Sunday, January 31, 2016

Eritrean rebels raid military base, kill intelligence agents -

By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

January 28, 2016 (MANDA/ ETHIOPIA) – An Eritrean rebel group known as the Red Sea Afar Democratic Organization (RSADO) claimed on Thursday that killed six government intelligence agents in an early morning strike on forces loyal to president Isaias Afeworki.

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Fighters of the Red Sea Afar Democratic Organization at the frontline January 26, 2016 (ST Photo)
The rebel group’s leader, Ibrahim Haron told Sudan Tribune the attack was carried out against a military garrison within the northern Red Sea region.

Ibrahim, the commander in chief of the RSADO forces, said the military camp belonged to the 15th sub-division’s third battalion intelligence unit.

He said many other intelligence personnel were allegedly also wounded during the strike and various types of military hardware were captured.

“Our gallant forces have completely destroyed the military camp”, said Ibrahim.

After the “surprise” attack, the rebel leader claimed the remaining dozens of Eritrean soldiers “went in disarray leaving behind their weapons”.

The latest assault was reportedly in retaliation to the 15th sub-division intelligence unit’s different forms of oppression against ethnic Afar minorities residing around Alhan area.

There is no an immediate comment by the Eritrean government over the alleged attacks but Asmara has, in the past, repeatedly denied such attack claims mainly carried out by the Ibrahim-led rebel movement.

The Ethiopia-based Afar rebel group says the ethnic Afar Eritreans are being persecuted by Eritrea and it would continue military attacks until the rights and self-determination of the Afar people are guaranteed.

RSADO CONFERENCE

Meanwhile, the RSADO on Wednesday concluded a conference it held in Ethiopia Afar region’s Manda town in connection with its 17th anniversary.

The conference condemned Eritrea’s role in the ongoing Saudi-led offensive against Yemen’s Shiite militant Houthi group.

The East African nation recently announced that it was joining the Saudi-led Arab coalition to boost the ongoing Saudi Arabia’s military campaign.

Asmara said it will be sending hundreds of its troops to join the Arab alliance and it will also allow its airspace, its port, and territorial waters for the coalition forces to easily carryout offensives against the rebel positions.

In exchange for its contribution, Eritrea will be benefited with robust financial and other types of economic aid package from Riyadh.

RSADO officials said the arrangement made with Saudi violates the Security Council resolutions, which were imposed against the country.

They claim the Eritrean dictatorial regime will use the financial compensation to repress and terrorize its people to sustain grip on power.

Participants further said those hefty compensation packages could be diverted and used to destabilize the volatile horn region citing to negative roles Eritrea was playing in the region particularly in Somalia.

In 2009, the UN Security Council slapped sanctions on Eritrea for financing and aiding al-Qaida allied Islamist militants in Somalia.

The conference has also condemned remarks made by president Afeworki last week when he dismissed food crises concerns despite Elino induced drought forcing millions to depend on food aid across East Africa.

The long-time Eritrean leader said his country doesn’t have any food problems and the country won’t face any food crisis despite the fact of reduced agricultural output.

He said this was because of the Government of Eritrea’s “judicious policy and its approach to bolstering its strategic food reserves”

However the UN has warned that Eritrea was among the regional states which are at risk of food crises.

RSADO said the president’s remarks were completely contrary to what’s happening on ground.

The rebel official said people particularly in the Afar region are dying of causes related to chronic hunger and hunger-related diseases.

They added thousands of people most children and mothers in the Afar region are affected by malnutrition and are at imminent risk of death.

Ibrahim appealed on the international community to intervene on the situation and put pressure on the Eritrean government to allow foreign aid before the crises worsens.

Eritrea has increasingly restricted operations of NGOs and foreign aid agencies forcing most to leave the secretive nation which is painted as a pariah state by African and Western powers.

RSADO has long been accusing the Eritrean government of ethnic cleansing against Afar minorities.

Asmara suspects Eritrean Afars of being aligned to Ethiopia and having links to fellow Afar tribes in Ethiopia.

Ibrahim said President Afeworki’s denial over the food crises is a system the government is deliberately using to block aid to the region and punish the Afars by starving them to death.

RSADO - which is seen as militarily stronger than other Eritrean opposition groups - vow to step up its armed struggle to oust the regime.

(ST)

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

17 Children Killed by Authorities in Ethiopia Land Protests · Global Voices

17 Children Killed by Authorities in Ethiopia Land Protests · Global Voices: "17 Children Killed by Authorities in Ethiopia Land Protests
Posted 25 January 2016 21:39 GMT

Burial of Nasrudin Mohammed, a protester killed in December 2015. Photograph by Gadaa.com.
Ethiopian authorities have killed at least 17 children and injured many more involved in peaceful land rights protests since December 2015.

Demonstrations over a plan to expand the capital into the ethnic region of Oromia began in Ethiopia in late November. Since then, there have been 140 confirmed deaths of protesters at the hands of government authorities. Of the 17 minors killed by authorities, most were between the ages of 12 and 17 years old. Citizen media reports also show that many more school children have been injured in the protest movement.

