On Tuesday afternoon there was another attack on a journalist in the London area. This time the target was Amanuel Eyasu, the founder and editor of Assena TV.
The incident bore a striking resemblance to the attack on the journalist Martin Plaut in November 2018. Then a man who called himself Jacob Ghebremeohin posed as an Eritrean with information from home, arranged a meeting at the British Library before flinging a basin of milk, flour and eggs over Martin. Jacob Ghebremeohin was found guilty of assault, fined and bound over, for the attack.
Yesterday’s attack on was allegedly also carried out by Jacob (or Yakob) Ghebremeohin.
Amanuel Eyasu says he was contacted by a woman who said she had come from Eritrea and wanted to share information with him. They arranged to meet at Putney Bridge Station at 2.30.
When Amanuel arrived he found a group of four or five men and one woman onlooker. They tried to corner him and to throw liquid over him, but he retreated towards the station, where the incident was captured on CCTV.
Some of the liquid went over his trousers, but most missed its target. There followed a fracas during which Amanuel defended himself, but received kicks to his legs.
Most of the assailants ran away, but one man – allegedly Jacob Ghebremeohin – was detained until the police arrived, when he was arrested. Amanuel, who gave the police a statement, refering to the prior attack on Martin Plaut, was not seriously injured, although he is bruised and his clothing has been damaged.
On hearing of the personal attack on Amanuel, the Chairman of Assenna Foundation, Habte Hagos said:
“I am shocked and appalled that such an attack has again happened in broad daylight on the streets of London by PFDJ sympathisers. This is an unprovoked and cowardly act, and I commend the British police for their swift act in apprehending one of the attackers. The others have been captured on CCTV cameras and I am sure they will be in handcuffs before too long.
Unlike our fellow citizens in Eritrea, we live in a country where the rule of law is paramount and that no one can go around attacking people in the manner these brainwashed thugs have done without being punished.
Amanuel has tirelessly worked for his country, putting in as much as 20 hours 24/7 to expose the suffering inflicted on the Eritrean people by Isaias and his handful cliques over many years. Amanuel’s achievement in this regard is second to none and he is hugely admired by many peace loving and nationalist Eritreans across the world.
Like the cowards who attacked him, Amanuel could have kept his silence but he chose to speak out on behalf of his people. Only fools or people with interest can stand outside and clap their hands whilst an arsonists burns down their home – any ordinary person would of course try to stop them by all means.
Destruction is precisely what Isaias and his cliques are doing to our beloved country for which so much blood was sacrificed to liberate. These people do not care about the huge number of young Eritreans that perish in the desert and at sea to escape torture, enslavement and to simply live an ordinary life; to get education, to work and to start a family.
Rights denied to them by the unelected ruler in Asmara who childishly trivialise their suffering by asking “Who told them to go?”. Isaias and his clique do not care about the Eritrean people. All they care about is ensuring, in anyway they can, for the world to remain ignorant of their crimes. This is why they attack justice seekers such as Amanuel.
This cowardly attack on Amanuel will not stop the excellent work he does and has been doing for a long time. The Assenna Foundation Board is committed to supportin him in that endeavour. Lawyers have been informed of the brutal attack yesterday and Assenna Foundation Board will take all necessary action to bring the perpetrators to justice.
We will fight injustice with justice. Our martyrs gave their lives in order we Eritreans can live in our homeland under the rule of law – free from oppression and fear. To build a country where every Eritrean wishes to live in rather than flee from. Freedom is not free as we know it from our bitter history. Time to remain silent whilst our own people are tortured day in and day out is long gone – indeed silence is now complicit to the crimes being committed by Isaias.
We must peacefully fight to save our people and the very fabric of Eritrean society which Isaias is hellbent to destroy. Our martyrs expect no less of us. May they rest in peace.
Amanuel Eyasu holds MA in Journalism and MA in Information Management. Amanuel has worked as a head teacher, journalist and as the head of Eritrean News Agency, Asmara and Environs. He also worked as a Broadcast Media Coordinator with the BBC. As a journalist, Amanuel covered closed sessions of the Eritrean Cabinet for many years. He has interviewed senior politicians, including Isaias Afewerki and the late Ethiopian PM Meles Zenawi. Amanuel is the founder of Assenna Foundation and current editor of assenna.com and Radio Assenna.