Accepted paper:

The army that disappeared


Hartmut Quehl

Paper short abstract:

Paper long abstract:

Examining the dissolution of the Eritrean Liberation Army (ELA), the military wing of the Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF), after its retreat from the battlefield in 1981, this paper looks at an hitherto under-researched topic of Eritrean history. The first part of the paper endeavours to uncover the main reasons for the organisational breakdown and to trace the whereabouts of the "remnant groups" of the ELF-Tagadelti. The second part then explores how the ELA's disintegration and the exodus experience of ELA members influenced Eritrean exile politics and organizational structures abroad. Assessing this "cold" demobilisation and reintegration process of a sizable army from a global and comparative perspective, the author also seeks to move beyond the isolationist and exceptionalist tendencies that characterises much of the earlier literature on the Eritrean independence war.

panel B4 & B5
In and out of Eritrea: returnees, refugees, and renegades