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Eritrea: Eid Prayer Celebrated Under Heavily Armed Guards

For the first time in remembered history, Eritrean Muslims performed Eid Al Fitr prayers under heavy military presence. Security forces had tightly surrounded several prayer fields and major mosques in the country where thousands of people congregated for the early morning Eid prayer.

In the capital city, Asmara, the security forces brought along a fire engine that they parked on the side of the street until the congregation dispersed after the conclusion of the prayer. Observers believe the water-gun equipped fire truck was brought as a precaution to fight possible demonstrations.

Usually, armed soldiers arrive at the prayer scene only as bodyguards accompanying senior officials, but this year, the people watched the intimidating armed presence encircling them. The presence of armed soldiers is an unprecedented practice that has become common since last year when Eritreans demonstrated against the government’s interference in the affairs of the AlDia’a private school in October 2017.

At the prayer of this year, mothers and neighbors accompanied to the prayer area many minors whose elder siblings or fathers are still in jail after the mass arrest at the funeral of Hajji Musa who died in jail last March.

Meanwhile, on Eid Day, Friday, June 15, 2018, Ethiopia pardoned 304 prisoners mostly arrested under the 2009 Anti-Terrorism Law it passed in 2009 to curb the spread of unrest in the country.

The pardon benefited many prisoners, some of whom were arrested several years ago while others were on death row.

The released also include Muslim activists and community leaders arrested after the Awlia School unrest that erupted in January 2012.

Since his election as prime minister of Ethiopia in April 2018, the government of Dr. Abiy Ahmed has emptied many prisons around the country releasing opposition members, journalist, and other political prisoners.

On June 4, 2018, Gedab News reported that “the release did not include individuals arrested after the Awalia school crisis of 2012.” The Awlia prisoners were among those released on Friday, June 15, 2018

Related Reading

Unrest in Asmara, US State Department Issues Warning (Oct. 31, 2017)
Ethiopia Reiterates Its Acceptance of The Boundary Ruling (June 5 , 2018
Close to a Thousand-People Arrested at Haji Musa’s Funeral
 (March 5, 2018)

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  • FishMilk

    Hi All. Another TPLF bites the dust. TPLF member Gebreyesus Gebregziabher, has been fired from his post as director of Ethiopia’s Federal Prison Administration. ‘And another one gone, and another one gone, Another one bites the dust, Hey, I’m gonna get you, too
    Another one bites the dust’.

  • Teodros Alem

    Selam lelom
    What is that u disagree from what i said? What a twisted.

  • AMAN

    I do not know why and can’t understand why Awote
    writes and reads history in its inverted way and wishes
    and likes it or to be like that. Does it like to live in an ideal
    and wishful feel good history and state of mind all the time.
    Check this one fallacy which the Awote people like to mention
    all the time but is fundamentally wrong.
    they say….
    ” The Amharas ruled Ethiopia…….”
    Amharas never ruled Ethiopia but only Abyssinia alternately
    with the Tigrayans in history before the fall out and breakdown
    of the Abyssinian state into two parts northern & southern lands.
    The country called Ethiopia is completely a different entity and
    different governing racial class entirely in history.
    Now why am I as an Eritrean supposed to hate the Amharas
    while they were not responsible and ruling Ethiopia in its modern
    But the Awotes expect me and have a teaching manual for every
    Eritrean to hate the Amhara and other ethnic Nations and thereby
    hate his own country and people and isolate himself from it & the
    Nation just accomplishing the teachings of “divide and rule” of the
    colonialists and colonial rulers who were enslaving them like that.

  • Nitricc

    HI All: just stopped by to get my fix and I see this Eritrean issue title and an Ethiopian prime mister picture. I mean, what have the two got to do with each other? I thought it was a mistake and I checked the posting date and it said two day ago. i.e. it is easy to assume that was deliberate; but why? what is the point? I hope you are not meaning what I am thinking. Strange!

  • Teodros Alem

    Selam all
    For all tplfist, i just want to say 2 things what pm AAA said in his speech,
    1, tplf was a terrorist.
    2, the ethiopian tex payers is the one have a right to decide if the statue sqo with eri-ethio to continue or not. In other word if tplf and co want the statue sqo to continue, they have to do it on thier own, not on the back of ethiopia.

    • Mitiku Melesse

      Ya, Alem.
      We have said this from the very beginning. Eritreans and Ethiopians the moment they hear such a peace proposal they already start contemplating what the future brings about, how they cross the border and do their family things or business.

