      “…ደሞዙ 500 ኢዩ። 500 ኣብዛ ሹቕ ወሪድና ኣነን ንስኽን እንታይ ክንሽምት ንኽእል ንርድ ኦ ነገር ስለዝኾነ ግዜ ከይቀትለልና
      500 ዝዶሞዙ ሰብ ኣቦ 5 ቆልዓ እንተኾይኑ 5 ቆልዑ ኣብ ገዛ ገዲፉላ ክኸይድ ከሎ ነታ መርዓቱ፣ ሽኮር ኣብቲ ገዛ ጥረ ነገር ኣይኮነን መድሃኒትዩ፣ ኣራንሺ ኣብቲ ገዛ ከምዘሎ ከማን ኣይፈልጡንዮም እቶም ቆልዑ፣ ዘይትን መማቕርትን ርሑቕዩ ንዖዖም፣ ስጋ ኣይሕሰብንዩ፣ እተን ብ500 ተሸሚተን ኣብ ገዛ ገዲፍወን ዝኸይድ መሸላ ከማን ንወርሒ ይእኸላ ኣይእኸላ ዝፍለጥ ኣይኮነን። እዚ ስለዝበልኩ ሕጂ ራድዮ ወያነ፣ ካል ኦት ሰብ ማይክረፎን ንህዝቢ ኤርትራ ክጸርፍዎ ኣታ 500 እባ እዮም ዝ ህቡ ዘጥምይዎ ሰብ እባ ኣለዎምዩ ገለ ከይብሉ ኢልኪ ኣይትፍርሒ፣ ክብርና እዩ…”

  • HayaT1

    Once again, this article affirms the long lived omens of the psychopath tyrant and his HGDF cult crime against justice seeking noble Eritreans that have dedicated all of their lives for Eritrea. For quite long time, the tyrant and his cohorts have been engaging in social engineering, and their convenient lane is preying against selfless Eritreans, confine them in unforgiving secrete prisons so that to induce silent death. This has happened to so many prominent Eritreans, including to our fathers, Ahmed Sheikh Feres. While we have accustomed to reading and hearing to many of the barbarous crimes HGDF has committed including to the very old and underage, the living and the dead, its cruel acts against committed against the very Eritreans who dedicated their lives is hard to fathom. It pains me deep to learn the highly revered father, grandfather and Eritrean patriot Ahmed Sheikh Feres has been the victim of the tyrant.

  • Rodab

    September 18th is around the corner. It is unofficial prisoners’ day. How should we commemorate it?
    I hope AT displays photos and names of the journalists and the parliamentarians on the front page. There was an excellent article chronicling the events. I would also suggest that article to be re-posted. Hey, you’ve been re-post recently….

  • SJ, Rodab and Mahmuday

    I don’t think you guys understood what I was saying. What I am saying is the government of Eritrea
    will out play the oppositions by doing something different. For instance; the government
    will release the prisoners and will try to extend the lifeline. I did not say
    the government was right nor I defended the government. One thing is for sure though,
    why are you surprise or act surprised if someone is died or some one is in
    prison? As far as I am concern, it wrong
    anyone to put in a prison with out charge or due process let alone a hero who
    is 81 years old. So, I think you guys are off understanding me on this matter. If
    anything I am warning you what is coming so, your toothless opposition can be prepared.

    And You, what ever the hell is your name., Tes.

    You are one of confused a piece of you know what. I don’t
    post to get your stupid response or anyone else. I post to express myself and
    to say what is on my mind. So, for you to say what the hell is trying to say,
    is just a joke. I don’t give a rat-azz what the hell you do. It is you just
    yesterday you posted EPLF’s flag with the Nazi symbol and now you talking shiiit.
    I just hope you won’t hold office in free Eritrea. You are one confused and
    weak individual. And please keep your word and stay the hell out of posts.

  • senay

    In mid June, I read the death of great Eritrean patriot. In one of the obituary articles, I came across the name of Ahmed Sheikh Feres. Back then I learned the life of these two great Eritrean patriots were intertwined. I also learned that the late Ahmed Sheikh Feres had joined EPLF but his where about was not clear to me. Here is the article

    When I read this sad news, the name came back to me, and It saddened me to see how the great sons and daughters of Eritrea are disappearing every day in the hands of this despotic regime unsung and unnoticed.

    May God grant him an eternal peace and my condolences to his family.


  • haileTG

    Selamat Awatistas,

    May he rest in peace, albeit belatedly.

    It would be natural for us to curse and say more about the despotic regime’s barbarity in times like this. However, what does this say about us. Is it about PFDJ and its foul play or is it about Eritrea and Eritreans and how they are judged to deserve to be treated as? Sadly, this is more about us as a people than the PFDJ. The PFDJ can go and replaced with another acronym, however, our self esteem, sense of what we deserve and state of mind will not change unless we tweak it ourselves.

    Did the regime announced the death or where about of the many victims that it discarded? Did it announce or lobbied for captives it lost in its aggression against outsiders? Did the regime announce the youth who are perishing in deserts an seas? Did the regime announce the denial of burial rights to citizens? Did the regime announce Eritrean that are shot and killed crossing the border? Not at all. Yet, if the regime manage to dig a dirt hole in the name of micro dam somewhere at the cost of the distraction of so many young lives and dreams, it doesn’t only announce the useless and dummy project but ensures every koboro junkie would wear a T-shirt with the mad man’s depiction and make a fool of themselves dancing the night away for it. What does that say about the people? Those who care not to where their brothers and sisters are but only their individual and personal gains.

