Eritrean Mutineers Surround Information Ministry

Photo: United Nations
President of Eritrea, Isaias Afwerki (file photo).

Addis Ababa — Some 200 disaffected Eritrean troops with two tanks on Monday surrounded the Ministry of Information in the capital Asmara, sources in the Red Sea nation said.

The move comes weeks after Eritrean Minister of Information, Ali Abdu, reportedly deserted to Canada where he is seeking political asylum.

According to the BBC:

The websites of key Eritrean state and ruling party media have been operating erratically, with the site for the ruling People's Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ) party inaccessible for part of Monday.

State television and radio were reportedly cutoff shortly after the troops took control of the station. It was reported that a statement was read on the radio calling for the country's 1997 constitution to be reinstalled. It was also reported that the director general of Eritrean Television, Asmelash Abreha was forced to ask for the release of all political prisoners in Eritrea live on State TV.

Normal transmission resumed in the evening showing a delayed news bulletin that did not mention the incident.

Eritrea has the worst levels of press freedom in the world, according to media monitoring groups, and does not allow the international media to operate inside the country, making it difficult to verify the reports.

An Eritrean opposition official in Addis Ababa told Sudan Tribune that there has been a growing protest by the Eritrean army against the government due bad governance and corruption.

"What is going on now within the Eritrean military indicates that it is the beginning of the end for the President Isaias Afwerki led dictatorial regime" Ibrahim Haron, the Chairman of the Red Sea Afar Democratic Organization (RSADO) said.

Human rights groups have repeatedly labeled Eritrea as one of the most politically repressive nations of the world. Right groups have in the past referred the country as "Africa's biggest prison".

During the past ten years, tens of thousands of Eritreans have fled to Ethiopia to escape the government's policies including the compulsory military service that can be hard to leave.

Members of the Eritrean Army periodically flee to neighbouring countries. In 2012, dozens of members of the Eritrean Navy fled with their speed boats to Yemen.

Eritrea gained independence from Ethiopia in 1993, however the ruling People's Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ) has since turned the country into a one party state.

The country has never had national elections and it doesn't allow any opposition groups operate.

Ads by Google

Copyright © 2013 Sudan Tribune. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.

InFocus

Eritrean Leader Losing Control?

President of Eritrea, Isaias Afwerki (file photo).

The country's information minister has confirmed that he fled Eritrea during a business trip to Germany. Ali Abdu Ahmed was apparently one of the president's closest associates. Read more »