      But the woyanes start thinking how to sabotage the peace and make business out of it. If it is peace also it must guarantee some advantage for tigrians. The same goes for shabia, The moment they hear the peace call they think like this. Oh, now it time to harass the Tigres by being friends with oromos. That was what they did against oromos in th e 90s. After they sacrificed thousands and thousands of oromos during the fight against derg but the moment they arrived addis ababa they disarmed the oromos and told them to get lost. There is some thing wrong with their political strategy. What is wrong with them. Forget what happened before 1991 for the time being and see the shrewd strategies they were performing in the name of Ethiopia and Eritrea.

      • Teodros Alem

        Selam mitiku
        The shrewd strategies is gone, it will never come back .it is time to win win strategies. Psychological adjustment needed hare for ur own sake.

  • AMAN

    Greetings again
    No ! Not at all !
    I certainly see some revisionism here.
    For better or worse that agenda had seen
    its day light under the previous PMHD leadership
    and administration.
    Now it is a whole lot different issue to me as I see things.

  • AMAN

    I am writing back again this
    Because I found some confusion and inconsistency at
    Awate opposition camp versus my party.
    There seems to be an unacknowledged theft going on in here
    regarding our past stands and actions with regard to our Nation
    of Eritrea.
    I see once more again the opposition is on the wrong page and
    taking the wrong road.
    It is misplacing its actions by using to today’s in yesterday’s place
    of realities committing another even worst mistake than the one in
    the past.
    I know it has gone into bankruptcy by categorizing our efforts and
    struggle as against the Nation while it was actually of course for the
    Nation… survive and succeed or lead…….but also made a futile
    attempt to steal or snatch the agenda once it saw working miracles.
    Thus what I want to know is does the opposition see the interest of
    Eritrea from the vantage of its their own personal interests or the Nation’s
    I feel like they are wrongly allying and positioning themselves once more
    again vis a vis Ethiopian political developments. I mean Eritrea’s political
    development is not free from the sway of Ethiopia’s political winds thus
    neither free nor independent………………………
    Should Abiy be blamed or rewarded for it by Eritrea ?
    I mean I do not see what Eritrea and Ethiopia are trying to get or benefit
    by extending the waiting game wasting their time ? I feel Abiy is there
    but his agenda was gone yesterday. I feel some backward motion.

    • Mitiku Melesse

      Hei, Aman.
      Do you consider the Awate Opposition camp has any significance concerning what is going on in Eritrea? Look a good at the events in Eritrea in the last 18 or so years and what impact has Awate opp. camp has done. Nothing. It is just like the Eritrean government Editorial. Nothing..If you mean i am wrong then tell me what could have been Eritreans in Eritrea missing if there was no Awate forum at all.

      But if you want to improve your English or have a problem with how to spend you leisure time then it would be a good place for Ethiopians and Eritreans with some interesting theme to ponder about.

  • Teodros Alem

    Selam abi
    Soccer is not the point, it is the song.
    U don’t sound important at all.
    U sound like lost low level cadra t koka.

  • AMAN

    Dear AwOte
    I would like to ask you this?
    Why is your site always against my fortune and my power.
    I built a Nation with all the people loved me and my rule but
    your Awate Nation attacks it and do not want to see it succeed.
    Your site is like , what is Ethiopia is to Eritrea, to me. Just like
    the woyanes do not want see IA leading a Nation you also do not
    want to see me leading my Nation eventhough the people want me
    to be the leader and have no problem with my agenda.
    I know what my Eritrean people want. The want a united and strong
    one Nation lead by a strong and determined leader. But you are
    against that because you do not want me to see leading but you
    want to take the leadership away .
    Why do you have always to be against the wishes and the just struggle
    of my people to be an indivisible one country Eritrea. You always fear
    my Eritrea and its people thus you always divide them into two halves.
    I need to know your reply and why ?????

  • Teodros Alem

    Selam abi
    Where u from? U exposing urself again and again.

  • saay7


    Is that a rework of Tilahun, Mahmud or another opera singer? Check this out from Hamelmal Abate (album: እርሳኝ song: ምስጋና):

    አሳቤ ያው ሞላልኝ
    ውጥኔም ተሳካልኝ
    ስጦታህ ዶብ የለውም
    ስራህን ላመስግነው

    She was singing about God but our godless friends can substitute for it anyone they love for it 🙂

    So where were you when Mexico beat Germany? I missed my chance to be at a Mexican restaurant dammit.


