By the Eritrean Afar National Congress
On 3 June 2022, the Eritrean Afar National Congress issued a statement to say that 500 Eritrean Afar troops had defected from the Eritrean army, and that three Eritrean generals had been sent to capture them, and repatriate them back to the country.
On arriving in Bada-Admorug in Ethiopia on board two helicopters, the three generals, including Naval Officer Humad Karikare, met 54 of the troops who had crossed into Ethiopian territory. We have been told that 36 of them were forcibly returned to Eritrea. The whereabouts of the remaining 18 troops could not be confirmed. But our source on the ground added that these troops are in serious danger of being kidnapped – or worse – by the regime in Asmara.
There is also concern that the Eritrean army’s successful forcible repatriation of 36 defectors may embolden the regime into further cross-border kidnappings in Afar and elsewhere.
The Afar regional state in Ethiopia is home to over 50,000 UN registered Eritrean Afar refugees who fled from their homeland. In the recent Ethiopia-Tigray war, the Eritrean refugee camp in Barahle was destroyed, leaving thousands of refugees internally displaced.
The Eritrean Afar National Congress appeals to the UN and the international community to intervene to save the lives of the 18 troops still in Ethiopia, and the others who are in hiding, along the Eritrean border with Ethiopia.
05 June 2021