BY TESFA-ALEM TEKLE,
Addis Ababa — Agents of the Eritrean National Security have massacred a group of Eritrean Navy members after accusing them of planning to escape on speed boats to neighbouring Yemen, Ethiopia based Eritrean rebel group alleged on Saturday.
“Government agents’ murdered 80 members of the Eritrean Navy on a broad day light in public in Northern red sea region of Bardoli vicinity”, leader of the rebel Red Sea Afar Democratic Organization (RSADO), Ibrahim Haron told Sudan Tribune.
Haron said the victims are all ethnic Afar minority and their burial ceremony was held on Friday.
The rebel official said the killings were a state-sponsored mass murder and politically motivated.
“The Navy and the brutal Eritrean government in particular are responsible for the mass murders”, he said.
Citing to inside sources, Haron claimed that colonel Wedi Halima was the military official who ordered the mass killings.
Eritrean naval members several times fled in the past their country in groups to Yemen in protest to the regime’s worsening repression but the latest failed attempt saw the biggest in numbers of defecting army members.
The reclusive Red Sea nation considers any citizen who tries to flee as traitor constituting a punishment of a lengthy jail terms or death penalty.
The punishment severs if deserters are members of the Army.
“We call up on the international community to urgently intervene over the ethnic cleansing against innocent Eritrean Afars who are being slaughtered on daily bases by the dictatorial regime”, he said.
The rebel official vow to carry out military actions in retaliation to the mass murders and called upon all other political organization to join struggle against regime in Asmara.
Eritrean ethnic Afars repeatedly allege of being subjected to persecution, imprisonment, torture or death by the Eritrean security service in accusation of having links with the rebel group in Ethiopia.
Eritrea gained independence from Ethiopia in 1993 after 31 years of revolutionary movement however since had been a one-party state ruled by President Isaias Afwerki and his Popular Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ) party.
International human rights organizations say that Eritrea stands amongst world’s top worst human rights and press freedom records. The regime is also accused of turning the country into a “giant prison”.
Reports indicate that currently there are up to 10,000 political prisoners languishing in the country’s harsh and secret detention centres including in shipping containers.
Eritreans on daily basis flee to neighbouring countries in protest to political repression or to escape an indefinite military service which is mandatory to all citizens aged between 18 and 50.
In Ethiopia alone, there are some 80,000 Eritrean refugees.