[This article was published in the 22nd issue of Nida'ul Islam
magazine (, February - March 1998]

The Deputy Amir of the Eritrean Islamic Jihad Movement - Abul Bara' Hassan Salman:

The Governing Regime is a Terrorist Regime Which Acts With Enmity Against the Eritrean People

Can you please illustrate the
approach and the general plan of the Movement to rid Eritrea from the Christian regime?

The Eritrean Islamic Jihad Movement seeks change and reform in accordance with the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger (s.a.w), this can be summarised into two basic aspects, Da'wa and Jihad.

This comes through taking Islam to the general population in accordance with the words of Allah: "Say: 'this is my way, I invite unto Allah with sure knowledge, I and whosoever follows me, and Subhanallah, and I am not one of the polytheists'." [12: 108].

This requires greater concentration on correct Islamic education, and to apply all means permitted by Islam to achieve this goal, talking to each group according to their understanding, bearing in mind the obstacles placed in the way which make it difficult to carry this knowledge to a lot of the people. The Islamic Jihad Movement is striving against two groups, the Christian regime and the hypocrites in accordance with the words of the Most High: "O prophet, strive against the disbelievers and the hypocrites and be strong over them."

In the shade of this preface which is based on Islamic principles, the axes of change with the Jihad movement revolve in the following:

1- Armed struggle and training youth.

2- Da'wa and education, which works to destroy the fallacies of the regime and educates the Eritrean people to bring together their creed and religious requirements.

3- In the political and the Media through manifesting the various political policies and the creation of the necessary organisational moulds so that we can avoid the enemies' plots. In this, we accompany the Qur'an and Sunnah and aim to fulfill as a group all the aims therein and to realise our position as servants of Allah, and to establish the Islamic State.

4- Despite our shortage of resources on the economic front, we consider it to be one of the main pillars for the movement for Islamic change, since spending the money was given preference and priority over the lives in most verses of the Qur'an, and since the lack of funds could set back many activities.

5- The external front, which is also of the fundamental areas for any group which looks to change and reform. This is a very sensitive front from the aspect of our strategic security, and it requires well-planned external activities to expose the regime. In this respect we:

a- Liaise and exchange our experience and expertise with other Muslim organisations which also work to challenge the various corrupt regimes in the region.

b- Concentrate our activities amongst Muslims through means which will enable them to see the conspiracies of the enemies and their plots to uproot Islam and Muslims.

c- Strive to generate the suitable opportunities to support our Jihad through Islamic means.

d- Move around neighbouring countries and expose the corruption of the Eritrean regime and its danger over the entire region on the religious, security, and political fronts.

Generally speaking, the process of change is an encompassing one which aims at the creeds, the concepts, the knowledge, the principles, the values and the morals, Allah Most High said: "Truly, Allah does not change the condition of a people until they change what is inside themselves." [13: 11].

What is the extent of the tie between the Eritrean people and the Eritrean Islamic Jihad Movement?

The public support for any change or reform movement is related to the extent of the commonality of their goals culturally, religiously, socially, and politically. What is also required is the presence of efforts to increase the public awareness of what is happening around them. The leadership has set realistic goals and has proved its ability to lead the people. The leadership also carries the concerns of the Eritrean people and their religious aspirations as it also represents the alternative political organisation which is able to confront the Christian regime governing Eritrea.

The Jihad movement also works to renew its framework and mechanisim whenever its circle of support expands. The movement also represents the only military option which had proved its fortitude in confronting the Christian regime in Eritrea. These catalysts made the Eritrean people gather around the Jihad Movement and its Islamic program, and led them to offer all that they have both inside and outside the country.

Can you elaborate on the suppressive activities of the Christian regime in Eritrea which had been perpetrated against the Muslim people of Eritrea?

The governing regime is a terrorist regime which acts with enmity towards the Eritrean people since their independence. During the revolution, the regime pointed its guns to the hearts of the unarmed Muslim citizens in order to forcibly conscript Eritreans into the army. Hundreds of Muslim civilians were killed by the regime in this process of conscription. When the regime got into government they increased their terror activities against the Muslim citizens, especially the intellectual terror. They did this through the shutting down of the educational and religious institutions which worked even during the imperialists time. The Afourgy regime came and tightened its reigns and closed some of these institutions and is working to dry up the sources of their funds so that it can create a barrier between the Muslim people and their creed. There is also broad political terror against the entire Eritrean population stopping them from expressing their views, opinions, or thoughts with respect to the widespread corruption or with respect to their right to participate in the administration of their country. In fact, the Eritrean people are treated as little children who have not reached the age of consent.

