Ethiopian politics after Haile Selassie were notoriously complicated. I’m assuming that Philip Marsden wrote the following with a smile on his face.
There was the largely Muslim ELF and the newer, Christian EPLF. The ELF and the EPLF frequently fought each other. When the Derg came to power, replacing the AFCC with the PMAC, the ELF encouraged Tigrayan dissent through the TLF, but the TLF had to contend too with the TPLF which had grown out of the TNO which set them against the TLF because of the TLF’s sympathies with the reactionary EDU. The TPLF were Marxists, even though like the EDU they drew much of their leadership from offspring of the nobility. But after the TPLF had executed the TLF leader, the TPLF incorporated the TLF and its members. But because of the ELF’s alliance with the now defunct TLF, the TPLF used the ELF’s rivals the EPLF to marginalise the ELF. Meanwhile the EPRP had taken a battering from the Derg during the Red Terror, itself a campaign against the counter-revolutionary forces not only of the EPRP, but also teh EDU, MEISON, the OLF and the Ogadenis. The EPRP had fallen out with the TPLF and the EDU and themselves fractured into three groups, one of which, with TPLF support, became the EPDM. The rump EPRP continued to fight the TPLF. The TPLF continued to fight the ELF and the EDU. And all of them, whenever they could spare the time, fought against the Derg.
I’m surprised that all of the various organisations could remember who they were fighting, apart from the Derg.
Marsden’s book is not particularly about political history, and the above excerpt is not typical. Most of the text is taken up with the personal stories of people he meets whilst on a long walk to Aksum. Many of them had experienced hardships at the hands of the Derg.