Afar Liberation Front (ALF); role played within the Ethiopian government; number of current members of parliament; treatment of members and members' family by authorities [ETH39452.E]

The Indian Ocean Newsletter (ION) provides the following account of divisions within the Afar Liberation Front (ALF) in the mid-1990s:

Three Afar movements of different importance have co-existed on the Eritrean-Ethiopian border since the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) came to power in Addis Ababa in 1991. The most important, Afar Liberation Front headed by the ageing sultan Ali Mirah, collaborated with Ethiopia's central regime while still keeping some independence. But today ALF is split by dissension between the sultan and his son Anfareh ... and again between Anfareh and his brothers. EPRDF had favoured the emergence of a second movement, Afar People's Democratic Organization, originally called Afar Democratic Union and set up in Tigre during the 1990s (3 June 1995).

Following these divisions, however, it was reported that in the latter half of 1999 the ALF and the Afar People's Democratic Organization (APDO) merged with three other Afar political parties ( the Afar National Liberation Front (ANLF), the Afar Revolutionary and Democratic Unity Front (ARDUF) and the Afar National Democratic Movement (ANDM) ( to create a new party called the Afari National Democratic Party (ANDP) (EGIS 16 Aug. 1999; ibid. 4 Nov. 1999).

However, there are indications that the ALF still exists as an autonomous party since Radio Ethiopia reported on 25 September 2000 that the leader of the ALF, Sultan Ali Mireh Hanfareh, returned from exile to meet with Prime Minister Meles Zenawi to discuss political, economic and social issues affecting the Afar region. In addition, the ALF and the APDO are included in a list of recognized political parties on the Embassy of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia in the United Kingdom Website (n.d.).

Regarding the number of seats the AFL holds in parliament, in The Europa World Year Book 2001, neither the ALF nor the APDO are listed as holding seats although the ANDP is shown to have won eight seats in the 14 May 2000 elections (2001, 1516). It may be of interest, however, that according to the Parliament of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia Website, the ALF and the APDO held three seats each for the state of Afar in the House of the Peoples' Representatives during the period 1999-2000 (n.d.).

Information on the treatment of ALF members and their families by authorities and reference to the person named in the information request could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Ethiopia. Embassy of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia in the United Kingdom. n.d. "Political Parties." [Accessed 26 Sept. 2002]

Ethiopia. Ethiopian Government Information Service (EGIS). 4 November 1999. "President Lauds Merger of Parties." [Accessed 16 Oct. 2002]

_____. 16 August 1999. "Afaris Urged Continue Support." [Accessed 16 Oct. 2002]

Ethiopia. Parliament of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. 2000. "Composition of the House of Peoples' Representatives: Archive 1999-2000." [Accessed 17 Oct. 2002]

The Europa World Year Book 2001. 2001. 42nd ed. Vol. 1. London: Europa Publications Limited.

Indian Ocean Newsletter (ION). 3 June 1995. "New Deal for Afars." [Accessed 16 Oct. 2002]

Radio Ethiopia [Addis Ababa]. 25 September 2000. "Ethiopia: Prime Minister Meles Meets Opposition Afar Liberation Front Leader." (BBC Worldwide Monitoring/NEXIS)

Additional Sources Consulted

African Research Bulletin

IRB Databases

The Europa World Year Book 1993, 1994, 1995, 1998, 1999, 2000

Keesing's Record of World Events


Political Handbook of the World: 1995, 1996, 1999, 2000

Unsuccessful attempts to reach oral sources.

Internet sites, including:

Addis Tribune

Africa Confidential

Africa Online

BBC News Africa

East African Standard

Integrated Regional Information Network (IRIN)

U.S. Department of State

U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service

World News Connection (WNC)

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