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Eritrea’s president says no fear of unrest after army mutiny

By Aaron Maasho (Reuters) - Eritrea's President Isaias Afewerki sought on Monday to calm fears of unrest, and in his first reaction to the storming of the information ministry ago by dissident troops three weeks,

By Aaron Maasho
(Reuters) – Eritrea’s President Isaias Afewerki sought on Monday to calm fears of unrest, and in his first reaction to the storming of the information ministry ago by dissident troops three weeks, blamed “bankrupt enemies” for being behind the attack.
Eritrean soldiers, backed by tanks, took over the ministry on January 21 and obliged the director general of state television to appeal for all political prisoners to be freed.
Calm soon returned in the capital, but Eritrean opposition activists in neighbouring Ethiopia say there is growing dissent within the army, Africa’s second biggest, over economic hardship.
The incident sparked protests by exiled Eritreans in Europe, who briefly occupied embassies in London, Rome and other cities last month to express support for the mutinous soldiers.
Isaias said his administration had chosen to remain silent to avoid “serving the ploys of bankrupt enemy quarters”.
“Entertain no worry at all, as there was, and does not exist, any reason for being apprehensive,” the information ministry website quoted him as saying on Monday.
Isaias did not disclose who was behind the plot, but said details would be provided “at an appropriate time”.
Eritrea has been led by Isaias, 66, for two decades. Although the renegade soldiers did not go as far as to demand his overthrow, the protest was a rare glimpse of public discontent in one of Africa’s most secretive states.
The fate of the dissident soldiers is not known and statements about the political situation inside Eritrea are hard to corroborate. But dissent inside the one-party state is typically dealt with harshly.
Between 5,000 and 10,000 political prisoners are held in the country of 6 million people, the United Nations human rights chief said last year, accusing Eritrea of torture and summary executions.
More than 1,000 Eritreans cross over to Ethiopia and a similar number go to Sudan each month to escape conscription and unlimited service in the army, according to figures from the U.N. refugee agency.
On a strategic strip of mountainous land along the Red Sea, Eritrea has more soldiers per person than any country except North Korea.
(Editing by James Macharia and Jon Hemming)

Review overview
  • wedi keshi February 13, 2013

    I don’t understand those Diasporas who are loyal to the lunatics. They are either lunatics themselves, kleptocrates or the Horse in Animal Farms. They come to visit their country and instead observing reality they prefer to watch Guwailla – a typical behavior of reality avoidance. Normally, while on visit,appart what they see themselves, they are bombarded from families & friends about the country. They try to be immune in a cynical way. I wonder what their future will be. History will tell their children that their participation was a shame – this will cost the rest of their own & their descendants’ history. I watch Eritrean TV and I observe that the Ministers and other officials have faces of agony. One does not see the confidence they had 11 years ago. They are hostages of the lunatics and they seem to regret their own trapped loyalty. They are in a nightmare of catch 22 and they envy Ali Abdo or the sports people who got the opportunity of absconding the country. What a country trapped by a drunkard lunatic? Hitler was the parallel of Issayas; he was also escaping forward – a typical lunatic behavioral. He will end up soon in his bunker; since all his friends are already gone, if his solders are not going to catch him or kill him, he will end up his life and will order his inner loyalists (Issayas Junge/Issayas Youth) to burn his body after his sucide.

  • nurhussein February 13, 2013

    If there is a corrupt politian ,it is Issayas himself.!!!!!!!

  • jonah February 13, 2013

    Wedi Keshi,
    I don’t understand diaspora also. I think in their twisted ways the believe the government is Eritrea. If government falls and they might believe that Eritrea will disappear. Even if you are able to convince them that policy and government behavior is bad or incompetent.. they continue believe in government. Their positions are as dogmatic as any religious fanatic. Religious fanatic never real accept reality. They hate reality because they want to bring heaven to earth and change reality.

    The Diaspora don’t have suffer from Eritrean government policies. They are generally in democratic and free country in the West. They enjoy all benefits the local Eritrean pops can only dream of.. If they lived in Eritrea they would be the first ones to get the hell of the country. For all practical purposes, they see themselves as tourist except the government has “given” them “Eritrean citizenship”.

    On the flip-side, what can you expect? Sometimes you just want to go to Eritrea to visit relative or bury your loved ones. Unless, you want to end up in jail… just do what you need to do and get out. After all, you have a new country.

    Also, the diaspora is not very organized except maybe for the governmented-connected agencies. To make the diaspora effective, it would make sense to reach out to them in their new homes with new organization with a transparent platform. “We are an organization that believes, etc… and for.. to this day opposition parties are still perceived as remnants of elf/eplf.. divide..

