Ali Said Abdella

Ali Said Abdella (September 1949 – August 28, 2005) was an Eritrean rebel commander, politician and diplomat, who at the time of his death was serving as Minister of Foreign Affairs of Eritrea.

Ali Said Abdella
1st Minister of Internal Affairs of Eritrea1
In office
Succeeded byMahmoud Ahmed Sherifo
2nd Minister of Trade and Industry of Eritrea
In office
Preceded byOgbe Abraha
Succeeded byHaile Woldense
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Eritrea
In office
Preceded byHaile Woldense
Succeeded byMohamed Omer
Personal details
Bardooli, Northern Red Sea Region
Died(2005-08-28)August 28, 2005
Asmara, Central Region
Political partyPFDJ
1Ministry renamed Ministry of Local Government.

Ali Said was the son of a local sheik. He was of Afar ethnic origin. As a young man, he joined the Eritrean Liberation Front, a rebel group which was fighting for Eritrean independence from Ethiopia. He received medical and military training in Syria in 1965, after which he was known to lead a commando operation for hijacking and consequently burning the Ethiopian aeroplane in Karachi, Pakistan in 1969. Soon he returned to Eritrea where he was an active fighter. By the 1970s he had switched to Eritrea's other rebel group, the Eritrean People's Liberation Front[1] and, in 1977, he became a member of the politburo of that organization. He was the commander of Nacfa front when the city was liberated in 1977.[2]

When Eritrea gained independence in the early 1990s, first from 1990-93 before Eritrean referendum was conducted, Ali Said served as a chief of military operations. Later in the new government, he became the first Minister of Internal Affairs.[1] He was then appointed as Minister of Trade and Industry in February 1997.[3] In October 2000, Ali Said was moved from his position as Minister of Trade and Industry to that of Minister of Foreign Affairs, switching jobs with Haile Woldense.[4] He was a fluent Arabic speaker, and most of his overseas trips were to Middle Eastern countries.[1] He also made an official visit to Russia in April 2005.[5]

Ali Said died suddenly of a heart attack in his sleep at his home in Eritrea's capital, Asmara, on August 28, 2005. The Eritrean government declared three days of public mourning for him. There have been numerous speculation that top government officials including the President killed Ali due to secret talks he had about creating an uprising in Asmara and for it to spread across the country. These speculations have yet be confirmed and no sources were provided to back up the claim.[1][2]

Ali Said was married and had four children.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e Ed Harris, "Eritrean foreign minister and ex-rebel dies", Reuters, August 28, 2005.
  2. ^ a b "Eritrea: FM died of heart attack, autopsy" Archived 2007-10-08 at the Wayback Machine, Eritrea Daily, August 28, 2005.
  3. ^ "President quietly shuffles cabinet", Indian Ocean Newsletter, 29 March 1997 (Horn of Africa Monthly Review, 21 February–28 April 1997).
  4. ^ "Eritrea to hold elections", BBC News, October 3, 2000.
  5. ^ "Prepackaged War" Archived 2006-04-28 at the Wayback Machine, Kommersant, April 15, 2005.