February is a special month for Eritreans, as it marks the anniversary of the liberation of Massawa through the successful Operation Fenkil. This three–day battle, which took place from 8th to 10th February 1990, was a coordinated attack by the infantry, mechanized, and naval forces of the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF). The port city of Massawa was a key supply line for the Ethiopian second division stationed in Eritrea, and the Dergue regime had spent years fortifying it. The victory of Operation Fenkil marked the end of Ethiopian colonialism in Eritrea.
Ambassador Estifanos Mamet, Bruno, one of the leaders of the fight for independence, has given the Eritrean people a valuable account of history. This is a tribute to all those who made great sacrifices and to remember the struggle for freedom. We are grateful to Ambassador Estifanos Mamet for this gift.
COMMEMORATING FENKEL OPERATION
February 10, 1990. The Antithesis of Warsaw Pact Military Plan of Blitzkrieg, Encirclement & Mop up Operations of 3 Months Extended to 144 Months
February 10, 2022
“Fenkel” is a word in the Tigrigna language used to describe the
process of pulling something, especially a big stone, out of the
Having amassed over 250,000 newly armed troops, which included highly equipped mechanized naval and air force power machines on the main Entry Ports of Eritrea, i.e., Asmara, Massawa, Assab, Omhajer, Mereb, Tserona, Zalembessa, and the Red Sea Island of Dahlak, the Warsaw Pact military strategy was unleashed primarily focused on securing an important strategic military location and economic sphere of influence in the Horn of Africa in 1978.
The military campaign was composed of a carefully built-in military roll-out plan laid out to be put in action on the ground with a strategic objective to destroy Eritrean Peoples Liberation Army
(EPLA) in three months composed of 1) blitzkrieg attacks, 2) encirclement, and 3) carrying out mop-up operations on the resultant of the to-be-dispersed remaining forces. EPLA was in complete control of Eritrea except for part of the Port of Massawa and the capital Asmara which remained in the hands of the enemy and were heavily contested during this particular period.
This military campaign was launched in Ethiopia with a lot of leftist rhetoric, propaganda, and military parades showing off a military might that is based on a self-centered economic and security
the interest of the Warsaw Pact. This security interest and plan overrode all other concerns of independence and sovereignty rights of the people of Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, and
other countries in the region.