Eritrea has partially closed two border crossings with Ethiopia that opened this year after the former East African rivals made peace and restored relations, an Ethiopian official said Friday.

Thousands of people have crossed the border that had been closed for two decades, with traders pursuing brisk business and families reuniting after years apart. The crossings opened with fanfare in September as both countries said they would remove their troops.

It was not clear why Eritrea closed the crossings to Ethiopians, spokeswoman Liya Kassa with Ethiopia's northern Tigray region told The Associated Press. She said Eritreans were still crossing freely.


The Zalambessa and Rama crossings were closed as of Wednesday morning and preliminary information "indicates it was closed from the Eritrean side," she said.

Eritrean border officials are now asking Ethiopian travelers to provide a travel document issued by federal authorities, she said. "We have communicated the issue with the federal government and we were told they don't have any information about it," she added. "Only Ethiopians are facing the restrictions."

Eritrean officials were not immediately available for comment.

Ethiopia's foreign ministry spokesman on Thursday told reporters he had no information about the new border restrictions. Photos posted on social media show stranded buses and trucks at the two crossings.

Abraham Gedamu, an Ethiopian traveler who went to Zalambessa to cross into Eritrea for a religious event, said he was denied entry on Thursday morning.

"They said I have to wait because they are drawing up a new travel directive. Several hundred others are facing the same issue," he told the AP by phone.

Ethiopia and Eritrea restored relations in June after Ethiopia's new prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, assumed power in April and fully accepted a peace deal ending a bloody border war from 1998 to 2000. Dramatic changes followed, with Abiy and longtime Eritrea President Isaias Afwerki visiting each other's capitals and embracing while phone lines opened and air links resumed.

The international community welcomed the new peace that has led to further diplomatic breakthroughs in the often turbulent Horn of Africa region. In November, the U.N. Security Council voted unanimously to lift sanctions against Eritrea after nearly a decade.

"Eritrea recognizes that a more difficult and complex task is waiting ahead," Eritrea's Charge d'Affaires Amanuel Giorgio said after the council's vote. "It is determined to redouble its own efforts and work closely with its neighbors to build a region at peace with itself."


Eritrea denies planning to send troops to Somalia

Thursday, 27 December 2018 20:27 Written by

December 27, 2018 News

The Eritrean government has finally given a definitive answer to the question of whether it will send its forces into Somalia.

This follows the publication of a story in Africa Confidential.

The Ministry of Information put out this statement:

Indian Ocean Newsletter: Yet another Wild Allegation

In its publication of 21 December, (No 1488), this month, the Indian Ocean Newsletter alleges that “the Ethiopian and Eritrean Presidents (sic?)  have indicated to their Somalian counterpart… their willingness to take over from AMISOM when it departs in 2021…..Eritrea is planning to dispatch 5,000 soldiers to Somalia as soon as the first AMISOM contingents leave in February”.

This is patently false.

Moreover, this is not the first time for the ION to churn out false and unsubstantiated “news analysis” of events and trends in our region.  Indeed, this has become almost its trademark.

The ION’s penchant to disseminate false information will not serve any purpose and can only corrode its reputation.  In the event, we call on the ION to respect its readers and desist from spreading false news.

Ministry of Information
26 December 2018″

A denial a month late

What is odd about the Ministry of Information statement (echoed by Tesfanews) is that it is so slow.

The story on this website [reproduced below] was published a month earlier. It would have been easy for the Ministry to correct any misperception then: it chose to wait until Africa Confidential ran with the story. Fair enough – that is the Ministry’s choice, but it can’t complain when a) it is so late with any news and b) refuses to have any reputable foreign news correspondent based in the country. All foreign news organisations – including the BBC, Reuters, AFP, AP, Al-Jazeera etc. – are only allowed into Eritrea on an occational basis.

For the record, the article published on this website made it clear in its first sentence that there was no firm evidence of Eritrean troops being deployed to Somalia – only signs that Somalia might issue such an invitation. [reproduced in full below]

There is no firm evidence, but the signs are that Somalia may be about to invite Ethiopia and Eritrea to send troops into its territory to replace the African Union’s AMISOM forces that are due to depart.

If this is confirmed, then the discussions between Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea in the Ethiopian town of Bahr Dar on 9th of November might be among the most important held in the region in recent years. They could see a re-shaping of the political relations in the Horn of Africa.

The three leaders, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, and President Isaias Afwerki were not in the city to enjoy the tourist sites on Lake Tana and the Blue Nile. At the end of their talks they signed an agreement.

These were the key sentences.

“They noted with satisfaction the tangible and positive outcomes already registered, and agreed to consolidate their mutual solidarity and support in addressing challenges that they face individually and collectively. In this regard, they stressed the importance of respecting the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of Somalia as well as their firm support for the Somalia people and Federal Government of Somalia and all its institution.”

This was hardly transparent, but they may presage an invitation from the Somali government for Eritrean and Ethiopian soldiers to be based on its territory.

A brief recap

The African Union Mission in Somalia – AMISOM – is going ahead with plans to withdraw its troops in February next year. By December 2020, all AMISOM combat troops are scheduled to leave all of Somalia’s cities, towns, and villages that they’ve liberated from the al-Shabaab terrorist organization.

Amisom Somalia

Troops from Uganda, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya and Burundi, are currently deployed across the country, funded by EU and UN.

They fight alongside the Somali National Army, and continue to take casualties. They protect the Somali government and keep roads connecting the Somali capital to the regions. Their forces have liberated towns from al-Shabaab including Mogadishu, Kisimayo, Beletweyne and Baidoa.

Backed by US air and drone strikes, they have held al-Shabaab at bay. But the Islamists are by no means defeated.

Progress has been slow and difficult. “Somalia is like cleaning a pig,” one Ugandan AMISOM colonel told a reporter Foreign Policy. “You clean it, and it gets dirty.”

Everyone has attempted to train the Somali army. Turkey has a military academy, so too does Qatar. Egypt, Britain and the USA provide training. But what have they achieved? Arms and ammunition supplied to the Somali national army disappear – only to re-appear on the hands of al-Shabaab. The army’s communications systems are tapped by the Islamists.

Without AMISOM can President Farmajo survive?

This is an issue for the whole of the region and beyond. Keeping Islamists at bay has been a critical element in the American war on terrorism.

The US effort has been bolstered by the deployment of one of its most respected and knowledgeable diplomat  to the region.

Donald Yamamoto is the new ambassador to Somalia, and he is a heavyweight. Yamamoto played a key role in the reconcilliation between Ethiopia and Eritrea.

