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Exiled Eritrean rebel groups plan joint military attack against regime

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By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

September 7, 2013 (ADDIS ABABA) – Two Ethiopian-based Eritrean opposition groups have agreed to join forces to carry out military attacks against the dictatorial Asmara regime, an opposition official told Sudan Tribune on Saturday.

The agreement was reached after leaders of the Red Sea Afar Democratic Organisation (RSADO) and Saho Peoples Democratic Movement (SPDM) held a high-level meeting on Friday in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

“The two opposition groups have agreed to jointly carry out military attacks to topple the oppressive regime and to eventually place a new democratic rule that respects the rights of the Eritrean people”, RSADO spokesperson Nesredin Ali told Sudan Tribune.

According to the signed agreement, the two groups will jointly continue their struggle, cooperating on areas of military, security, diplomacy and other aspects.

Leaders of the two parties pledged to implement the series of agreements signed between the groups.

A joint committee, tasked with following up the agreement’s implementation, was also established.

The opposition official said the two sides believe joining their forces will help bring an end to the long-standing political repression suffered by the minority Afar and Saho people and which Ali says has escalated to the level of ethnic cleansing.

He also called on other Eritrean opposition groups to join the armed struggle.

“Our doors are open for other opposition groups, concerned bodies and the Eritrean people and the army itself to join the struggle against president Isaias [Afewerki ]-led rule”, Ali said.

The reclusive Red Sea nation has been led by Afewerki since it gained independence from Ethiopia in 1993 and has never had any legally recognised opposition parties.

The secretive regime has arrested thousands of dissidents, as well as ministers who spoke out in favour of political reform, with many languishing in Eritrean prison facilities.

Eritrea, which is also is referred as ‘Africa’s North Korea’, is ranked as one of the world’s most repressive nations by many international human rights groups.

(ST)

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