The death has been announced of Romodan Mohamed Nur.
The official obituary simply says that “Mr. Romodan Mohammed Nur has passed away at the age of 83 due to illness.” Unofficial sources suggest he died in Sudan, but this has not been confirmed.
Below is information from the Historical Dictionary of Eritrea by Dan Connell and Tom Killion, but first some personal reflections from Feruz Kaissey – the daughter of a fighter, who knew him in the field.
“My earliest memory of Romodan dates way back to the mountain of Sahel, and specifically an area called Hishkib.
He was a very loved, respected and admired man by many. We, the children, saw him as a father figure and someone who would spoil us if we went to see him. He was extremely cool and collected as a person.
I know he was the chairman of EPLF from 1977 till 1987 and I can see why he was chosen to lead the revolution.
However I also remember he famously resigned in 1994. I personally feel that he was pushed to make that decision.
Romodan would have been capable of many things, had he been given the chance. However although he was the original father of EPLF, he stepped away from politics in 1994 and has lived a somewhat civilian life since then. He had two homes: one in Massawa and the other in Asmara. He refrained from smoking and drinking and lived a quiet life, although participating in Party celebrations.”
From the Historical Dictionary of Eritrea
An early member of the Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF), a founding member of the Eritrean People’s Revolutionary Party (EPRP), and first secretary-general of the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF), Romedan was born in Hirghigo in 1941 to a Tigre speaking merchant family.
He attended Kekiya School, and in 1957 went to Cairo for secondary school. In 1960 he and Mohamed Ali Omero were the first generation to join the ELF, and in 1963 Romedan went with the first group to receive military training in Syria. He rose to become political commissar of Zone 4 in 1965, and was one of the original group of five sent for training in China in 1967, together with Isaias Afwerki.
He was involved in the Eslah (reform) movement and Tripartite Unity Forces, and maintained ties with his former teacher, Osman Saleh Sabbe.
In 1970, Romedan was among the founders of the People’s Liberation Forces (PLF) at Sudoha Ila, and in 1971 he was elected to lead the PLF, after which he developed close links to the Ala group lead by his colleague, Isaias.
Together with Isaias and others, Romedan created the nucleus of what was to become the EPLF within the Eritrean Liberation Forces – People’s Liberation Forces (ELF-PLF).
At the EPLF’s First Congress in 1977, he was elected secretary general – a position he held until 1987, when he became vice secretary-general, with Isaias’s assumption of public leadership. Romedan’s self-effacing humility and commitment to social revolution made him a model fo the EPLF’s “fighter culture”.
After liberation, he served in a number of crucial positions, including a brief spell as governor of Denekel in 1993, but at the EPLF’s Third Congress, under pressure from Isaias, he announced his retirement from political life in a stirring address drafted by Haile Woldentensa’e.
Since then, he has assumed specific tasks for the ruling party at Isaias’s request, but he has not held an official position within the ruling party or any public office.