He was joined in Mogadishu by the head of US Africa Command in Mogadishu, General Thomas Waldhauser.

USA Somalia

So, will Ethiopia and Eritrea ride to the rescue?

As indicated at the start of this article there is no hard evidence. But with AMISOM winding down its operation, there are suggestions that Ethiopia’s Abiy Ahmed that his forces establish a military base inside Somali during the talks at Bahir Dar. President Farmajo is said to have agreed to the idea, with the town of Merca as a possible site.

The idea of Ethiopian forces being in Somalia has been around for nearly two decades. It was in November 2000 that the then Somali President, Abdiqassim Salad Hassan visited his opposite number, Meles Zenawi. It was the first visit to Ethiopia by a Somali head of state since 1974.

Since then Ethiopian troops have been in and out of Somalia, attempting to resist Islamist insurgents and – more recently – to bolster the Somali government.

For its part, Eritrea has played a double role in Somalia. There is evidence that it provided training and arms for al-Shabaab until this was uncovered by UN Monitors in 2011.

As their report stated: “While the Eritrean Government acknowledges that it maintains relationships with Somali armed opposition groups, including Al-Shabaab, it denies that it provides any military, material or financial support and says its links are limited to a political, and even humanitarian, nature.” The UN exposure did the trick and the Eritrean backing for al-Shabaab ended.

Now, it appears, President Isaias is considering sending his forces into Somalia to support President Farmajo.

Eritrea Somalia 1

Their forces could be joined by the Ugandans, who are already supplying most of the AMISOM troops. A visit to Kampala in November appears to have cemented these ties.

If all these developments come together it is possible to imagine the following:

  • Eritrean and Ethiopian forces replacing AMISOM, with a continuing Ugandan presence.
  • Ongoing backing for the Somali government by the various outside powers, including the USA, UK and Turkey.
  • The retention of Kenyan forces in Jubaland, which they have controlled since 2011.

Will this be enough to keep President Farmajo in power? Perhaps. It is hard to be more definitive when so much is still up in the air.

27 000 Eritreans 'seeking refugee status' in Ethiopia

Thursday, 27 December 2018 15:20 Written by


19:13 21/12/2018

More than 27 500 Eritreans have filed for refugee status in Ethiopia since the two countries reopened their joint border in September, according to EU documents seen by AFP on Friday.

More than 24 000 people from northern Eritrea have applied for refugee status at Endabaguna, in the Ethiopian border region of Tigray, and another 3 500 have done so in Afar region farther east, according to a map by the European Commission Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO).

Eritrea, ruled by President Isaias Afwerki since 1993, has been fiercely criticised by rights watchdogs, especially over reports of arbitrary arrest and detention, bans on certain religious faiths and open-ended military conscription.

Hundreds of thousands have fled the country in recent years, many of them taking the perilous cross-Mediterranean route to Europe.

As of August 31, there were 174,000 Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia, according to the ECHO document.

The border opened on September 12, marking a new phase in rapprochement since reformist Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took office in April.

In July, the two countries signed a peace agreement that put a formal end to two decades of war.

But the remarkable warming in diplomatic ties has yet to be matched by domestic change in Eritrea - a situation that helps explain the exodus to Ethiopia, say analysts.

In October, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said the number of Eritreans seeking refugee in Ethiopia had surged from an average of 53 per day to 390.



Sudanese demonstrators run from teargas lobbed by police during an anti-government march in Khartoum on December 25

Sudanese demonstrators run from teargas lobbed by police during an anti-government march in Khartoum on December 25

One of Sudan's ruling parties has demanded an inquest into the killing of anti-government protesters amid mounting pressure on long-serving dictator Omar Bashir to resign.

Idris Suleman, a senior member of the Islamist Popular Congress Party, said on Wednesday that his party's reports indicated that 17 people have been "martyred" and 88 wounded in the protests that have swept the country over the past week. 


"We call on the government to launch an investigation into the killings," Mr Suleman said at a press conference in Khartoum. "Those who committed these killings must be held accountable."

Protests against rising prices and shortages of food and fuel first broke out in the city of Atabara on December 19, and rapidly spread to other cities and escalated into demands that Bashir step down.

Several protests have ended in violent crackdowns by security services. 

The Popular Congress Party is a member of Mr Bashir's government and its previous leader played a key role in putting Mr Bashir in power in a military coup in 1989. 

Omar Bashir, right, with Syria's Bashar Assad in Damascus on December 16.  Omar Bashir, right, with Syria's Bashar Assad in Damascus on December 16.  Credit: SANA via AP

Mr Suleman's intervention came a day after a senior Sudanese military commander appeared to endorse the protests. 

Mohammed Hamdan Dagolo, who commands a para-military unit called the Rapid Support Forces, was filmed on Tuesday telling several thousand troops that they should show "solidarity" with the Sudanese people and that the government is to blame for the inflation that sparked nation-wide protests last week. 

Gen Dagolo is a former commander of the Janjaweed militia who took part in the genocide in Darfur. 

Mr Bashir, who has ruled Sudan for 29 years, on Tuesday said he would defy calls to resign and suggested demonstrators who took to the streets over spiraling food prices are directed by foreign powers. 


"You are the ones responding to them right now. From here, you are responding to all the traitors and foreign agents. I support you. And with your support, I will be back here next year," he told supporters at a rally south of Khartoum on Tuesday. 

Security forces used teargas and fired rifles in the air to disperse protesters attempting to march on the presidential palace in Khartoum to demand the resignation of Bashir on Tuesday. 

Organizers claimed police also used live rounds and that eight people had suffered gunshot wounds. The claim could not be immediately verified. 

A further protester was reported to have died of his wounds after being shot in the head in the city of Gadaref earlier in the week, protest leaders said.    

Video purporting to show hundreds of people on the streets chanting the "people want to bring down the regime," a slogan from the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings, emerged from Khartoum on Tuesday afternoon. 

Anti government protesters demanding Omar Bashir step down march through Khartoum on December 25 Anti government protesters demanding Omar Bashir step down march through Khartoum on December 25 Credit: Sudanese Activist via AP

The march, which was organised by a coalition of trade unions and the country's two biggest opposition parties, was meant to to present a petition at the presidential palace demanding Bashir stand aside for a "transitional government of technocrats."

There was a heavy security presence in Khartoum on Wednesday but no further protests. 

Sudanese officials have said at least 12 people have died since the beginning of the protests. Amnesty International said on Monday that it had received "credible" reports that 37 people had been killed by security forces since protests began. 

The United States, Britain, Norway and Canada said in a joint statement on Monday that they were concerned by reports security forces have used live ammunition. 

