Eritrea: Round-ups increase as youths refuse to go to national service

Source: BBC Tigrinya Service
A new wave of round-ups of youth, so called ‘Giffas’, is under way in Eritrea.

The round-ups are organised to take young Eritreans to Sawa for national service training.

According to information reaching the BBC Tigrinya Service, the round-ups started on 15, 16 and 17 July, and are particularly focused on the Western Lowlands area.

The round-ups in Hagaz – South of  Keren – were reported to be particularly intense. Reports of Giffas are also coming from Asmara and the Debub-region. 

September is usually the month for that Eritrean  youth  are required  to report for national service training  and completion of high school in Sawa, but, despite warnings by local administrations of consequences to their families as a result of failure to report for national service,  the  youth is increasingly unwilling to do so.

Recently, Ethiopian authorities confirmed that 250-300 Eritreans continue to register in Ethiopian refugee camps every day, an estimated 30-50% of whom flee directly from the national service.

The Eritrean Government continues to affirm the value and necessity of the National Service and is preparing to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Sawa.

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