Another coup in Africa: Eritrea possibly taken over by army

Another coup in Africa: Eritrea possibly taken over by army

Āsmara : Eritrea | Jan 21, 2013 at 8:48 AM PST
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After the coup in Mali in West Africa, apparently, another country in the Horn of Africa is facing the threat of a military coup.

According to Reuters, a group of Eritrean soldiers Monday laid siege to the information ministry and forced the state media to declare a call for the release of political prisoners.

So far there is no information if the siege by the army is an attempt to topple the Eritrean government, single-handedly ruled by 66-year-old Isaias Afewerki since two decades after it broke away from its bigger neighbour Ethiopia in 1993.

According to reports, the rebel soldiers forced the director of state television to seek the release all political prisoners. Apparently, the state television and radio had gone off air and dozens of soldiers with two tanks have surrounded the ministry building in Asmara, the capital of Eritrea.

Human Rights activists consider Eritrea as one of the most repressive and closed countries. According to an estimate by the United Nations, the ruling People's Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ) party led by Afewerki is holding 5,000-10,000 political prisoners in the secretive nation.

Apparently, the relation between the government and the soldiers has soured with worsening economic crisis and the move is seen as a possible coup. A statement has been read out on the state television and radio seeking for the establishment of the country's 1997 constitution.

UK Foreign Office has reported that there has been some unusual military movements in and around Asmara and noted that the local radio and TV are off air.

Sources: Al Jazeera / BBC / Arab News

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Old Railway In Asmara, Eritrea
Old Railway In Asmara, Eritrea
From: Eric Lafforgue
aymaan30 is based in New Delhi, Delhi, India, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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