As for the detentions and assassinations which take place in the dark, these have been so prevalent that the prisons of Eritrea were filled to overflowing and the regime had begun building new prisons in the various Eritrean cities as the regime is living in a hysterical state. The regime regards every Muslim who practices his religion and adheres to its obligations and cares for his honour as a danger, so they filled their prisons with the pious Muslims, teachers and students, politicians, leaders, and the common people, in order to arrest their fear. These base people do not even take the prisoners to court for a trial, as there is no true justice in Eritrea. Further, no one dares to ask where these prisoners are held or what had happened to them, for any person who enquires about them will end up in prison too. Eritrea today can be regarded as a country being governed by a very strong terrorist regime which owns the means to enforce its oppression.

Thhuman sifting has stretched to reach even those people who were at one stage comrades with Afourgy during the period of liberation. These people are being found assassinated everyday. The coroners finding with respect to these many deaths are usually that they were drunk and killed themselves.

How does Asias Afourgy waste the wealth of the nation, and what are the reasons behind the economic breakdown despite the wealth of natural resources in Eritrea?

Eritrea is rich in various economic resources if these were to be utilised well. However economic growth is dependent on political growth. As the matter is such, economic growth is not possible in a country ravaged by internal and external wars. Under the current regime, it is not possible to benefit from the wealth of resources which are present in Eritrea. If the government was to exploit these resources, the income generated will all be directed towards the wars which are devastating the population and exhausting resources. The priority for the regime will be to build up their security and defense personnel which will naturally lead to further economic slide and inflation.

One of the amazing things about the regime is that when it won power, the ruling party, the National Liberation Front, increased its control over more wealth so that it became wealthier than the government itself. In fact we hear at times that the Front is making loans to the government. In addition to this, the party has taken control of most of the commercial and economic ventures leading to a slide in the economy and the bankruptcy of a large number of merchants. They have also made it difficult for a large section of society to trade freely through placing heavy controls over imports and exports. This led to a further slide in living standards. The reader can realise how serious the situation is, if he was to know that the country relies on foreign aid for 56% of its food requirements. Further, the regime has had very heated exchanges with aid bodies as it does not want these aids to reach the people directly, rather they want the assistance to be directed to their troops and to take it into the markets so that they can benefit through sales of these goods.

What are some of the military successes achieved by the blessed struggle in Eritrea?

The Movement has achieved through the last few years some great military success, which was portrayed through the steadfastness of Mujahideen in the face of the political storms which hit the region. The vast spread of the units of the Mujahideen in the various sectors in Eritrea and the success of a number of large Jihad operations which aimed for the heads of the regime, its military strengths, its roads and its strategic organisations. The details of those operations and battles since the start of Jihad were illustrated through 121 military bulletins issued by the Movement. We can give the following brief list of achievements:

The establishment of basis for springing these missions inside Eritrea which will enable the continuance and success of the military operations.

The downgrading of most of the roads which are military specific which had forced the regime to move through many areas with simple transport.

The reduction of the morale of troops due to the many victories of the Mujahideen.

The destruction of many joint ventures with the Jews which would have won the regime much money.

The increase of public support for Jihad because of the many military attacks and the increase in the number of youths joining the Mujahideen.

The shutting down of many barracks belonging to the regime on the Eritrean Reef because the regime feared the targeting of these by the Mujahideen.

The success of the military operations carried out by the Mujahideen inside many of the Eritrean cities including the Capital Asmra.

The African Horn is facing a furious Christian onslaught, can you clarify the role being played by the Afourgy regime in this respect?

Politically, the African Horn refers to all the countries of East Africa; it includes Somalia, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Kenya. However, the term takes a narrower and wider applications at times depending on the dominant politics of the particular country. The area is of a particular strategic importance as it links the East with the West through the Red Sea. That is between the agrarian and industrial societies. The region is also an oil producer and has great mineral deposits in the red sea. The Horn's strategic security significance increased since the establishment of a Jewish nation in Palestine. These catalysts along with some others made the region a highly sought after place particularly by the colonialists and imperialists, both in the past and at present.

As for the latest Christian onslaught which is being led by America, its scenario is being executed by the puppet regimes in the region. This onslaught is also an attempt to impose the sovereignty of the Christian minorities in the region in order to ascertain the strategic security and economic needs of the imperialists.

As a result of this, and following the fall of the Mangesto regime in Ethiopia and the Siyad Berry regime in Somalia, not withstanding that these regimes followed the Eastern block, America arranged the scene in the following manner:

Giving the rule to two Christian rebel groups in both Eritrea and Ethiopia.

Splintering of Somalia and inciting tribal wars therein in order to create the opportunity for both Eritrea and Ethiopia to take advantage of the battles to fulfil their own designs in the absence of the Islamic balance in the African Horn which Somalia represents in one respect.

