Mr Fitwi Gezae, who was the webmaster of the US embassy in Eritrea and Mr Biniam Girmay, who was its Facility Management Assistant, were detained by Eritrean security officials.
Fitwi Gezae, who had served in the Eritrean Defense Forces and was demobilized in 2005 has been with the US embassy since 1997. Biniam Girmay, 35, also served with the EDF. He is married with four children.
The Eritrean government has provided no reason for their arrest.
Contacted by phone, the US Embassy attaché informed Gedab News that “something like that happened but I cannot confirm the names because I didn’t work with them.”
In 2001, the Eritrean government had arrested two US Embassy employees. The two employees, Mr Ali Alamin and Mr Kiflom Gebremichael have not been officially charged with any crimes but they were rumored to have translated for the embassy the documents of Eritrean opposition groups.
The arrest of Ali Alamin and Kiflom Gebremichael has soured relations between the US State Department and Eritrea with the former calling for their presentation to a court of law and the latter accusing the US, particularly the CIA, of trying to overthrow the Eritrean government. The Eritrean government has engaged two American lobbying/PR firms to improve its image and strengthen its relations with the US. Its arrest of US embassy employees and its treatment of religious minorities continue to undermine its expensive lobbying campaigns.