Bashir, 74,  has ruled Sudan since he seized power from an elected but ineffectual government in a military coup in 1989. 

He has been accused of multiple human rights abuses, including directing the killing of civilians in Darfur in the 2000s, and is wanted by the International Criminal Court in the Hague on multiple charges war crimes and genocide.


December 26, 2018 News

The attack on General Sebhat Efrem is only the latest attempt to end the Eritrean dictatorship. There have been several attempts to oust President Isias Afwerki. This runs against the grain of the propaganda put out by the Eritrean government.

The official portrayal of the president is of a man who is so certain that he enjoys the support of his people that he thinks nothing of strolling into any bar in Asmara to have a beer or a coffee with ordinary men and women. Not for him the phalanx of bodyguards used by other African heads of state. Isaias Afwerki is a simple man, who does not require armed guards, outriders or convoys of cars with blue lights flashing to travel around the country.

It is a myth.

In reality Eritrea is ruled through fear. Networks of informers have been in place for years. Some go back to before the liberation of Eritrea in 1991. This includes ‘zero three’ – the notorious rumour mill, designed to undermine the reputation of anyone who opposes Isaias.

This is a partial list of attempts to end Isaias Afwerki’s rule.

  1. The Menqa (Tigrinya for bat, or ‘those who move about at night.’) This group of left wing opponents developed between 1973-74. Led by Mussie Tesfamikael, and school-mate and close friend of Isaias it called for more democratic systems of accountability for the leadership of the liberation movement and greater respect for the rights of the fighters. They were arrested and tried in June 1974. At least five were executed – others were jailed for many years.
  2. On 24 May 1991 the fighters of the EPLF finally liberated Asmara – to the joy of the vast majority of the city’s population. It was the end of 30 years of armed struggle. But many fighters were not demobilised. Instead, they were told they had to continue serving their country without pay, as they had done during the liberation struggle. In April 1993, shortly before the referendum to endorse Eritrea’s independence there was a brief revolt. Troops drove around the city, demanding that Isaias come and talk to them. This he did, but when they returned to their bases they were rounded up. More than 100 were court martialed – some were shot.
  3. In 1994 a march by disabled fighters into Asmara was fired on by the police and members of the security services. Although not an uprising, it was a sign of discontent.
  4. In September 2001, after the tragic border war between Eritrea and Ethiopia [1998 – 2000], President Isaias was challenged by some of his closest associates. This is what Human Rights Watch wrote: “Eritrean security forces arrested 11 of the 15 high-ranking government officials (the “G-15”) who had signed letters to the president complaining he was “acting without restraint, even illegally.” They called for the legislature to be convened regularly, as well as for elections and political parties – none of which had been permitted since Eritrea’s 1993 independence from Ethiopia. They asked that a Special Court, created by Isaias and reporting to him alone, be dismantled. That same month, the government destroyed Eritrea’s independent press, arresting ten leading journalists, leaving government-run media as the sole domestic news source. All reporting on the G-15 complaints and other discontent with Isaias’s rule ended. Since then, those officials and journalists, along with other political prisoners, have remained in incommunicado detention in a remote concentration camp called Eiraeiro. None have been brought to trial. The only one seen in public since 2002 is Dawit Isaac, a journalist who was admitted to the hospital in 2005.”
  5. On 13th of August 2009 an assassination attempt was carried out against the president. First lieutenant Daniel Habte Yihdego,opened fire on the president on the road between Asmara and the port city of Massawa at a local area called Atal. After an exchange of fire with president’s personal body guards he was killed.
  6. 0n 21 January 2013, around 100-200 Eritrean soldiers launched an attempt to oust the president when they advanced on Asmara with tanks. They took over the area known as Forto, occupying the radio and television station. The rebels attempted to negotiate with forces loyal to Isaias, rather than shell their own capital. Finally the coup attempt collapsed. Those involved were brutally dealt with.

The attack on General Sebhat is the latest in the line of attempts to oust the president. None have so far succeeded. There have – of course – been other attempts by Eritrean movements to oust the government by force, but these were internal challenges to the regime.

The Eritrean government propaganda that President Isaias is universally loved is contradicted by the evidence.


Source: Globe and Mail


Workers and visitors walk within the processing plant at the Bisha Mining Share Company, in Eritrea, on Feb. 18, 2016.


 Thomas Mukoya/Reuters

Yacob, a thin young man in jeans and a T-shirt, glances nervously at the café entrance as he confesses to the crime that could send him to prison at any moment: He has dared to walk away from his mandatory assignment to a menial government job.

Instead of toiling at his conscripted job, Yacob uses illegal U.S. currency to buy smuggled cellphones, which he sells to customers at a tiny shop in Asmara, the Eritrean capital. To dodge prison, he avoids the streets late at night, when police could check his documents and demand proof that he is complying with his compulsory state service.

“It scares the hell out of me even to talk to you,” he says, watching the café door for anyone who might spot him talking to a foreigner.

“There is no freedom here. You can’t hide anything from the government. If they know you have dollars in your pocket, you go to prison. If they want to get you, they can get you in a second. And in prison, they torture you.”

Eritrea, an arid and impoverished country on the Red Sea, remains the most isolated and tightly controlled dictatorship in Africa – despite political changes in the Horn of Africa that have sparked growing demands for a loosening of the chains.

Sometimes called the North Korea of Africa, although the analogy is imperfect, Eritrea has never held a national election since its independence referendum in 1993. Much of the private economy is banned, thousands of prisoners are held incommunicado for years without trial and most adults are conscripted into service in the military or government for indefinite terms that can continue for 20 years or more.

These abuses are largely hidden from the global spotlight. Most foreign media outlets are routinely barred from entering Eritrea, with their visa requests ignored or rejected. Even if they manage to visit Asmara, they are prohibited from travelling outside the capital without a travel permit, which can be impossible to obtain. The regime is so secretive that it would not confirm the attempted assassination of a senior cabinet minister on Dec. 19, despite widespread reports in foreign media.

But after repeated attempts, The Globe and Mail was recently allowed to visit Eritrea for a week. In dozens of interviews, ordinary Eritreans spoke of their frustration at the conscription rules, their continuing fear of the regime and their dreams of freedom to travel or open their own businesses – basic rights that are often prohibited here.

A Canadian company has played a key role in propping up the Eritrean regime. For years, Vancouver-based miner Nevsun Resources has been Eritrea’s biggest private investor. Its mine is the government’s largest single source of revenue, providing more than $1-billion in taxes and other official payments. But its activities in Eritrea will soon become a crucial test case for Canadian corporate responsibility. Next month, the Supreme Court of Canada will hear a landmark case on whether Canadian courts have jurisdiction over legal claims against Nevsun for alleged slave labour and human-rights abuses at its Eritrean subsidiary.

