Friday, February 17, 2012

Eritrean opposition official missing in Sudan’s Kassala - Sudan Tribune: Plural news and views on Sudan

By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

February 17, 2012 (ADDIS ABABA) - An Eritrean opposition figure has gone missing in Sudan’s eastern town of Kassala, the Addis Ababa based Eritrean People’s Democratic Party (EPDP) said on Friday.

Mohammed Ali Ibrahim, a member of the EPDP Central Council, has been missing since early on Tuesday when he left his home to attend a relative’s marriage, Debesay Beyene group’s official in Ethiopia, told Sudan Tribune.

The opposition official alleged that Eritrean security agents have in the past abducted a number of EPDP officials from Kassala and its environs.

The EPDP spokesperson said his political party strongly believes that Ibrahim was abducted by Eritrean government agents.

"We have contacted all police stations and made searches at health centers and other public institutions in Kassala but he was not found", Debesay said.

"Eritrean security agents enjoy free mobility in the region and he most probably must have been kidnapped by them", he added.

Many Eritrean opposition parties are based in neighbouring Sudan and Ethiopia, where thousands of refugees have fled forced military national service and a lack of political and religious freedom.

The office of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in Kassala has been informed, the EPDP say, as well as UNHCR’s headquarters in Geneva and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

The group accused the Sudanese government of collaboration with the Eritrean officials and intelligence services in handing over opposition officials and other refugees who fled home in protest to oppression by regime in Asmara.

According to the Eritrean opposition group, Khartoum does not allow Eritrean opposition groups operate in its territory as part security agreements between the two east African neighbours.

EPDP condemned the acts by the Sudanese government and called on the international community to intervene over the situation.

The UNHCR says thousands of Eritrean asylum-seekers cross the border into Sudan each year, risking their lives to sneak over the heavily guarded shared border.

Last year, UNHCR accused Sudan of forcibly deporting hundreds of Eritrean refugees without having their claims reviewed.

Such deportations are a serious violation to both international and Sudanese law, UNHCR say, as upon return Eritrean refugees face a serious risk prosecution and torture.

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