Military Wiki
Second Afar insurgency
Map of the Afar region
Date1995 – present[7]
Location Eritrea
Result Ongoing
 Eritrea  Ethiopia

Et arduf1.png ARDUF [5][6]

Allegedly Supported by:  Eritrea [5]

Commanders and leaders
Eritrea Ahmed Umer Kakay Ethiopia Siraj Fergessa
Ibrahim Harun
Yasin Mohamed [7][8]
Et arduf1.png Mohamuda Ahmed Gass [9]

Second Afar insurgency refers to the ongoing undeclared war between Eritrea and Ethiopia. Apart from supporting a variety of rebel factions, the two countries have occasionally engaged in border skirmishes.[4]


ARDUF was founded in 1993, through the union of three Afar rebel groups, ARDUU, AUDF and ARF. With the goal of creating an independent state in the Afar region. The group operates within Ethiopia, allegedly receiving Eritrean support. In 1995 ARDUF perpetrated its first attack, kidnapping an Italian tourist. The victim was later released unharmed.[5][6][10]

The Red Sea Afar Democratic Organisation was founded in 2001.The group along with ESF operates from bases located in Ethiopia, launching attacks into Eritrean territory.Both groups are supported by Ethiopia.[3][4][6][11]



  • In 1995, ARDUF militants kidnapped and later released an Italian tourist.[6]


  • In 2002, a splinter faction of ARDUF abandoned militancy, joining the Ethiopian political scene.[6]


  • In 2003, ARDUF issued a statement, forbidding foreigners from entering the Afar region.[12]


  • In March 2007, ARDUF kidnapped 5 European tourists and 13 Ethiopians in the Danakil Depression.[12]


  • On 16 November 2008, RSADO rebels claimed to have killed over two hundred government troops during an attack in a military training center. The group announced it killing over 285 Eritrean military officers including top military leaders in a military training center, in the remote Denkelliya region of Afambo local area. According to a rebel spokesmen, fighters sneaked up to the military base at around 8:30 local time, and bombarded a hull packed with over 450 Eritrean military officers who were celebrating the end of higher military training. The rebel official added that they also hit a truck carrying gas tanker and a generator outside which completely turned the whole area into a massive fire and end up the fun and laughter into shouts, crying and dead bodies. The group explained the success of the attack claiming it was taken along with the 200 deserted government soldiers who had every inside information needed to accomplish the attack.[13]


  • On 26 January 2009, RSADO insurgents reportedly killed 20 and wounded 30 soldiers, in the aftermath of an attack on a military camp in the Denkalya region of Eritrea.[8]


  • On 1 January 2010, ESF and RSADO assumed responsibility for two attacks in Kokobay and Kermeti, Eritrea. In the aftermath of the attacks 25 Eritrean soldiers were killed and 38 wounded.The attackers' loses amounted to 10 men killed and 2 captured. According to United States and Eritrean intelligence service sources, the attacks were perpetrated by the Ethiopian army.[4][14]
  • On 22 April, the RSADO and ESF launched a coordinated attack on several Eritrean military camps in the south of the country. Both rebel groups said in a joint statement that they had briefly taken control over the camps and seized weapons and military intelligence. The attack occurred at around 3 o'clock in the morning and rebels were reported to have held it for three more hours until government forces returned with reinforcements. A total of 11 government soldiers were killed and 20 injured. No rebel casualties were reported. On 28 April, a RSADO spokesman put the army death toll higher at 18 killed and a number of supplies captured during the "surprise" onslaught.[15]


  • In March 2011, ARDUF claimed to have killed 49 Ethiopian soldiers.[6]
  • In April 2011, the Ethiopian prime minister Meles Zenawi for the first time declares openly that his government will support rebel groups fighting to overthrow president Isaias Afewerki.[16]
  • On 22 October 2011, RSADO and ENSF claimed to have killed 12 and wounded 15 Eritrean soldiers, after they launched coordinated attacks on the towns of Kermed, Adi Metras, Ingra Abo and Adi Tela’a.[17]
  • On 1 December 2011, the ESF and RSADO launched a dawn raid on an Eritrean military base in the southern part of the country in Enda Haji near the town of Tsorono. An RSADO spokesmen Yasin Mohamed said his forces held the area until 11am, before they returned to their positions in the safe havens of Ethiopia where the group's headquarters is located. A total of 17 government soldiers were killed, five were injured, and two soldiers were captured by rebel fighters.[18]


