This week in Eritrea’s History
• On Mar 26, 1983, Ethiopia/ Derg launched the 7th (Stealth) Offensive (2nd Phase of Red Star) that lasted till mid-August.
It was planned by Soviet military advisers led by General Petrov. EPLF built the longest trench ever that extended from South Eastern Sahel to Barka. The 500 km long interconnected trench, the longest in EPLF’s history, stretched from Dembo Bet (near Karora) passed through Nakfa and reached Debre Sala (Barka). After this failed Operations, the EPLF launched an attack, captured Tessenei and raided ammo depot with large stockpile.
• In March 1889, the first outbreak of cholera occurred in Eritrea imported from the East by pilgrims from Mecca and it went rampant until 1890. In Asmara the outbreak killed many people. In 1886 smallpox killed 700 people in Mensa Bet Abrehe, the time is known as the “year of smallpox”. In 1889 a smallpox epidemic & cholera struck down Debarwa & killed many people. In 1919 an off-shoot of the Spanish influenza caused a mild flu epidemic in Eritrea.
• On Mar 25 & 26 of 1952, the first election for members of the Eritrean Representative Assembly was held. Members were elected by a process of indirect elections, except in Asmara & Massawa, where direct elections were held.
• On Mar 23, 1977, Nakfa was liberated and once liberated; the Ethiopian Army was never allowed to set foot again in Nakfa. Important events that led to the liberation of Nakfa -On Sept 17, 1976, the 6-month siege to liberate Nakfa were launched between September 22 – October 7, 1976. Ethiopian/Derg Army attempted to rescue its forces trapped in Nakfa but after 3 weeks of battle, the attempt was foiled by the EPLF. Again on October 10, 1976, Ethiopian army deployed airborne reinforcements to rescue its forces but failed. On November 20, 1976, Ethiopian/Derg Army tried to reach Nakfa by mobilizing new forces from Asmara, while from December 2- December 23, 1976, Ethiopian forces tried to rescue Nakfa from Afabet’s side but they didn’t make it past Genfelom. March 22, 1977, EPLA launched its final attack.