Nevsun owns 60 per cent of Eritrea’s first modern mine, the Bisha gold and copper mine, in partnership with the state. In the past, it has acknowledged that conscripts at a state-owned company may have worked at Bisha in 2009 during its construction phase. It says it has obtained assurances that no conscripts are now being used at the mine. After three Eritrean refugees filed suit against Nevsun in 2014, the B.C. Court of Appeal dismissed Nevsun’s argument that the case should be heard in Eritrea rather than Canada. The company has appealed to the Supreme Court.

As the winds of change sweep through the Horn of Africa, Eritrea faces enormous pressure to open up its system to the outside world for the first time in decades. There is growing impatience and frustration among Eritreans as they watch the dramatic reforms introduced by a dynamic new leader in neighbouring Ethiopia.

Those changes have led to a peace agreement between Eritrea and Ethiopia and the opening of their border to trade. At the same time, the United Nations has lifted its sanctions on the Eritrean leadership, offering an olive branch to the regime. The peace agreement and the lifting of sanctions have removed two of the main pretexts for Eritrea’s conscription policy. So far, however, the repressive system has remained unchanged, while the desperation of its people increases.

Portraits of Eritrea’s President and Ethiopia’s Prime Minister hang in a gift shop in Asmara, the Eritrean capital.


Despite its tiny economy and its small population of about four million, Eritrea holds an outsized importance on the African continent. Its location on the Red Sea, gateway to the Suez Canal for 8 per cent of global shipping traffic and 2.5 per cent of the world’s oil output, gives it a strategic value to the world’s superpowers. Its ports have long been attractive to larger countries. A senior U.S. diplomat, Assistant Secretary of State Tibor Nagy, visited Eritrea in early December – one of the highest-ranking U.S. visits in the past decade.

Eritrea, located near the hot spots of Yemen and Somalia, has played a role in several regional conflicts in the Horn of Africa and the Middle East. One of its Middle Eastern neighbours, the United Arab Emirates, has already opened a naval base in Eritrea, allowing its troops and military aircraft to strike targets in Yemen in the current war there. Until recently, the UN has accused Eritrea of providing weapons to Islamist militants in Somalia. Eritrea has also been among the leading sources of migrants to Europe, leading to an outpouring of development aid from the European Union to try to stem the migration flow.

First-time Eritrean asylum applicants in Europe, by destination country
Rest of Europe



GEO/TIME Germany Switzerland Sweden Italy Rest of Europe
2008-01-01 30 150 95 95 370
2008-02-01 15 85 60 25 350
2008-03-01 10 110 70 15 280
2008-04-01 25 135 40 10 300
2008-05-01 10 100 60 85 335
2008-06-01 20 150 60 50 365
2008-07-01 20 160 60 425 325
2008-08-01 15 215 85 815 420
2008-09-01 20 325 70 520 500
2008-10-01 35 405 95 465 470
2008-11-01 30 490 90 310 475
2008-12-01 15 505 85 110 390
2009-01-01 25 520 70 40 415
2009-02-01 15 175 50 10 345
2009-03-01 20 80 60 10 410
2009-04-01 25 80 60 25 405
2009-05-01 20 90 55 30 380
2009-06-01 30 85 85 15 350
2009-07-01 45 80 100 75 615
2009-08-01 35 95 90 15 525
2009-09-01 30 95 135 60 535
2009-10-01 25 90 95 195 490
2009-11-01 45 125 100 340 400
2009-12-01 40 115 130 50 435
2010-01-01 40 75 110 15 255
2010-02-01 35 110 105 10 230
2010-03-01 40 120 135 30 255
2010-04-01 25 125 110 15 225
2010-05-01 30 120 90 15 275
2010-06-01 40 140 95 10 290
2010-07-01 60 135 125 55 360
2010-08-01 55 205 160 5 410
2010-09-01 75 170 140 5 355
2010-10-01 80 160 150 10 305
2010-11-01 55 170 130 5 345
2010-12-01 105 175 110 10 325
2011-01-01 75 185 140 5 260
2011-02-01 55 260 125 10 240
2011-03-01 50 260 130 10 260
2011-04-01 35 370 110 125 600
2011-05-01 60 535 165 230 375
2011-06-01 40 225 105 35 355
2011-07-01 65 160 85 30 315
2011-08-01 55 235 225 15 335
2011-09-01 50 240 175 20 370
2011-10-01 55 235 165 20 295
2011-11-01 50 270 140 20 235
2011-12-01 45 255 140 10 265
2012-01-01 45 355 145 5 225
2012-02-01 50 320 135 5 170
2012-03-01 55 430 130 15 215
2012-04-01 35 345 105 5 190
2012-05-01 40 425 120 10 190
2012-06-01 35 485 145 35 345
2012-07-01 55 435 210 35 340
2012-08-01 70 335 280 20 295
2012-09-01 35 325 285 40 440
2012-10-01 70 335 335 215 390
2012-11-01 105 290 265 235 505
2012-12-01 60 220 250 105 275
2013-01-01 55 215 230 200 330
2013-02-01 65 160 185 80 275
2013-03-01 55 155 200 160 280
2013-04-01 65 185 150 100 240
2013-05-01 50 165 175 90 295
2013-06-01 25 170 180 60 340
2013-07-01 140 270 410 265 930
2013-08-01 255 265 625 420 1195
2013-09-01 625 215 675 165 880
2013-10-01 705 265 710 210 840
2013-11-01 915 200 520 280 655
2013-12-01 660 225 505 70 565
2014-01-01 510 180 325 70 610
2014-02-01 220 150 190 50 345
2014-03-01 225 170 255 70 490
2014-04-01 475 255 540 45 1700
2014-05-01 1225 385 1030 25 2940
2014-06-01 1335 1015 1845 20 1315
2014-07-01 2010 1465 2510 65 1700
2014-08-01 1995 1145 1720 5 1465
2014-09-01 1710 885 1160 20 1435
2014-10-01 1520 700 800 40 1095
2014-11-01 1265 290 405 40 645
2014-12-01 710 175 270 25 540
2015-01-01 695 135 185 30 515
2015-02-01 405 155 170 40 350
2015-03-01 360 250 205 40 485
2015-04-01 430 220 395 25 850
2015-05-01 650 800 1045 15 2440
2015-06-01 1115 2190 965 40 2295
2015-07-01 1310 2120 815 25 2385
2015-08-01 1210 1605 865 25 2720
2015-09-01 1305 1370 750 20 1905
2015-10-01 1405 590 750 210 2460
2015-11-01 1300 260 230 120 655
2015-12-01 690 165 145 110 715
2016-01-01 810 220 95 110 495
2016-02-01 1175 170 85 305 420
2016-03-01 995 220 80 90 495
2016-04-01 1320 185 50 250 480
2016-05-01 1150 285 75 680 360
2016-06-01 1940 495 50 1215 460
2016-07-01 1885 725 45 1240 605
2016-08-01 2115 760 75 840 640
2016-09-01 2000 615 50 730 650
2016-10-01 1755 470 40 800 835
2016-11-01 2085 480 60 665 630
2016-12-01 1630 410 35 475 855
2017-01-01 1115 315 35 600 790
2017-02-01 1260 285 40 350 640
2017-03-01 1165 300 45 215 720
2017-04-01 930 240 45 305 615
2017-05-01 825 200 45 365 665
2017-06-01 995 315 220 745 500
2017-07-01 775 300 155 970 440
2017-08-01 475 240 175 1205 535
2017-09-01 645 245 290 1300 585
2017-10-01 695 255 260 120 625
2017-11-01 550 250 185 70 500
2017-12-01 795 210 35 130 410
2018-01-01 555 235 190 160 640
2018-02-01 425 285 35 180 465
2018-03-01 810 250 60 180 600
2018-04-01 835 220 50 65 555
2018-05-01 515 235 55 45 685
2018-06-01 510 190 50 35 720
2018-07-01 370 240 60 60 895
2018-08-01 380 175 50 20 735
2018-09-01 325 135 60 35 625
2018-10-01 295 220     240

