Afar Revolutionary Democratic Unity Front

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Afar Revolutionary Democratic Unity Front

የአፋር አብዮታዊ ዴሞክራሲያዊ አንድነት ግንባር
Founded1993 (1993)
IdeologyAfar interests
Seats in the House of Federation
0 / 112
Seats in the House of Peoples' Representatives
0 / 547
Party flag
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The Afar Revolutionary Democratic Unity Front (Amharic: የአፋር አብዮታዊ ዴሞክራሲያዊ አንድነት ግንባር; abbreviated ARDUF) is an Afar political party in Ethiopia that was founded in 1993 and is currently part of the United Ethiopian Democratic Forces (UEDF) coalition opposition party.

Its name in the Afar language is Qafar Uguugumoh Demokrasiyyoh Inkiinoh Fooca, often simplified to just Uguugumo (also spelled Uguguma or Ugogomo),[1] meaning "Revolution", a term sometimes reserved for its militant wing and often confused as being a separate organization that is simply closely tied to ARDUF.[1][2][3]


The party was founded in March 1993 as a coalition of three Afar organizations: the Afar Revolutionary Democratic Unity Union (ARDUU), founded in 1991 and led by Mohamooda Gaas (or Gaaz); the Afar Ummatah Demokrasiyyoh Focca (AUDF); and the Afar Revolutionary Forces (ARF). Mohamooda Gaas was elected as its Secretary General in 1995, but refused the post, leaving it to his deputy Muhyadin Mafatah, who was later extradited from Djibouti to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in August 1996, where he was jailed with two other Afar leaders, Habib Mahammad Yayyo and Jamal Abdulkadir Redo.[4]


In March 1995, ARDUF was involved in the kidnapping of Italian tourists in the Afar Region of Ethiopia, resulting in an Ethiopian military campaign against the group, coordinated with the Eritrean government. Travelers reported clashes between ARDUF and Ethiopian government forces in the Dallol district through 1995, including attacks on the homes and property of Afar People's Democratic Organization (APDO) members as "traitors", which led an end of all traffic on caravan trade routes through the Dallol area and resulting food shortages.[5] Political attempts at reconciliation were made in October 1997 with the creation of an Afar conference, and again in November, though both of these failed. Mohamooda Gaas made a statement declaring unilateral cease-fire with government forces on 5 June 1998 after the beginning of the 1998-2000 Eritrean-Ethiopian War and an Eritrean attack on the town of Alitena, inhabited primarily by Irob people (an ethnicity closely related linguistically to Afars). As a result of the fighting's civilian casualties, ARDUF reconciled with the Ethiopian government to minimize civilian casualties in the region and condemned the Eritrean government's attacks.[6]

ARDUF claimed responsibility for a January 16, 2012,attack on a group of tourists at Erta Ale in which five were killed, some taken as hostages and others wounded.[7][8] In March 2012 ARDUF released two tourists kidnapped in the attack.[9]

After joining UEDF[edit]

In July 2003 ARDUF became a member of the newly formed UEDF coalition, in opposition to the ruling EPRDF party.[10][11] Soon after, on 20 September 2003, it issued a warning against foreigners entering the northern area of Afar Region for the purpose of demarcating the eastern part of the Ethiopian-Eritrean border, as it would be against the party's policy of Afar unity, who live on both sides of the eastern border:

Our twin enemies, Sha'biyyah (Isayas Afewerki's) and weyane (Meles Zenawi's), have been, under the auspices of the United Nations, carrying out illegal acts of brigandage against our people. Let the whole world know that ARDUF is reiterating its firm stand as it did in 1990, 1991, 1993 and 2000 that it is not only opposed to the illegal act of dividing our Afar people and demarcating our soil under the guise of "border demarcation" between Ethiopia and Eritrea, but also ready to render any demarcation exercise ineffective.[11]


The political party aims to unite all Afar people under one flag. Although in the past the mechanism was not clear, whether this entailed the reunion of Eritrea and Ethiopia (as well as Afar lands in Djibouti) or a separate Afar state, the party claimed in 1998 to seek to unite Afars under an autonomous region of Ethiopia, similar to the present-day Afar Region in Ethiopia in existence since 1996 (but with the addition of lands in Eritrea and Djibouti).[1][12] Consequently, ARDUF does not recognize Eritrea as a sovereign state.[12]


  1. ^ a b c Report on Mission to Zone 2 (Afar National Regional State), United Nations Development Program. Emergencies Unit for Ethiopia.
  2. ^ Armed Factions And The Ethiopia-Eritrea Conflict, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 14 May 1999, in University of Pennsylvania - African Studies Center
  3. ^ Anatomy of a conflict: Afar & Ise Ethiopia[permanent dead link], John Markakis in Review of African Political Economy, Volume 30, Number 97. Routledge, part of the Taylor & Francis Group, September 2003.
  4. ^ Ethiopia - Political Parties, Accessed: 1-07-2006.
  5. ^ Situation report on Region 2 (Afar National Regional State) UNDP Emergencies Unit for Ethiopia report, dated January 1996 (accessed 13 January 2009) So little was known of the ARDUF at the time that this report assumed that the ARDUF and the Uguugumo were different organizations.
  6. ^ Statement of Afar Revolutionary Democratic Unity Front (ARDUF), 5 June 1998. Archived 2009-10-24.
  7. ^ "Deadly attack on tourists at Erta Ale - further details: 5 dead, 4 abducted and 7 wounded". VolcanoDiscovery. 18 January 2012. Retrieved 26 October 2013.
  8. ^ "Erta Ale January (sic) 17 kidnapping - ARDUF claims responsibility (sic), hostages said to be well". VolcanoDiscovery. 20 February 2012. Retrieved 26 October 2013.
  9. ^ "Kidnapped German tourists released (Erta Ale, Danakil, Ethiopia incident 17 Jan 2012)". VolcanoDiscovery. 6 March 2012. Retrieved 26 October 2013.
  10. ^ UEDF and Andinnet, Andinnet Yilemlim, 27 August 2004.
  11. ^ a b Nations In The Hood Archived September 28, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, 21 September 2003.
  12. ^ a b Organised Crime and Terrorism Report. Commitments in Respect of Organised Crime and Terrorists Archived 2007-05-10 at the Wayback Machine, African Human Security Initiative.