    I am not sure Hitler and Issias comparison is really applicable. Of course, if he takes himself out like Hitler no one will be complaining..

    • belay nega February 16, 2013




      • belay nega February 16, 2013



  • jonah February 13, 2013

    i should add it is only a certain segment of diaspora that are true believers. There people in the diaspora that are only looking for a coherent and organized opposition with solid platform and decent leadership.. and not an alpha-bete soup of oppositions.
    Some in diaspora have no attention of returning to Eritrea..

  • stop backward politics February 13, 2013

    Wedi Keshi,
    Do you think all of YPFDJ, YEPLF in diaspora support the governement just because they have no knowledge about the conditions in Eritrea or just because they love to dance in festivas or just b/c thier parents have build house in Asmara ? think again brother . Don’t try to be a chavonist & don’t dehumanize Eritreans.
    Why the oppoitions continually accuse those supporters as selfish or as Agame or the like. In my thinking almost all YPFDJ in diaspora are true Eritreans but they have different view & eye glasses than the opositions. They might view Isias as either nationalistic, progressive &less evil than the woyane’s pappets who are still in identity politics minded who will try to mess the nation in to the poisionous identity politics or backward in to the third world politics of ethinic or religious loyalities which is not only unjtifable poitically, but it betrays our national unity by ignoring the fuure perile. Unless the oppositions purge the fake Bayto & its identity politicians ( such as Islamc parties, Kunama , Afar or similar narrow minded parties ), and replace them by non identity, non reigious, non tribal or ethinic parties , the struggle will be a dream & don’ expect to get more support for oppositions. For the matter offacts We all Eritreans are marginalized &victimized equally, no region or tribe get better treatment than others and therefore the identity politics in Eritrea is outdated or obsolete. It is not 1940s, 1950s or 1960s. Now we are in dfferent times, we need to rise up in the name of Eritrea, but not in the name of Christian, Islam, Kunama, Afara, Saho, Tigre ,Tigrigna or the like. I tell you unless we have few non identity & secular parties, no body will trust oppsitions who try to fight along these narrow minded woyne’s version parties. That s why the nationalistists choose better to stick with the govenment ( the lesser evil ) than the greater evil , woyane’s remnants. For guys like YPFDJ or YEPLF Woyane, US & woyane’s pupets are more evil than the regime. But as Eritreans they tuly feel what happen in the country, the refugee crsis in Sahara, Sina , Ethiopia or else, but they don’ blame the regime a a cause. They would try to blame US, Woyane , the oppositions. Those YPFDJ or similar suppoters are not ignorant or uneducated, but they look the causes in different perspective. If you think them as unnationalstic who just love to dance in PFDJ parties, it is absolutely false, they look even ultra natonalisic & ardent follower of Isias because they don’ believe Woyane & its god father.

    Unlike the identity politics believes believe HIGDEF is not ” mengesti nay tigriga or nay christian or nay hamassien or nay tigray or nay tembein ,…etc . Isias cares about his power only. No christian , tigirgna, or hamsien or no Tigraway in Eritre got better treatement ( or got extra bread or sugar ) than others. He treats , victimied & tortured everybody equally. That is why We don’t need parties with the name of Ethnicity & religion. Otherwise this folly of identity politics will bring another conflicts & blooshed. The oppositons should liquidate the Bayo & its constitutents , and reform parties again in the name of Eritrea only. Then only we will forward ,have trust each others & gain confidence of our people in home & diaspora, and could be powerful against the regime.

    The last but not least those fat ass old politicians who eat Woyane’s fetfet should either directy particpate in the armed struggle or stop to dream or quarrel for power before DIA leaving. ( ” Kemtia begi gena kaytegezet abey teeser elom zetbaesu sebayensebyetn aytekunu ). Stop to quarrel about the power with out paying blood. Instead you have to work daily how to connect with people in back home, and strategize how to remove the dictator than 30X seminar &congress bla bla.

    • Abdallah Abdu February 16, 2013

      Why are you looking for secularism elsewhere when you already have one in place, namely, the Popular Front?

  • stop backward politics February 13, 2013

    Except some members of opositons who spent thier life in diaspora, Sudan, Ethiopia , most of the new members of the oppostions have no sense of identity politcs. Especially those defected tegadelti or Hagerawi agelglot do’t think Eritrean political problem in the context of religion or tribe. Let’s say Had Sherifo, Derue, Petros, Jermano nati or Karikare could have speak about Eritreanpolitical problem, they woudn’t raise idntity issue as aprblem. They would only speak about freedom & democracy for Eritra as a whole. This is because they are strongly disciplined as nationalistic during the whole thier life, and they clearly know that in Eritea thier is no issue of tribal or religious favoritism. But the woyane’ version pliticians ( Bayto ) still think like that and quarrel about unimprtant issues.

