Home | News    Wednesday 8 December 2010

Ethiopia: Eritrean refugees rally in protest of "genocide"

By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

December 7, 2010 (ASAYTA, ETHIOPIA) – Thousands of exiled Eritrean Afar nationals in Ethiopia staged a demonstration on Tuesday in protest to what they said was the “genocidal policy” of the Eritrean government against the Afar ethnic minority group.

The rally was organized by a civic organization, Eritrean Afar Relief Association and Eritrean Afar refugee’s Youth Association.

Around 9,000 demonstrators drawn from all walks of life ranging from children to elderly persons gathered to chant slogans in Asayta and Berahle towns of Afar region in neighboring Ethiopia.

In a joint statement, the refuges in strongest terms condemned what they described the ongoing “ethnic cleansing” targeted particularly against the Afar ethnic minority and peace loving Eritreans in general.

The Afar demonstrators vowed to increase their armed struggle until self-determination up and secession is maintained in the Red Sea nation. They called on all Eritrean opposition forces and all concerned Eritreans to unite against President Issayas Afeworki’s government.

Yasin Abedella, spokesperson of Red Sea Afar Democratic Organization (RSADO) told Sudan Tribune that the demonstration was in remembrance of Eritrean Afars who had been killed or disappeared by government and to increase awareness of their movement.

“About 1,000 innocent Eritrean Afar nationals had been murdered by the Eritrean government agents, many others were made to disappear in past years”, he said.

“The Eritrean regime has intensified the mass slaying with hundreds of Afars still remain held in secret detention centers treated in extremely harsh condition.”

The rebel official called on the international community to clearly stand against, what he described as a “genocide”. by intervening on the situation and launch a probe on to it.

Last night, the Eritrean refugees lit candles to commemorate victims in their refugee camps near the Eritrean border. There are currently about 24,000 Eritrean Afar refugees in Ethiopia, said Yasin.

Eritrea and Ethiopia fought a 1998-2000 full-scale border war which claimed the lives of over 70,000 people. Formerly a province of Ethiopia, Eritrean became independent in 1991.

(ST)