    Consequences follow choices, not the other way around. The question is about the type of choices we made as people to reap the current consequences. We are a society that has made the unnatural to be natural. Ours is a society that considers standing up for your detained sibling or parent selfish and allowing wanton distraction of the nations future and emptying it for posterity an act of defending sovereignty!!! Where is the People’s Front For … Justice in all these??? It it the “cover” organization that jumps to ululate the planting of two tomatoes by the crazy despot’s forced laborers and muted to to so much express a raised eyebrows.

    The way forward is very clear indeed. The game has long ended with the PFDJ run genocidal crimes. The world has long given its verdict. The regime supporters are useless and their combined strength doesn’t amount to naught as we see it day in day out in their miserably failed attempt to help the dictator other than to cheer an clap for his murderous plans. Forget them. Change will occur in Eritrea sooner or much sooner and the question is if we can make ourselves relevant to that change by cutting the clutter and claptrap that has no significance in saving the nation and focusing on calling a spade a spade, going on a renewed and maintaining heavy onslaught on the regime without let up. A snake can’t be negotiated with, talked into giving up the very definition of its nature (venom) and made act in good faith. It must be destroyed mercilessly and reaffirm that we deserve better.

    As long as we have people who contemplate the sustenance of our “sovereignty” by allowing the mass murder of our people, this story is more about us than them (PFDJ).


  • Mohammed Ahmed

    Of all the self-less leaders the nation could have had – it ended up with a sick and a disturbed thug for a dictator – all by design. The fact that he indulges in torturing to death an 86 year old senior – and a hero at that who spent a lifetime struggling for his nation is not surprising at all. What is surprising (but mind you, not for long though) is our inaction in
    the face of such indignities.

    May Allah have mercy on Am’Ahmed and may he reward him for his sacrifices.

  • Well, every hero has to come down and he did. But why do you think the Eritrean government disclosed that piece of information? Read what I have posted on the other thread, where I predicted the government of Eritrea will throw the entire so called opposition out whack.
    Just watch.

    • Saleh Johar

      No one in out of a whack. The regime arrested an Octogenarian without charges, and threw him in jail. When he dies in their hands, they don’t even have the decency to tell his family about his death. After four years, his family discovered, not that the regime made an official announcement. So Nitricc, this exposes the cruelty of the regime, its lawlessness, its barbarism. But strangely enough, forgetting all that inhumanity and indecency, you gave it a spin, threw the opposition out o whack!

      Here is an old news I once read about:
      Title: A Bicycle blocks a main Street
      Copy: A drunk driver runs over a child riding a bicycle in a residential neighberhood. The drunk driver was speeding 60 miles when he hit the child. Police blocked the street.

      Nitricc, you are talking about the blocked street in an out of context way, while the news is about a drunk driver, the over speeding, the dead child, etc. But all that to you, pales with the news that the street was blocked, by the police by the way, not because of heavy traffic.

    • Rodab

      I think its the tyrannical regime that is out of whack here. How does one explain this despicable act of killing a good citizen who contributed more than his share and you don’t even have the decency to have him buried in dignity and ON TIME? You figure it out!

    • Mahmud Saleh

      Some moments impel us to observe some respect. It’s humanistic of us and culturally observed fact that we show some respect for the elders and the departed. If you thank him for his service, that’s a plus.

    • Tesfabirhan WR

      I know the mindset of people like you and I am not surprised by your response. Calling for an urgent meeting to Abashawil people because they know that is a potential threat for underground movement and finally they call it steadfastness and readiness to nation building. How stupid mind you have is well known.

      *I have stopped commenting under your name but this particular comment reminded me the Er-TV news report. It is then just to kind of Eri-TV news reporter reply not to you.

  • Amanuel Hidrat

    Rest in peace one of our un sang heroes who pass away in the dungeon of PFDJ.

  • Rodab

    So he was one of the thousands little known heroes whose stories never made it to public domains. RIP.

  • Kokhob Selam

    May the almighty keep him in Jenatel Ferdos .Amen.

  • aklilu zere

    “Every society needs heroes.
    And every society has them. The reason we don’t often see them is because we
    don’t bother to look.

    There are two kinds
    of heroes. Heroes who shine in the face of great adversity, who perform an
    amazing feat in a difficult situation. And heroes who live among us, who do
    their work unceremoniously, unnoticed by many of us, but who make a difference
    in the lives of others.

    Heroes are selfless
    people who perform extraordinary acts. The mark of heroes is not necessarily
    the result of their action, but what they are willing to do for others and for
    their chosen cause. Even if they fail, their determination lives on for others
    to follow. The glory lies not in the achievement, but in the sacrifice.” Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono

    May the The Soul of Ahmed Feres rest in peace. His efforts were not in vain.

  • Tesfabirhan WR

    To all those who give their life for good,

    Reading the historical chronogies and imagining the indomitable spirit bestowed to our fathers who make Independence to come makes to rethink again and again who I am as an Eritrean citizen. Can I say more words???

    Let’s not terrified by the barbaric regime who is against our history. Let’s be more stronger and stronger to weed-out the PFDJ dictatorial system.

    My heartful condolence to his families, friends and all Eritreans.

    And thanks AT for giving us a brief history of our father and hero. His legacy will be remembered for ever.

    Tesfabirhan WR.

    • Tesfabirhan WR

      Thank you Ahmed Raji