First-time Eritrean asylum applicants in Europe, by destination country



Eritrea’s system of mandatory labour – known as “national service” – remains pervasive in the country today, almost two decades after the end of the border wars with Ethiopia that were cited to justify the policy. “It turned into slavery,” one Eritrean told me.

National service is officially limited to 18 months, yet in practice, it often continues indefinitely, leaving many Eritreans locked into unlimited servitude for as little as $2 a day.

“Vision through toil,” the government exhorts its citizens in propaganda posters throughout the country, illustrated by images of industrious factory workers and mine workers. Jobs and travel require proof that citizens have fulfilled their national-service obligations.

An inquiry by the UN in 2016 concluded that the national-service system amounted to “enslavement.” Conscripts are sometimes subjected to 72-hour work weeks and physical abuse.

“There have to be changes,” says Abraham, a middle-aged man nursing a glass of tea in an Asmara café. “If there are no changes, we can’t survive – it’s over, we are finished.”

He blames the country’s long-ruling regime for killing the economy by banning private construction and imposing indefinite conscription. Like many Eritreans, he spends hours on satellite TV watching the speeches of Ethiopia’s new 42-year-old Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, who has brought extraordinary changes to Ethiopia’s political and economic landscape. “We need a young smart leader like Abiy,” he says.

“Abiy is a brilliant man. I admire him so much. When he came to Asmara, people were crying with joy. That’s the kind of leader we need.”

Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed talk during the inauguration of a hospital in northern Ethiopia, on Nov. 10, 2018.


For many Eritreans, one of the biggest grievances is the ban on private construction, which has meant a housing shortage and soaring rental costs. “Your salary is 2,000 nakfa a month [about $175] and your living costs are 4,000 [nafka] a month,” Abraham says.


Zemen, a middle-aged woman who sells tea and coffee in a tent in an outdoor market, says her biggest dream is that the unlimited conscription system will be ended. Her 26-year-old daughter and 20-year-old son are serving in Eritrea’s army with no end in sight. Her daughter has served five years in a faraway district, while her son has served two years, and nobody knows when they will be home.

“This is the biggest question that everyone has,” she says. “It’s been very difficult to see my children constantly separated from me. I miss them a lot. I want them to come home and get married and build their own lives.”

She says she can’t understand why the national-service system is still imposed. “The conflict with Ethiopia is over. Ethiopia is not a threat now. So people are asking, ‘Why does the government need to keep people for longer than 18 months?’”

For fear of imprisonment, ordinary Eritreans are unwilling to be identified when they discuss politics with a foreign visitor. One man recalled how he was jailed for two weeks for speaking to a foreign journalist. Others said that they have been interrogated and threatened by the secret police for working with foreigners. To protect their identities, The Globe has used only first names in this article, omitting any identifying details and sometimes changing their names to ensure that they cannot be tracked down by the regime.

“Don’t write my name,” one panicky Eritrean man says when he saw me jotting down notes.

“They could be following us and we wouldn’t even know,” another warns.

Eritrea ranks 179th out of 180 countries on press freedom index, 2018
A lower score corresponds to greater freedom of the press
Top 10
Bottom 10

North Korea (180)Eritrea (179)Turkmenistan (178)Syria (177)China (176)Vietnam (175)Sudan (174)Djibouti (173)Cuba (172)Equatorial Guinea (171)Costa Rica (10)Denmark (9)New Zealand (8)Belgium (7)Jamaica (6)Switzerland (5)Finland (4)Netherlands (3)Sweden (2)Norway (1)7.638.3110.0110.2611.2711.3313.1613.6213.9914.0166.4768.9070.7771.1375.0578.2979.2284.2084.2488.87

Country Top 10 Bottom 10
Norway (1) 7.63 0
Sweden (2) 8.31 0
Netherlands (3) 10.01 0
Finland (4) 10.26 0
Switzerland (5) 11.27 0
Jamaica (6) 11.33 0
Belgium (7) 13.16 0
New Zealand (8) 13.62 0
Denmark (9) 13.99 0
Costa Rica (10) 14.01 0
Equatorial Guinea (171) 0 66.47
Cuba (172) 0 68.9
Djibouti (173) 0 70.77
Sudan (174) 0 71.13
Vietnam (175) 0 75.05
China (176) 0 78.29
Syria (177) 0 79.22
Turkmenistan (178) 0 84.2
Eritrea (179) 0 84.24
North Korea (180) 0 88.87

Eritrea ranks 179th out of 180 countries on press freedom index, 2018



Government officials were also reluctant to talk to The Globe. Those who did talk were scathing in their attacks on Eritrea’s critics – especially the Eritrean emigrants who became activists after migrating to countries such as Canada.

“Those people sitting in Canada eating ice cream are trouble makers, trying to blackmail us,” says Mokonen Goitom, a senior official in Eritrea’s Culture and Sports Commission. “They are lazy people who sit in bars and criticize the government.”