    That is why even the defected tegadelti & ambssadors are not intersted to join those cheap opositions who speak about tribalsm or religon with the guidance of Woyae. Unless we liquidate those old timer identty politicians & parties, I don’ expect to get supporters from back home. We should purge or reformulate them uness they could and speak about Eritrea only. Like what they suspended DMLEK ( no matter the reason ) they should suspend those similar obsolete parties such as Afar, Eritran Jihad, Saho or other parties so that they get baptized with the name of Eritrea as a whole ( like ELF, EPLF, EPDP,Semir,.etc ). Secondly the new youngsters should lead the oppositon at any level. Third instead of 30X seminars, the parties should foster connection with the army, yongsters and elders in back home. Fourth encouraging the demonstration to be held infont of head quarter of internatinal agencies , mining companies and thier respective stock markets than just infront of the embassy of the regime.

    • mesfin February 15, 2013

      @stop backward politics – you are mis-informed badly. What do you say to the youth movement nowadays? Have you been to their conferences? Are their demands to do with localism or religion? The rising youth movement demands are implemantation of rule of law in Eritrea. Dude, there are so many people like you who dismiss the opposition before hand without any knowledge. The opposition is not perfect because it did not have the involvement of many Eritreans out of fear! Now more and more Eritreans are joining opposition and demanding freedom and change will come and good parties will develop. Stop critisizing and work towards change as supporting Isayas can never be an option. The longer Isayas stays the bigger the destruction!

      • Abdallah Abdu February 16, 2013

        The so-called youth movement has an awrajawi element in it and is widely believed that it is financed and organized by Woyane.

  • Semhar February 14, 2013

    2013 is the year for change in Eritrea.

    We must choose which style we should use to dismantle the tyrant dictator Isayas?

    We should get reed of the mad dog Isayas, his son and his blind followers just like the Libyans did to Gadafi his sons and his blind followers.

  • shawley February 14, 2013

    ሕና ኤርትራዊያን እንታይ’ዩ ዓንዚዙኩም! ባዕለይ ዶ ክመርሓኩም! ከም ሕዝቢ ዝዓንዘዘና ዋኒን ኣብ ብዙሐት ንፁሓት ዜጋታትናን ካልኦት ዜጋታት ሕዝብታት ዝፈጠርናዮ ግፍዕታትን ማእሰርቲን ደምን ካሕሳ ኢና ንከፍል ዘለና እዚ ንክቀለልና ንኣምላክ ንኣላህ) ፀሊና ንለምን ሓደራ ሓደራ የሕዋተይ ኣሓተይን
    In order to have changes in Eritrea what mandatory points to be considered are:
    1. We have to have an excusse to those who suffers by some evil Eritrean right after independence(specially Ethiopians who were resided in Eritrea) just for the sake of GOD, Not for the sake of yohana and banana and the fake freedom at all.
    2. We have to avoid any blame to weyane, external and Ethiopia. we have to admit the main problem is internal issue. Which creates the leaders for the last 50 years.
    3. We have appreciate and take experience of tolerance policy at all, in my assumption with the prevalnce of hidden issues in the heart of Ertreans I prefer to have FEDERAL system of governance, Because we know each other in order to resolve the case of Awraja, Jahad, etc which was created by Jebha, Alwahda and Shabia was not clear for the society at large
    4. we have to adopt our constitution by the approval of the society.
    5. we have to start normalization internal with all members of the society and also with opposition.
    5. The agreement with Ethiopian and Djibouti, Yemen international communities a is not unavoidable due the prevalence of blood relation, existing for the several years with the same system of governance and culture and economic relation. It is very difficult to live without them in island. We have to take the best and reject the worst thing thinking the tolerance specially with Ethiopian,
    6. the first and the most important thing is we have to respect the dignity of human-being from wherever.
    ውዲ ኤሬ

    • Abdallah Abdu February 16, 2013

      “Because we know each other in order to resolve the case of Awraja, Jahad, etc which was created by Jebha, Alwahda and Shabia was not clear for the society at large.”


      Alwahda? Are you an Ethiopian who is not well-informed about Eritrean affairs?

  • Eritrawi February 20, 2013

    Congratulations Eritrean Team!!
    You put your socks in mouth of jerk,Soulless Isaias. He has been bad- mouthing to you for a long time.