Ali Said Abdella

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Ali Said Abdella
1st Minister of Internal Affairs of Eritrea1
In office
Succeeded by Mahmoud Ahmed Sherifo
2nd Minister of Trade and Industry of Eritrea
In office
Preceded by Ogbe Abraha
Succeeded by Haile Woldense
5th Minister of Foreign Affairs of Eritrea
In office
Preceded by Haile Woldense
Succeeded by Mohamed Omer
Personal details
Born 1949
Bardooli, Northern Red Sea Region
Died August 28, 2005(2005-08-28)
Asmara, Central Region
Political party PFDJ
1Ministry renamed Ministry of Local Government.

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 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 considered to be a hardliner in Eritrea's continuing struggles with Ethiopia over the border, and was known as a proponent of stronger relations for Eritrea with Middle Eastern nations.[citation needed] 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.[1][2]

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


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Ed Harris, "Eritrean foreign minister and ex-rebel dies", Reuters, August 28, 2005.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Eritrea: FM died of heart attack, autopsy", 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", Kommersant, April 15, 2005.