Afar with camels in the Danakil depression – Ansa
For two months 300,000 people have been living under siege in the former Danakil by the Eritrean regime that is using the Covid quarantine to settle old accounts. The region is isolated, shops closed, patients out of healthcare facilities, food supplies cut, fishing and sheep farming are banned. Abnormal measures to prevent the spread of the virus. In Africa, according to the African Union, a total of 162,673 confirmed cases and 4,601 people died from the infection. In Eritrea there were only 40 contagions and on May 24, Independence Day, the regime said it had defeated evil. No dancal data are known, yet the grip has not come loose.
In the sights of Isaias Afewerki are the Afar, a minority who lives between the southern coasts of the Red Sea, near Djibouti and facing Yemen, and the Danakil depression , one of the hottest and most inhospitable areas on the planet shared with Ethiopia and rich in minerals not yet exploited. 30-year-old Halima Mohammed died here in the Badda crater area on Sunday. The pregnant woman passed away bleeding on Sunday 31 May for a miscarriage with the fetus, alone and without medical assistance. Many other women and children may have died of starvation and disease in the silence of this area without connections and where only 20% have water and electricity.. Certainly many heads of families have ended up in the infamous Eritrean galleys for trying to feed their families. The complaint started with the #savedankalia social campaign launched by activists from the Rsahro, human rights organization of the Red Sea Region (so the regime renamed Danakil 20 years ago) . Activists, mostly refugees abroad, accused in an interview with Radio France International the regime of carrying out an attempt at ethnic cleansing against a population starved to death and deprived of treatment under the pretext of Covid. The Afar – very poor people who live by fishing on the coast and pastoralism in the interior, where the temperature reaches 55 degrees – as confirmed by the reports of two special UN human rights rapporteurs, are targeted by the army with assaults, rapes and arbitrary arrests for years. Now their legendary resilience is put to the test.
“My people – says Ibrahim Ahmed, spokesman for Rsahro – about 300 thousand people, traditionally living on fishing, sheep farming and exploiting the salt mines transported by camels. For years, the government has been hindering the economy and missing food and medicine, but since April 2 it has sealed the borders with Ethiopia and Djibouti without providing for survival measures. A siege that risks killing many for hunger ».
The list of human rights violations is detailed. In early April, Afar community leaders warned the authorities of the risk of hunger due to the depletion of food supplies. The bakeries were closed and at the end of the month the government barred the doors of the hospital of the port of Assab and the health facilities in response, sending sick and pregnant women home. Nobody has seen gloves and masks.
Then the war on supply started. The authorities of Assab have rejected the offer of food aid to the population sent by the sailors of the United Arab Emirates, to whom Asmara has rented a port base. They then arrested dozens of desperate fishermen in mid and late May who took the sea to feed families by kidnapping their boats. There is no news of them. There were also numerous seizures of food transported from Djibouti and Ethiopia by the caravans of the camel drivers, all arrested. The Afar to the extreme ask the Asmarino government to lift the siege. And to neighboring states and humanitarian organizations to intervene urgently to save Danakil from hunger. What is the reason for such hostility?
For Ibrahim“The government wants to move them from a strategic area, from the coast and from the Dahlak Islands where settlements have been granted to Iranians and the United Arab Emirates and from the rich inland subsoil to exploit it”. The nationalist regime with the obsession of control does not tolerate this minority which condemned to starve under the veil of Covid-19.