Asked about the conscription system and when it might finally be limited, he insisted that Ethiopia is still a potential threat to Eritrea, despite the peace agreement in July. And if national service is to be ended, he says, the government must provide jobs and houses to those who leave their assigned posts. “Change is a slow process.”

Ethiopia, with its internal factional struggles and its population of more than 100 million, could still turn against its smaller neighbour, Mr. Goitom says. “We are four million people against 100 million. Do people want us to be kicked by Ethiopia? There is no political stability in Ethiopia, so we have to be very patient.”

The tower of a Catholic cathedral looms over Asmara. A succession of foreign empires – Egyptian, Ottaman, Italian and Ethiopian – have laid claim to Eritrea over the centuries.


Two men talk in front of a cinema in Asmara. The capital’s architecture and Italian signs bear the legacy of decades of colonial occupation.


Train tracks lead toward Asmara through Old Massawa.


Eritrea, whose name is based on the Greek term for the Red Sea, has a tangled history of domination by foreign powers. It was once a series of independent kingdoms and sultanates that fell under the control of Ottoman, Egyptian and Ethiopian rulers. In the late 19th century, after the Suez Canal opened, Italy began acquiring territory on the coast, including two ports. Eritrea soon became the first Italian colony, and Italy’s colonial rule expanded into the highlands, including Asmara.

By the 1890s, Italian soldiers were killing hundreds of rebels and committing atrocities to entrench colonial rule. By the 1930s, under Benito Mussolini’s fascist rule, a system of apartheid was in place, with strict racial segregation enforced in schools, restaurants, hotels and cinemas.

The legacy of Italian colonialism is still vividly seen in Asmara today, with crumbling Art Deco and Modernist architecture across the city, but Italian dominance stoked a strong yearning for independence. “In its day, it was the most racist regime in Africa,” British author Michela Wrong wrote in her portrait of the country, I Didn’t Do It for You: How the World Used and Abused a Small African Nation.

“When a white man walked along the street, you always followed a couple of steps behind, never alongside,” an elderly Eritrean told her.

In the early 1940s, after Italy’s military defeat, the country came under British administration, but the racial laws remained in place. The British dismantled and hauled away much of the Italian infrastructure in Eritrea, including factories and port docks, and then allowed the United Nations to hand the country over to Ethiopian control.

In the 1950s, Eritrea became the site of a key Cold War spy station for the United States, adding to its strategic value. Ethiopia increasingly tightened its grip, until an Eritrean rebellion erupted in 1961, igniting a 30-year fight for independence. The struggle, known as Africa’s longest war, was waged by Eritrean guerrillas who dug themselves into mountainsides and built underground hospitals and schools to resist the much larger Ethiopian army. An estimated 150,000 to 200,000 Eritreans died from conflict and famine.

After winning independence in 1993, Eritrea was peaceful for only five years before a border dispute sparked another war with Ethiopia, killing another 80,000 fighters on both sides over the next two years. The war ended in a peace agreement but no permanent treaty, and the border tensions continued as Ethiopia refused to accept a UN-brokered border deal.

Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki, who has ruled since independence, has used conscription and a brutal crackdown on dissent as part of his strategy to keep the country on a war footing. A former political commissar in the guerrilla army, the 72-year-old President is an austere and reclusive figure. Unlike the dictators of North Korea and other countries, he has eschewed an official personality cult. Portraits of him are rarely seen in the streets of Asmara. But his rule has been merciless: He has jailed many of his former rebel comrades, banned any independent media or non-governmental groups and refused to allow elections or opposition parties.

With little private investment, Eritrea has fallen into deep poverty. Scholars have called it the world’s “fastest emptying nation.” An estimated 12 per cent to 20 per cent of the population has fled the poverty and oppression. The money they send home is crucial to the survival of their family members who remain behind. Eritrea’s financial system is so isolated from the world that credit cards cannot be used here – but the government makes sure to allow money to be sent from abroad, a vital lifeline for the economy.

Human development index (HDI), Eritrea vs. select nations
Country (2017 HDI rank)
Eritrea (179)
Ethiopia (173)
Egypt (115)
Canada (12)
Norway (1)



Country (2017 HDI rank) Eritrea (179) Ethiopia (173) Egypt (115) Canada (12) Norway (1)
2005-01-01 0.408 0.346 0.634 0.892 0.932
2006-01-01 0.409 0.362 0.642 0.895 0.936
2007-01-01 0.411 0.378 0.65 0.897 0.938
2008-01-01 0.407 0.394 0.658 0.899 0.938
2009-01-01 0.416 0.401 0.66 0.899 0.938
2010-01-01 0.416 0.412 0.665 0.902 0.942
2011-01-01 0.417 0.423 0.668 0.905 0.943
2012-01-01 0.422 0.43 0.675 0.908 0.942
2013-01-01 0.425 0.438 0.68 0.911 0.946
2014-01-01 0.428 0.445 0.683 0.918 0.946
2015-01-01 0.433 0.451 0.691 0.92 0.948
2016-01-01 0.436 0.457 0.694 0.922 0.951
2017-01-01 0.44 0.463 0.696 0.926 0.953

Human development index (HDI), Eritrea vs. select nations


The streets of Asmara, especially at night, are filled with child beggars and elderly hawkers who sell a few cheap items on the sidewalk: a few cigarette packs, candies, tissues, eggs or peanuts. The capital has the atmosphere of a half-forgotten colonial relic. No construction is visible anywhere. No billboards are permitted, except for propaganda posters. There are no traffic lights – they were removed because of the frequent power cuts in the city.

But this year, the historic reforms across the border in Ethiopia have sparked hopes for the future. Ethiopia’s energetic Prime Minister, Mr. Abiy, who took office in April, has brought new freedoms to his country, releasing political prisoners, freeing jailed journalists, ending a state of emergency, liberalizing the economy – and normalizing relations with Eritrea for the first time in 20 years by accepting the UN border agreement that his predecessors had rejected.

In July, the Ethiopian leader was welcomed by huge crowds in Asmara as he flew into the country to sign the peace agreement. Flights and phone calls between the two countries were permitted for the first time since the border war. Families had tearful reunions with relatives they hadn’t seen for 25 years.

Passengers carrying Ethiopian and Eritrean flags celebrate on the tarmac upon their arrival at the Asmara International airport after the two countries resumed commercial airline flights for the first time in decades.


Two Eritrean sisters who hadn’t seen each other in more than two decades are reunited in Asmara after the flight’s arrival from Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, on July 19, 2018.