The protesters are speaking out against the so-called “Master Plan” to expand the capital city, Addis Ababa, into Oromia, fearing that the proposed development will result in direct persecution of the Oromo ethnic group, including mass evictions of Oromo farmers from their land. Oromo people, who represent the largest ethnic group in Ethiopia, have experienced systematic marginalization and persecution over the last quarter century. Some estimates put the number of Oromo political prisoners in Ethiopia at 20,000 as of March 2014. The country's ruling elite, of the EPRDF party, are mostly from the Tigray (only 6% of Ethiopia’s 90 million population ) region, which is located in the northern part of the country.

In parallel with efforts of global organizations such as Human Rights Watch, local activists have worked to document and preserve evidence of these killings since early December. Last week, Ethiopian media scholar Endalk Chala and Oromo activist Abiy Atomssa published a map of confirmed deaths based on a crowdsourced data set comprised of reports from citizens, activists, social media, local media networks and VOA’s Amharic service.

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Eighth grader Barihun Shibiru of West Shawa was among a handful of minors who were arrested and executed once in official custody. Shibiru’s funeral was held on December 17.
Citizen videos have also helped document and confirm deaths of minors, including a video that shows students crowding around the body of Lucha Gamachu, a 9th grader at Burqa Wanjo Secondary School. The video was published on Facebook by Jawar Mohammed.
We ask that any person who has evidence of the death or disappearance of protesters please contact us at editor@globalvoicesonline.org.

Marry two wives or be jailed, Eritrea govt tells men - Vanguard News






Men in Eritrea have been asked by the President Isaias Afwerki-led government to marry more than one wife or risk being jailed for life.
This is contained in a statement in Arabic by the Grand Mufti (the highest official of religious law in the country) which scanned copy surfaced on social media sites on Thursday last week.


Eritrean President, Isaias Afwerki
Eritrean President, Isaias Afwerki


In the statement, Eritrea called for all men in the country to marry at least two wives and the government assured the men that it would pay for the marriage ceremonies and houses.
According to the government, the order is because there is an acute shortage of men occasioned by causalities during the civil war with Ethiopia.
Afkinsider.com said the document, which could not be independently verified, warned that any man or woman who opposes the decision “will face a life sentence”.
The document in Arabic, which is in Arabic, says, “Based on the law of God in polygamy, and given the circumstances which the country is experiencing in terms of men shortage, the Eritrean department of Religious Affairs has decided on the following:
“First that every man shall marry at least two women and the man who refuses to do so shall be subjected to life imprisonment with hard labour.
“The woman who tries to prevent her husband from marrying another wife shall be punished to life imprisonment.”
More than 150,000 Eritrean soldiers were killed during the secession war from Ethiopia between 1998 and 2000. At the time Eritrea had about four million people.
Eritrea, is a country in theHorn of Africa. With its capital at Asmara, it is bordered by Sudan in the west, Ethiopia in the south, and Djibouti in the southeast. The northeastern and eastern parts of Eritrea have an extensive coastline along the Red Sea, across from Saudi Arabia and Yemen.
The nation has a total area of approximately 117,600 km, and includes the Dahlak Archipelago and several of the Hanish Islands. Its name Eritrea is based on the Greek name for the Red Sea, which was first adopted for Italian Eritrea in 1890.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Eritrea president dismisses food crisis fears despite drought | News24 Nigeria

Nairobi  - Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki on Saturday dismissed fears the Horn of African nation faces a food crisis, despite sweeping drought across the wider region leaving millions in need of aid.
Floods and failed rains caused by the El Nino weather phenomenon have sparked a dramatic rise in the number of people going hungry in east Africa.
But authoritarian and isolated Eritrea has long rejected UN food aid in favour of a policy of self reliance, and Isaias said he was not worried.
"In view of the harvest shortfall that has affected the whole Horn of Africa region, President Isaias stated that the country will not face any crisis in spite of reduced agricultural output," the information ministry said, after he was interviewed by state-run media.
Isaias praised the government's "judicious policy and approaches of bolstering its strategic food reserves."
In November, the UN warned that Eritrea was among the countries at risk, like all the other nations in the wider region.
"The current El Nino pattern, being the strongest ever recorded, has caused severe drought in the Horn of Africa nation, resulting in crop reduction by 50 to 90 percent; even failure in some regions," the United Nations said earlier this month.
In Ethiopia, over 10 million people need food aid, it added.
In Eritrea, few if any major foreign aid agencies are allowed operate, while the UN has limited access across the country, and most assessments are dependent on government reports.
Thousands of Eritreans flee the county each month, saying they are escaping conscription and rampant rights abuses.
Refugees from the repressive Red Sea state make up the third-largest number of people risking the dangerous journey to Europe after Syrians and Afghans, running a gauntlet of ruthless people smugglers to make the treacherous Mediterranean crossing.
- AFP


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