Home | News    Tuesday 18 August 2009

Eritrean president barely escapes assassination attempt - report


By Tesfa-alem tekle

Aug 17, 2009 (ADDIS ABABA) — The Eritrean President, Issayas Afewerki narrowly survives an assassination attempt at the outskirts of the capital, Asmara. An exiled opposition website claims.

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Isayas Afewerki

The UK-based website, Asena-online.com said that the attempt on the life of President Issayas Afeworki was carried out by members of the Eritrean Defense forces on 13th of August 2009 around 4 pm (local time) on the road between Asmara and the port city of Massawa at a local area called Atal.

In the failed assassination attempt, the president barely escaped death, it said.

The man who tried to kill the president, recognized as former freedom fighter and first lieutenant Daniel Habte Yihdego, after an exchange of fire with president’s personal body guards, was shot to death, it added.

The president’s vehicle is said to have been damaged with several sniper shots but no harm is reported up on the president or members of his convoy.

Sources of the website from Asmara indicated that, the president is in a state of shock and panic, following the attempt on his life.

Eritrean opposition groups in Addis Ababa told Sudan Tribune that the assassination attempt is an indication of a beginning to an end of an almost two decades-long dictatorship in Eritrea.

The oppositions believe that unless the president steps-down, time will witness more assassination attempts, for the fact that even president’s most loyalisrs have sided to refrain backing his orders as are based on ill policies.

Opponents added that such assassination attempts or military measures will remain to be the only and only means for the peoples of Eritrea to depose the rouge regime for once and for all.

In less than two decades of independence, the government of President Isayas Afewerki has established a totalitarian grip on Eritrea. Increasing numbers of citizens are fleeing oppression and seeking refuge in neighboring countries and beyond.

According to recent Human rights watch annual report, President Isayas’s government controls all levers of power: political, economic, social, journalistic, and religious. A constitution approved by referendum in 1997 remains unimplemented.

No national election has ever been held, and an interim parliament has not met since 2002. The judiciary exists only as an instrument of control. The press is entirely government-owned. No private civil society organizations are sanctioned; all are arms of the government or the sole political party, the People’s Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ). International human rights organizations are denied entry.

Isayas uses Ethiopia’s failure to permit demarcation of the border with Eritrea as the excuse to justify his repressive rule, claiming that the country must remain on a war footing, opponents said.

In 2008 he said that elections will not be held for decades because they polarize society "vertically." He declared he will remain in full control until Eritrea is secure, "as long as it takes."

Under a 1995 decree, all men between ages 18 and 50, and women between 18 and 27, must serve 18 months of military service. In fact, men serve indefinitely and boys under 18 years of age increasingly report being conscripted.

In 2008 the World Bank estimated that 320,000 Eritreans are in the military. Conscripts are used as labor on infrastructure and projects benefiting military commanders. Working conditions are severe.

Dozens of conscripts have died from intense heat, malnutrition, and lack of medical care; female conscripts are often victims of rape.

Eritreans flee the country by the thousands despite "shoot-to-kill" orders for anyone caught crossing the border. In Ethiopia alone over 35,ooo Eritrean refugees are sheltered in 3 camps.

In 2008, President Isayas claimed that international reports of increasing Eritrean refugees are deliberate distortions and that defections are caused by an "orchestrated, organized operation financed by the CIA."


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  • 18 August 2009 05:27, by mayiik Albino.

    thank God to the president of Eritrean Issayas Afewerki for the assassination attemp God knew who is right otherwis it was big disater to all of us The Eritrean And We a Southern sudanese as Well ,the War The has Fought For To decad is too enought to them let it not a happen a gain such lame excuse GOD THANK

    repondre message

  • 18 August 2009 07:03, by Samson Shawel Ambaye

    God be with Defense forces for an assassination attempt against devilish former gorilla fighter.

    repondre message

    • 18 August 2009 09:28, by wani

      mr shawel i dont know what type of human being you are who believe in assasinations of heads of government. attempts on the president’s life may not have been the view of majority eritreans but devils like you who knows no appreciation. imagine such assasinations were to be done in south sudan you know what it will bring,another somali type of recklessness.
      am sure such confused leutenants have been approached by western capitalists and imperialists, if eritreans want change many of them would be fighting as rebels rather than be bribed to commit sucide in the names of assasinations

      please think twice before supporting any assasination on any president even omar bashir the well known devil is comfortable enjoying life why disturb afwerki.

      repondre message

      • 18 August 2009 10:46, by Marnhial

        Thanks to almighty God for his protection to the Eritrean President. Despite being a dictator, assessination is not a solution because it would have resulted to death of thousands Eritrean Children, Women and many other vulnerable groups.

        President Isayas should now watch out carefully because that is a serious warning and it indeed indicate that something is not healthy in his leadership.

        Though this man has been fueling tensions between NCP and SPLM in some indirect ways, it will be our prayers as South Sudanese that God will protect his life. We don’t need our neighbors to suffer or die like what we experience in Sudan.

        repondre message

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