Saturday, April 9, 2016

Eritrea: naming the dead and injured conscripts in Asmara shooting | martinplaut

(London, April 7, 2016): According to various credible sources, on Sunday 3 April 2016, Eritrean soldiers escorting 10-15 convoys of conscripts from a military training camp near to Akordet, to work as labourers in Assab, shot dead at least eleven people, including a woman and child, as well as severely wounding many others when some conscripts attempted to escape. The child was walking towards a shop, while the woman was going about her business.
Has this resulted in an apology from the Eritrean government for their brutality? Far from it. Instead, the Eritrean Defense Force is conducting house-to-house searches looking for those who tried to escape. Many civilians, as well as conscripts who attempted to escape, have been imprisoned. Those who are caught will be severely tortured, as is routine for the Eritrean government. The conscripts never wanted to be in the army, certainly not when they know the service is indefinite. Many have fathers and brothers and sisters that have been in the army for decades, and not through choice. Many will be used as forced labour either in the government owned companies, various ministries, or in the Bisha and other mining projects, being treated no better than slaves, getting paid nothing and receiving very little to eat,. They wanted to escape this horrible prospect, even at the risk of their lives. They should not be forced to fill the coffers of the greedy fat cats who sit back and watch their people suffer and die while telling the world that it is a patriotic duty.

In order to receive development money from the EU and other democratic countries, the Eritrean government for almost a year had promised the European diplomatic community in Eritrea and the international communities that it would shorten conscription by observing the 18 months that conscription is supposed to last on paper. This never happened; then on 25th February 2016, the Eritrean Information Minister informed Edmund Blair of Reuters that Eritrea would not implement the 18 months limit - typical of a government that has never implemented the ratified constitution of May 1997.  
We condemn in the strongest terms this shooting of innocent people, along with the indefinite national service and servitude and the total lack of fundamental freedoms of any kind. The crimes against humanity that is being carried on with impunity in Eritrea must stop.

I have received details of the tragic events of last Sunday, when National Service conscripts were shot in cold blood in Asmara. They were attempting to escape from trucks taking them to the port of Assab.
The information is from inside Eritrea
On 03 April 2016  conscripts who jumped from vehicles were shot at in cold blood in front of many people. As a result, some died, some were wounded from the shooting and others were injured when they jumped from the vehicles.
A total of 29 conscripts were killed or injured.
Six were killed on the spot and eighteen were taken to hospital. Five of those in Halibet hospital have since died of their injuries. The remainder are under under heavy guard.
Reliable sources reveal that some of those still in hospital are in a critical condition. The numbers of fatalities may rise.
These are the names of some of the 18 wounded in hostpital:

1) Dawit Mickael

2) Abraham Fessehaye

3) Habtom Girmay

4) Mehanie Gebremedhin

5) Biniyam Zeray

6) Yonas Teame

7) Seare Welday

8) Yonatan Andemeskel

9) Basiliyos Zemhiret

10) Samuel Tekie
The other names are presently unknown.
We have all the names of the dead, however since not all the families have been informed the names of most are being withheld. However we will disclose 2 of the youth who died in hospital as their families have been told and have begun mourning.
1) Che’ay Haabtesilasie Gebremeskel the son of Mr Habtesilasie Gebremeskel who resides in Adi Guadad and works in a textile factory.

2) Yafiet Fessehaye Mengesha the son of Mr Fessehaye Mengesha who is from Mai Temenai Asmara and works in the transport industry.
These two deceased that we have listed were not part of the group who were rounded and taken to Barka for military service. When the incident took place they were just at the wrong time and wrong place and due to their heavy wounds, they died in hospital.

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