The declaration of the Economic and Diplomatic siege along with media misinformation about Sudan so that the balance can break up completely in all the extremities in the region. Fulfilling what had transpired, the Afourgy regime is regarded as one of the elements of the Christian strategy in the African Horn. This is evident in its employment of Eritrea and its people to destabilise the security of the region. The behaviour of the regime, its enmity to neighbouring countries such as Sudan and Yemen, and its complete denial of the role of the Arab countries and the Muslims (during the war for liberation from Ethiopia), and its alliance with the Jews are amongst the biggest indicators of this.

What are the links of the Christian regime with the Jewish government, and what are the effects of that relationship on the affairs of Eritrea?

Israel moves with a clear strategy in the Red Sea which seeks to extend its military presence in order to secure its own interest and achieve its civil and military plans. Israel is also working to break its political and diplomatic isolation and to protect its foreign trade in East Asia and Africa, and to destroy the current Islamic strategy which aims at making the Red Sea an Islamic Sea.

Whilst the Red Sea has Muslim people to its East and its West, Israel has allied with Ethiopia since the 50s so that it can take advantage of the long Eritrean coast which stretches over 1080 kilometers in order to fulfil its strategies. For this reason prolonging the war of independence of Eritrea was a strategy for Ethiopia as was its opposition to the independence of Eritrea even after the fall of the Manifesto regime. However, through the meetings between the Ethiopian and the Afourgy regime, they took some assurances not to resist the favouritism in the military and security ranks which they achieved during the Ethiopian era. From this point, the Jewish government moved from being an enemy of the Eritrean people to a strategic ally for the Afourgy regime and they offered for them all the favouritism in Eritrea.

As for the traces of these relations over the various events in Eritrea, it is clear that Israel is fulfilling its plans in Eritrea through an official umbrella which is Eritrea itself. Through Eritrea, Israel is able to infiltrate the depth of Africa to the sources of the Nile. It was also able to increase its bases in the Red Sea, the Yemen-Eritrea war was only one of these traces. The Eritrean regime has sent many Christian yoto Israel in order to specialise in various fields, especially in security and how to suppress the Islamic revival and to create oppression and terror against the Muslim citizens of Eritrea.

The future, how do you look at it, what does it offer in your opinion, particularly bearing in mind regional and international interests in the region?

Despite the intermixed nature of the regional and international interests in the region and their negative repercussion, the future, with the permission of Allah will be for the Muslims. External influence will not continue for long Insha' Allah.

As for the catalysts for this, these are:

1- The effective effort on the part of the Islamic Jihad and Da'wa tides in the African Horn.

2- The education of the Muslim population and their awareness of the extent of the conspiracy and plotting of the Christians both regionally and internationally.

3- The possibility of establishing a Somalian government capable of maintaining a political balance.

4- The alerting of some of the Arabic countries as to the danger of the Jewish presence in the region, this will help to review their position with respect to providing support to the people of the region.

5- The efforts of the Palestinian Jihad will also Insha' Allah play a role in upsetting the security of the Jewish government and to confine its external influence.

As for us, when we talk about the future of our region, we do not look at it in isolation from the Islamic environment and surroundings. We are a part of a community we feel pain for its pain, and joy for its joy.

What is required to help the Eritrean people in their Jihad against the Christian regime?

The religious obligation, and the religious loyalty imposes on every Muslim to support his brothers in every place, otherwise, corruption will spread in the earth. Allah Most High said: "And those who disbelieve, they are patrons of one another, if you do it, there will be tribulation in the earth, and great corruption." [8: 73] The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) also said: "Strive against the Mushriks (associators) with your money, your selves, and your tongues." Through this prophetic edict, the areas of possible support become clear, it is money and what falls under it, it is the tongue and what results from it, and the people themselves. In this respect, the Islamic Jihad Movement is in dire need to the range of financial, media, and political support, each according to his ability, especially with the encroachment of the policies of the new world order which is attempting to halt the Islamic revival and to strike at the Muslims everywhere, hand to hand with their policy of drying up their resources. The opportunities of different kinds of support are available whether these are educational, Da'wah, aid, or Jihad, every Muslim must offer according to his ability in this immense task.

A Final word

I say to all the persevering Mujahideen in this world: "You must remain firm in this path regardless of the sacrifices and regardless of the length of the journey because there is no way around it. This is necessary so that there is no more Fitnah and the religion will be for Allah. Every Jihad group must contemplate at length and review its plans and strategies, and to continue in the constant correction, and that we do not help our enemies against our selves and that we do not repeat the mistakes and the failed attempts.

I say to the Muslim people everywhere: supporting Jihad and the Mujahideen is the way to remove the nightmare of degradation and humiliation which has rested on the chests of our community in its various forms. It was narrated of the Prophet (s.a.w): "If you trade in interest and take the tales of cows, and leave behind Jihad in the path of Allah, He will send upon you misery which He will not remove until you return to your religion."

Finally, we thank Nida'ul Islam Magazine for giving us the opportunity to bring news of our situation and our Jihad to all the Muslims, and We ask Allah to bless its efforts.