By Tesfa-Alem Tekle
April 28, 2014 (ADDIS ABABA) – Eritrean rebel group, the Red Sea Afar Democratic Organization (RSADO), alleged on Monday it had killed and wounded dozens of Eritrean government intelligence agents in an attack inside the reclusive East African nation.
The Ethiopia-based rebel group said that the strike was carried out at the military barracks of an intelligence unit based in the Northern Red Sea region in the vicinity of Alhan.
Ibrahim Haron, the leader of the rebel group, told Sudan Tribune that their “forces in the early hours of Saturday attacked the military camp and killed 27 intelligence agents and wounded many others belonging to the 15th sub-division intelligence unit”.
The rebel leader said his fighters took control of the military base for over eight hours following the attack, destroying the entire camp before leaving the area.
The group also claims to have captured various types of weapons.
There was no immediate comment from the government in Asmara and the claims cannot be independently verified.
He said there were some 70 government intelligence members inside the camp during the assault but he said none of them tried to engage the rebel fighters.
“They preferred to runaway than fight against [us]. This indicates how much the government army is weakening,” the rebels said.
Ibrahim said the latest assault was in retaliation to ethnic killings by Eritrean government agents targeting Afar minorities.
This is the rebel group’s first cross-border attack since 2012 when they killed 30 Eritrean soldiers in an attack at a military base in the Southern Red Sea region.
RSADO which is a member of the Eritrean Democratic Alliance (EDA), a coalition of 11 Eritrean political organisations, renewed its calls for other opposition members to join the armed struggle to topple president Isaias Afwerki’s regime.
After the 1998-2000 bloody border war between Eritrea and Ethiopia, Asmara considers Eritrea’s Afars as being aligned to Ethiopia and having links to fellow Afar tribes in Ethiopia.