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Eritrean rebels kill 7 intelligence agents

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By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

December 22, 2014 (ADDIS ABABA) – Two Eritrean rebel groups on Monday said they have killed 7 Eritrean intelligence agents in an attack they jointly carried out on a military camp in the southern part of the country.

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Eritrea, which borders Sudan and Ethiopia, has been dubbed the North Korea of Africa (HRW)

The rebel groups - the Red Sea Afar Democratic Organization (RSADO) and the Democratic Front for Eritrean Unity (DFEU) - said the coordinated attack was carried out in the early hours of Monday at a military barrack of an intelligence unit based at Adi-Kala zone of Maigini locality.

“The joint fighters carried out the attacks at 5 am Monday morning...at least 7 Eritrean military intelligence officers were killed and more than 15 others wounded,” RSADO leader Ibrahim Haron, told Sudan Tribune.

After the attack remaining Eritrean soldiers who he said were members of the 53rd sub-division went in disarray.

“A number of weapons and military intelligence were also seized,” he said, adding the fighters have safely returned to their base.

There was no immediate comment from the government in Asmara and the attack claims could not independently be verified.

Asmara has in the past repeatedly denied such reports of attacks.

Haron said the latest ambush was in retaliation to killings by Eritrean government against innocent citizens particularly against ethnic Afar minorities.

The two rebel groups further vowed to intensify joint attacks in the year 2015 and called on all other opposition forces to join the armed struggle to overthrow president Isaias Afwerki’s regime.

RSADO and DFEU are members a larger opposition coalition known as Eritrean Democratic Alliance (EDA).

Based in neighboring Ethiopia, EDA is an umbrella of 12 Eritrean opposition political organisations.

DIGITALISED ID CARDS

The Eritrean government has recently announced that nation is preparing to issue new citizenship identification cards for what the red sea nation says was to improve national security.

Eritrean government alleges thousands of African migrants most Ethiopians are using forged identification cards pretending to be Eritreans in order to secure Asylum in western countries.

Eritrean authorities say the new digitalised identification cards aim to stop such forging however rebels say the move was politically motivated.

“The government is issuing new ID cards only to its supporters. The plan is to deny issuing the new ID cards to those citizens suspected to be opponents or opposition supporters and there by subject them to prosecution by falsely accusing them as illegal aliens or spies,” said Haron.

He added the new plan was also designed to systematically force citizens to exile and turn the nation in to a home of only pro-government citizens.

FOREIGN COMPANY

The Eritrean rebel groups have also called on South Boulder Mines Ltd., an Australian mining company to stop its operation inside the country.

The mines company is currently undergoing a feasibility study over 400 sq. km at Colluli area in the Danakil Depression, South East part of the Red Sea nation.

Colluli potash deposit is estimated to have more than one billion tones of potassium Sulfate deposits that would enable production of potash fertilizers.

Up on completion, the project has a potential to produce up to $ 500 million worth of potash annually.

Haron however argues the “dictatorial regime’ will use the revenue of export to further oppress its citizens and to finance terrorist entities.

“Previously the regime has used revenues gained from gold mining to support Al shabab terrorists,” and destabilize regional stability he further said.

According to the rebels the government is also using forced labor at the project.

The reclusive east African nation accused of providing funds and weapons to Al-Qaida allied Islamist insurgents in Somalia.

As a result, the UN Security Council slapped sanctions on Eritrea In 2010.

(ST)

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