Within a few weeks, vehicles were allowed to cross the border. By September, a fast-growing informal trade in Ethiopian goods had developed, allowing a steep reduction in the price of basic food supplies in Eritrea. The price of pasta, potatoes and other staples has dropped by two-thirds or more – a rare glimmer of economic good news for the country.

On the outskirts of Asmara, a vast new market has sprung up to sell Ethiopian goods, with plastic-roofed sheds and tents stretching into the distance. People call it the “Peace Market.” Trucks and cars, many with Ethiopian licence plates, rumble in and out of the market with loads of goods. Horse-drawn wooden carts enter and leave, carrying purchases to shops in Asmara.

“Life is much better now than before I left,” says Bakretsion, 28, who returned to Eritrea in late October after spending four years in a refugee camp in Sudan.

He buys Ethiopian fuel in jerry cans from the Ethiopian traders, then sells it for a small profit at the Peace Market, making up to $10 a day. “I’m surprised at how much I’m earning,” he says. “But this is just a beginning. I don’t know the future.”

Yonas, a young man who sells bread in the market, has spent two years in national service at a low-paying job at a state-owned construction company, and nobody has told him when the job will end. By managing to temporarily take time off from his state job and working 12 hours a day at the market, he has been able to double his meagre income. But he craves more freedoms. “The people have big expectations,” he says.

“If national service isn’t changed, there will be huge problems. Most people will leave the country.”

With the border open and a peace agreement in place, this is a time of rapidly rising expectations in Eritrea, especially among its younger generation. This also makes it a volatile time, when anger bred by the dashed dreams could turn against the regime.

“The peace deal was a bridge to the future, but it didn’t lead anywhere,” one young man says. “On the ground, we are still living the same life. The control is still there, the military is still there, the prisoners are not released, there’s no freedom of speech. So people are unhappy. People have tasted peace, but they haven’t gotten any freedom yet.”

Yacob, the young man who sells smuggled cellphones in Asmara, dreams of someday becoming a tech innovator, like the Silicon Valley entrepreneurs that he reads about. But in the Eritrea of today, he says, it is an impossible dream.

“Politics here is all about monopolization,” he says. “I can’t do anything here. Everything is closed. If I’m smart, I’m dead.”

People walk in the streets of Asmara.


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It now appears to be confirmed that there was an attempt to kill General Sebhat Efrem, former minister of defence and current minister of mining.

This was reported on Eritrea Hub on December 20th. Since then others, including VOA have carried similar reports. Now Eritrea’s ambassador to Japan, Estifanos, tweeted this:


Today there is further information – which still to be confirmed.

The attempt on General Sebhat’s life may have been because he betrayed a group of lower ranking soldiers who had organised a coup. They had asked him to lead it.

He apparently agreed and then leaked the information to President Isaias, who started arresting them all.

Those that remained free concluded that Sebhat had leaked the information.

Apparently the soldier who fired at him in his home missed and then attacked him physically as his gun wouldn’t fire again. He used the gun butt – hitting the general on his head and face.

President Isaias has visited the general in AbuDhabi, where he was taken for treatment, but refused Sebhat’s  wife permission to accompany him out of the country.

This indicates the low level of trust.

General Sebhat is one of the few senior Eritreans from the EPLF’s war of independence to still be free and in a ministerial position.

Sebhat Efrem at EPLF CongressSebhat Efrem at the EPLF Second Congress, 1987, lower right. Most of his colleagues, including Petros Solomon, former head of intelligence and later Foreign Minister (front row left) was jailed indefinitely. So was General Berhane Gebreigziabher, head of the militia army (front row, centre).

The appalling treatment of refugees in Libya: UN

Friday, 21 December 2018 22:41 Written by


Geneva/Tripoli, 20 December 2018 – Migrants and refugees are being subjected to “unimaginable horrors” from the moment they enter Libya, throughout their stay in the country and – if they make it that far – during their subsequent attempts to cross the Mediterranean Sea, according to a UN report released on Thursday.

The 61-page report, published jointly by the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) and the UN Human Rights Office, covers a 20-month period up to August 2018, and details a terrible litany of violations and abuses committed by a range of State officials, armed groups, smugglers and traffickers against migrants and refugees. These include unlawful killings, torture, arbitrary detention, gang rape, slavery, forced labour and extortion.

Based on 1,300 first-hand accounts gathered by UN human rights staff in Libya itself, as well from migrants who have returned to Nigeria or reached Italy, the report traces the entire journey of migrants and refugees from Libya’s southern border, across the desert to the northern coast – a journey “marred by considerable risk of serious human rights violations and abuses every step of the way.”

The climate of lawlessness in Libya provides fertile ground for thriving illicit activities, such as trafficking in human beings and criminal smuggling, and leaves migrants and refugees “at the mercy of countless predators who view them as commodities to be exploited and extorted,” the report says.

“The overwhelming majority of women and older teenage girls interviewed by UNSMIL reported being gang raped by smugglers or traffickers,” the report says. UN staff visiting 11 detention centres, where thousands of migrants and refugees are being held, documented torture, ill-treatment, forced labour, and rape by the guards, and reported that women are often held in facilities without female guards, exacerbating the risk of sexual abuse and exploitation. Female detainees are often subjected to strip searches carried out, or watched, by male guards.

Those who manage in the end to attempt the perilous Mediterranean Sea crossing, are increasingly being intercepted or rescued by the Libyan Coast Guard which then transfers them back to Libya, where many are delivered straight back into the pattern of violations and abuse, they have just escaped.

The approximately 29,000 migrants returned to Libya by the Coast Guard since early 2017 were transferred to immigration detention centres run by the Department of Combating Illegal Migration, where thousands remain detained indefinitely and arbitrarily, without due process or access to lawyers or consular services.

The report states Libya cannot be considered a place of safety following rescue or interception at sea, given the considerable risk of being subject to serious human rights abuses, and notes that these “pushbacks” have been considered by the UN Special rapporteur on torture as violations of the principle of non refoulement, which is prohibited under international law.

The report calls on the European Union and its Member States to also reconsider the human costs of their policies and efforts to stem migration to Europe and ensure that their cooperation and assistance to the Libyan authorities are human rights-based, in line with their own obligations under international human rights and refugee law, and do not, directly or indirectly, result in men, women and children being trapped in abusive situations with little hope of protection and remedy.

Migrants held in the centres are systematically subjected to starvation and severe beatings, burned with hot metal objects, electrocuted and subjected to other forms of  ill-treatment with the aim of extorting money from their families through a complex system of money transfers.

