List of massacres committed during the Eritrean War of Independence
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The Eritrean War of Independence was fought as a guerrilla campaign by two main Eritrean liberation fronts, first by the Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF) and then, after the Eritrean Civil War, by the Eritrean People's Liberation Front (EPLF) against the Imperial Army of the Ethiopian Empire, and later by the Marxist Derg. This asymmetrical campaign against Ethiopian control left the Army at a disadvantage and so it embarked on a policy of destroying Eritrean villages. It was hoped that this would prevent the separatists from continuing their campaign. Listed below are some of the major civilian massacres committed by both the Ethiopian Empire and the Derg.
Date Deaths Location Description of event
1967-07-24 172 Hazemo Several villages wiped out and the throats of men slit in front of their wives and children.
Late 1967 Approx 50 Akordat Students suspected of being members of the ELF were hanged in the centre of town. Parents of the slain were forced, by the Ethiopian Army, to unhang their dead children and take them home.
1970-01-17 60 Elabared The village elders were rounded up for supporting the Eritrean Liberation Front and killed.
1970-11-30 120 Basik Dera The entire village was rounded up into the local mosque and the mosque's doors were locked, the building was then razed and survivors were shot.
1970-12-01 625 Ona Ethiopian Army units surrounded the village killing civilians and burning down the village.
1974-07-10 170+ Om Hajer
1974-12-28 45 Asmara Students were strangled to death using piano strings, their bodies were dumped in alleyways and doorsteps.
1971 Approx 70 Keren Students and youth suspected of supporting the ELF were publicly executed by hanging. Family members were forced to attend the execution and cut down their children from the noose.
1975-02-14 331-500, 3000 Asmara, Surrounding villages Shortly after an EPLF attack on two Ethiopian divisions, Ethiopian troops fire upon civilians gathered in Churches, homes and schools.
1975-02-02 80-103 Woki Duba During an engagement with the EPLF and ELF the Ethiopian Army attacked the church where villagers had taken refuge.
1975-03-09 208 Agordat After several ELF attacks on the town the Ethiopian Army retaliated on the local population.
1975-04-17 235-470 Hirgigo
August 1975 ~250 Om Hajer The villagers were machine gunned in front of a river to prevent escape.
1976-12-30 105 Hirgigo
1985-10-19 39 Mogoraib
April, 1988 3 Agordat Killed by aerial attacks.
1988-05-04 unknown Shebah
1988-12-05 400+ She'eb The dead were mostly women and children as the men had moved to the towns to eke out a living for their impoverished village.
3�4 April 1990 67 killed, 125 wounded Afabet Aerial attacks
24 April 1990 50 killed, 110 wounded Massawa Aerial attacks, cluster bombs
Throughout the conflict Ethiopia used "anti-personnel gas" and weapons of mass destruction.
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