ETHIOPIA: The Shum-Shir Game

Until a few months ago, guerrilla activity in the northern Ethiopian province of Eritrea amounted to little more than an occasional attempt to hijack an airliner. The Ethiopian government scornfully referred to the predominantly Moslem members of the Eritrean Liberation Front as shifta (bandits), and Emperor Haile Selassie dismissed their activity as "insignificant."

Suddenly the guerrilla war has come to life. Last November the rebels devastated two villages in western Eritrea. At Debre Sila they killed 52 villagers and burned 200 houses. At Ademdem they ordered residents into their homes, set fire to the village and shot everyone who...

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