The detention centres are characterized by severe overcrowding, lack of ventilation and lighting, and insufficient washing facilities and latrines.  In addition to the abuses and violence committed against the people held there, many of them suffer from malnutrition, skin infections, acute diarrhoea, respiratory tract-infections and other ailments, as well as inadequate medical treatment. Children are held with adults in same squalid conditions.

The report points to the apparent “complicity of some State actors, including local officials, members of armed groups formally integrated into State institutions, and representatives of the Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Defence, in the smuggling or trafficking of migrants and refugees.”

“There is a local and international failure to handle this hidden human calamity that continues to take place in Libya,” said Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of UNSMIL, Ghassan Salamé.

Many people are held in unofficial and illegal centres run directly by armed groups or criminal gangs. They are frequently sold from one criminal group to another and required to pay multiple ransoms. “Countless migrants and refugees lost their lives during captivity by smugglers after being shot, tortured to death, or simply left to die from starvation or medical neglect,” the report says. “Across Libya, unidentified bodies of migrants and refugees bearing gunshot wounds, torture marks and burns are frequently uncovered in rubbish bins, dry river beds, farms and the desert.”

“The situation is utterly dreadful,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet. “Tackling the rampant impunity would not only end the suffering of tens of thousands of migrant and refugee women, men and children seeking a better life, but also undercut the parallel illicit economy built on the abuse of these people and help establish the rule of law and national institutions.”

Please find the report here:

Desperate and Dangerous: Report on the human rights situation of migrants and refugees in Libya


ኣብ ሱዳን ኣንጻር መንግስቲ ዝተልዓለ ተቓውሞ በርቲዑኣብ ሰሜንን ምዕራብን ሱዳን፡ ኣብ ሞንጎ ሰልፈኛታትን ፖሊስን ብዝተወልዐ ግጭት፡ ሸሞንተ ሰባት መይቶም።

ኣብ ምዕራባዊት ከተማ ኣል-ገዳርፍ ኣብ ዝተልዓለ ናዕቢ ኣንጻር መንግስቲ፡ ሽዱሽተ ሰባት ክሞቱ እንከለው፡ ኣዋጅ ህጹጽ ግዘን፡ ሰዓት እቶ እቶን ክእወጅ ምኽንያት ኮይኑ።

ኣብ ሰሜናዊት ከተማ ኣትባራ ብዝነበረ ግጭት ድማ ክልተ ሰባት ምሟቶም ናይታ ሃገር ሚዲያ ጸብጺቡ።

ኣብ ከተማ ካርቱምን ካልኦት ከተማታትን ድማ ናህሪ ዋጋታት ባንን ነዳድን ዘንቀሎ ዓመጽ ተጎሃሂሩ'ዩ ዘሎ።

እዚ ትማሊ ሮቡዕ ኣብ ከተማታት ኣትባራ፣ ኢድ-ዳማርን በርበርን ዝተወልዐ ጎንጺ፡ ኣንጻር መንግስቲ ዝጭርሑ ሰልፈኛታት ብምንባሮም፡ ፖሊስ እቲ ሰልፊ ንምብታን መንብዒ ጋዝ ተጠቒሙ።

ጸኒሑ ግን እቲ ጎነጽ ስለ ዝተጋደደ ብዙሓት ሰባት ክሞቱ ምኽንያት ኮይኑ።

መሰኻኸር ዓይኒ ከም ዝበሉዎ እንተኾይኑ ድማ፡ ሓይልታት ምክልኻል እቲ ተቓውሞ ንምብታን ኣይኣተውን፤ እኳ ድኣ ነቶም ሰልፈኛታት ክድግፉ ተራእዮም።

ኣብ ከተማ ኣል-ገዳርፍ ብሓሙስ ምስ ፓሊስ ኣብ ዝተኻየደ ጎንፂ፡ ሓደ ተምሃራይ ዩኒቨርሲቲ ከም ዝተቐትለን፡ ሓያሎ ካልኦት ከም ዝቖሰሉን ጸብጻባት ካብታ ከተማ ሓቢሮም።

"ኣብ ኣል-ገዳርፍ ዘሎ ኩነታት ሓደገኛ እናኾነ'ዩ መጺኡ። ዓመጽቲ ድማ ተቐጻጸልቲ ነገራት ምጥቃምን ስርቅን ጀሚሮም፤ ኩሉ ነገር ካብ ቁጽጽር ወጻኢ'ዩ ኾይኑ ዘሎ" ኢሉ ሓጋጊ ሕጊ ሙባረክ ኣል-ኑር።




Eight Sudanese killed in bread price protests

Friday, 21 December 2018 11:40 Written by

People demonstrate in Atbara streets to protest bread shortages on 19 December 2018 ST Photo

December 20, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - Eight people have been killed in several Sudanese cities during the second day of protests against the rising prices of basic commodities including bread, officials said on Thursday.

Sudanese in the cities of Gadarif in the eastern part of the country, Sennar in the centre and Dongla in northern Sudan took to the street in spontaneous protests and in large numbers on Thursday morning, chanting against the regime to express their discontent over rising food and fuel prices.

In Gadarif, the protesters burnt the premises of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) and three government vehicles including a police car. Also, they clashed with anti-riot police.

On Thursday evening, El-Tayeb al-Amin Taha Gadarif Commissioner told Sudania 24 TV that six people were killed and others were wounded.

While the local government decided to impose emergency and curfew in the city.

Eyewitnesses, in addition, said the security agents in plain clothes shot on the protesters, killing two students.

Different sources explained the wave of protest in the provinces, saying that the federal government reduced the quantity of subsidized flour allocated to the states to cover the large deficit in Khartoum state. This decision led to an increase in the price of bread in the other regions.

The Sudanese government spokesperson and information minister, Bushara Juma said the police dealt peacefully with the protesters and granted their constitutional right to demonstrate their anger against the rising prices.

"However, the peaceful demonstrations deviated from their course and turned into a subversive activity targeting public institutions and properties through burning and destruction," Bushra said before to point to statements issued by opposition groups calling to topple down the regime.

In the capital of Northern State Dongola, the demonstrators set fire to the buildings of the Government Secretariat and burned them completely.

In Berber of the River Nile State, the security forces opened fire on the protesters and killed a demonstrator. The state government spokesperson confirmed his death and added that another was killed in the town of Ubaidiyah.

The protest against the soaring prices began in Atbara of the River Nile State on Wednesday as the price of a loaf of bread has increased to 3 Sudanese pounds (the official price is one pound).

Sources from Atbara said the protests continued for the second day on Thursday in spite of the ban imposed yesterday after the imposition of an emergency situation in the town.

In the capital Khartoum state where the situation remained Calm on Wednesday, there were some limited demonstrations in Khartoum city and Omdurman.