    • Abi

      Hi Saay
      I know you are not initiated to appreciate a great song like the one I generosity quoted.
      ይህ ይሁን እያልኩኝ ስመኝ ስመኝ
      ያሰብኩት ተሳካ በጣም ደስ አለኝ
      Continued Tilahun Gessesse

      I was eating tacos and drinking corona at Mexico City when 🇲🇽 beat 🇩🇪. ( just kidding )
      It was a great game with a great result. It costed me some money because I took the boys out for burritos at chipotle.
      I don’t know if you remember when Bulgaria beat Germany (2-1) in 1994 World Cup. How about the 1982 (Spain)World Cup final ? Italy beat Germany 1-0.
      Bulgaria 🇧🇬
      Italy 🇮🇹
      Mexico 🇲🇽
      Look at the similarities of the flags that beat Germany.
      Very creepy if you ask me.
      I think I’m bored. No?
      I’m missing Rodab and Ermiyas . We had a great time four years ago.

      • saay7


        Well, u know how I feel about Tilahun and Mahmud. They are like Pati Labelle or Um Kalthum. Some can take that melodrama and some can’t. (Their managers should give them towel-size handkerchiefs for all that sweating)

        You should watch my interview of Saleh G, the most anti-sports (actually, sports-indifferent) person I know. He watched the Portugal Spain game and he couldn’t tell me who won or name a single player from either team. Well, he said Roberto DeNero.


        • Abi

          Hi Saay
          You looking for fight now?
          ጥላሁን =ጥል አሁን
          You are not telling me the person in question sat for 90 minutes watching the game!
          That is cruel and inhuman punishment for a person with a “soft heart” for sports.
          I’m sure he was fainting at the end when he said Roberto De…
          You are responsible.
          Where do I find the interview? Is it in the language I understand without a translator?

          • Teodros Alem

            Selam abi
            Fallacy is the sign of twistedness.
            Tilahun means be cover(protector). U see why i said what i said, u don’t sound….

          • Abi

            Hi Teodros
            Sorry I’m still busy. This time listening to music by Baha Men “Who let the dogs out “.Please do not disturb.
            Wait for your turn outside.

          • Teodros Alem

            Selam abi
            That is old music, don’t u know anything better.
            Am listening linkin ” in the end ” i try hard and got so far but in the end , it doesn’t really matter.
            So sad

          • Abi

            Hi TA
            You keep reminding me this old song.
            Yeqenyeley . Now if you don’t mind I need to close the door. Good night.

          • Teodros Alem

            Selam abi
            I know it doesn’t go with ur wekro lifestyle but i like the part of the lyrics, keep listening “beloved” kiros . the same feather fly …..

          • Abi

            Hi TA
            Who let you in? I thought I closed the door last night. Looks like you used the dog opening as usual.
            Let me go back to listening to my favorite Tigrinya song by the legendary Kiros Alemayehu (RIP)
            አንጓይ ፍስስ …

          • Teodros Alem

            Selam abi
            u dog let me in.
            Enjoy kiros, like i said the same feather …remained ur childhood memories in tigrai.

  • Nitricc

    Hi Abi, hahaha, here is an Ethiopian guy told me in Europe last month. LOl

    “ሴቶቹበዙና ድንኳን ጠበባቸው፣

    ወደ ጓሮ ወስዶ በዳስ ቢያደርጓቸው።”

  • Selamat GN,

    Typo: “…on July 4th, 2018…” If you are in fact writing this from the future, who won the World Cup? Is it true Panama won it all in Russia?


  • Mez

    Dear Hope,
    1) a shameful statement of yours above.

    2) the awate gedab news would have been more informative if there were a paragraph or two regarding PM-AAA visit to Somalia–not just the photomontage from Mogadishu.


  • Mitiku Melesse

    Hei, Hope.
    You love to switch the story to Ethiopia. Nothing interesting in Eritrea. I agree with you on one thing. Compared to what what has been going on in Ethiopia for the last 27 years it is too boring to hear in one of Africa’s iron fist ruled country to hear that there were armed forces were seen on public holly day where thousands people celebrate their religious day. The news shows only that Awate exaggerates what is going on Eritrea because after 27 years of peaceful coexistence of the IA regime and the mass no miracle happens whether there are armed forces in the crowed or not.

    • Natom Habom

      selam Mitiku Melesse
      he love to switch the story to Ethiopia is because there is no such think in
      Eritrea ,tplf worshiper fantasize every day the end of our country ,those are sick peoples unfortunatly lying become something normale , never seeing hostily against their own country just to please tplf and it s master for a hope in case tplf try a new adventure
      and win against Eritrea they will serve as vassal .
      just dont learn tplf lost its teeth ,it leg ,and cracked into many since it last adventure
      to hope to instigate civil uprising will be a failure Eritrean are aware of
      woyane worshiper.