Eighteen Eritrean mutineers interned in a refugee camp in Afar
Source: Africa Intelligence
On 16 June, 18 mutineers from the Eritrean Defence Forces (EDF) were presented to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs (ARRA) in Semera, the capital of the Afar region. They were transferred to Asaita refugee camp, 55km south-east of Semera.
The 18 were part of a group of 52 soldiers involved in a mutiny at the end of May in the 67th EDF division based in Badda, Eritrea, 25km from the Ethiopian region of Tigray, and less than 15km from the border with the Ethiopian Afar regional state (ARS). They had crossed the border with the ARS and taken up position at Badda Admurug in Dallol district. The soldiers had taken up arms and mutinied as a result of Eritrean military leaders’ decision to prohibit Muslim soldiers from observing prayer.
Karikare, a favoured interlocutor
Eritrean Afar elders were sent to attempt to talk with them, and to try to make them reconsider their decision, but this move was in vain. On 2 June, Asmara finally sent Major General Houmed Mohamed Ahmed, known as “Karikare“, himself an Afar, accompanied by two officers to the mutineers. The latter reportedly promised the soldiers that the issue of prayer would be reviewed and that no proceedings would be taken against the mutinous soldiers. Thirty-four of them agreed to return to Eritrea.
The remaining 18 were apprehended, with Karikare’s agreement, by local militas and taken to Semera. Karikare, the highest-ranking Afar in the Eritrean security organisation, is the privileged interlocutor of the LRA authorities in Semera, and makes frequent trips to the region (AI, 08/04/22).