  • In 2012, RSADO killed 30 Eritrean soldiers, in a single attack on military base.[7]
  • On 17 January 2012, ARDUF killed 5, injured 3 and kidnapped 4 people, in the aftermath of an attack on the Erta Ale volcano.The majority of the victims were foreign tourists.[19][20]
  • On 15 March 2012, the Ethiopian army carried a cross border raid into Eritrea, destroying three ARDUF camps in: Ramid, Gelahbe and Gimbi. An Ethiopian spokesman claimed that the rebels were receiving Eritrean training.[21]


  • On 7 September 2013, RSADO and Saho Peoples Democratic Movement (SPDM) formed an alliance in order to jointly combat the Eritrean government.[1]


  • On 29 April 2014, RSADO claimed to have killed 27 Eritrean intelligence agents, in the aftermath of an attack on military camp.[7]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Exiled Eritrean rebel groups plan joint military attack against regime". Sudan Tribune. 7 September 2013. Retrieved 2 November 2014. 
  2. "ETHIOPIA REPORTEDLY BACKS AFAR REBELS". Wikileaks. 22 June 2009. Retrieved 28 October 2014. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "ETHNIC AFAR OPPOSITION GROUP CLAIMS ATTACK ON GSE". Wikileaks. 26 October 2006. Retrieved 28 October 2014. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 "REPORTS OF OPPOSITION ATTACKS AND BORDER SKIRMISH WITH ETHIOPIA". Wikileaks. 5 January 2010. Retrieved 28 October 2014. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "Eritrea hosts regional rebels". Wikileaks. 5 December 2007. Retrieved 28 October 2014. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 "Q&A: Ethiopia's Afar region". BBC. 18 January 2012. Retrieved 28 October 2014. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 "Eritrean rebels claim to have killed dozens of intelligence agents". Sudan Tribune. 29 April 2014. Retrieved 28 October 2014. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Red Sea Afar rebels attack Eritrean military camp". Sudan Tribune. 26 January 2006. Retrieved 2 November 2014. 
  9. "BBC Monitoring Alert - ETHIOPIA". Wikileaks. 3 May 2010. Retrieved 28 October 2014. 
  10. "Political Parties". April 1997. Retrieved 28 October 2014. 
  11. "ERITREA/ETHIOPIA/CT/MIL-Eritrea rebels say killed 17 soldiers in raid". Wikileaks. 1 December 2011. Retrieved 28 October 2014. 
  12. 12.0 12.1 "Ethiopia preparing the ground for another war against Eritrea". Sudan Tribune. 17 May 2007. Retrieved 28 October 2014. 
  13. "Woyanne-backed rebels claim killing 285 Eritrean soldiers". Ethiopian Review. 17 November 2008. Retrieved 28 October 2014. 
  14. "Eritrean Rebels Say Kill 25 Government Troops In Attacks". Retrieved 28 October 2014. 
  15. "Eritrean rebels claim killing 11 government soldiers". Reuters. Retrieved 28 October 2014. 
  16. "BBC News - Eritrea profile - Timeline". BBC News. Retrieved 28 October 2014. 
  17. "Eritrean rebels ’kill 12 government troops’". Sudan Tribune. 22 October 2011. Retrieved 2 November 2014. 
  18. "Eritrea rebels say killed 17 soldiers in raid". Reuters. Retrieved 28 October 2014. 
  19. "Ethiopia: Tourists kidnapped after deadly Afar attack". BBC. 18 January 2012. Retrieved 28 October 2014. 
  20. "Ethiopia says four kidnapped in Afar tourist attack". Reuters. 18 January 2012. Retrieved 28 October 2014. 
  21. "Ethiopian Army attacks alleged rebel bases in Eritrea". Sudan Tribune. 15 March 2012. Retrieved 2 November 2014. 

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