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Team Eritrea Granted Political Asylum In Uganda

(picture courtesy of BBC) The 15 Eritrean football players who had asked for political asylum in Uganda in December following their losing match to Rwanda have been granted political asylum, according to BBC.

Of the 15 (including the team doctor) who were granted asylum, 2 returned to Eritrea, adds the report.

This is the latest in a series of defections that have rocked Eritrean sports.

Since 2006, the “Red Sea Boys” have been seeking asylum in the countries hosting their matches.  These include Kenya (2006), Tanzania (2007), Angola  (2007), and even Sudan (2009).

Instead of dealing with the underlying causes for the brain drain, the Eritrean regime has tried stop-gap measures which have not worked.  One of the policies which it required to discourage defections is a demand that each athlete post a bond for 100,000 Nackfa, a steep amount in a country where the average monthly salary is about 300 Nackfas.

Still, that has not deterred the athletes from seeking asylum in foreign countries.

Last year, Weynay Ghebresilasie, an athlete who was carrying the Eritrean flag at the 2012 Olympics, sought asylum in the United Kingdom and is now training to run for his host country.

The Eritrean regime has blamed the West for making it easy for asylum-seekers to abandon Eritrea, completely disregarding the fact that it is its own draconian policies that are emptying out the country of its most productive population.
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  • Yes yes

    U did great let every body escape from z mouth of a crocodail essu beli seb

  • Alex

    I have noticed many of you dismiss the skills of the players.

    Others compare Kampala to Asmara.

    I think what you have not noticed is that ANY country from where people DEFECT is, because of the very nature of that fact, on a downward spiral.

    Denying this will not change it. Only by asking real questions about why these and countless other young Eritreans are willing to risk everything to leave their home.

    Respect to the Eritrean people and its aspirations

  • Tamrat Tamrat

    Reaching No turning point

    Eritrea has sent a complaint to the UN Security Council complaining about Egyptian security’s shoot-to-kill policy of Eritrean refugees attempting to cross illegally Egyptian borders into Israel, diplomatic sources in New York tell Ahram Online.

    When a government considers its People as commodities and accusing others for shoot-to-kill of its People who in the first Place escaped the shoot-to-kill policy of their government then the shabian government reaches its no-turning-point. The eritrean government shoot-to-kill policy sky tocketed the price for leaving Eritrea where by the governmnent is directly the beneficiary on this horrible transaction. After they have left their country still isayas expects them to Reach israel and what ever they go through he expects them to send the hard currency he Depends on. So he has to accuse Egyptian authority to give order the islamist in Sinay desert as if the islamists stopped his convoy of export to isreal.

    Most of the eritreans stranded in Sinay are youngsters who paid their national services free, pay inermous amount to be smuggled out to the very People who want their free Labour force for ever, and finally when they Reach their Destiny they must send Money to their Family where the government its shares in the form of hard currency. 17-18 years ago this was unthinkable even for the pfdj leaders. But now they reached to thier no turning Points there is no limit With what they can do or say. After all when isayas used to fly to Egypt frequently while hosny mubared was the king, the issue of eritreans in Sinay was no of value. Who knows how much hosny gave to isayas but defintly it was more than the no-shoot-to kill policy because Eritrea is the private Limited Company of isayas.

  • RIP Abay Tigray

    Spoiled brats! Let them leave. They weren’t any good anyway! As long as the cycling team doesn’t defect. At least they bring home the championship every year.

  • araya

    Endaboy Ta-Ages, Dedeb, if it is as bad as you have me to believe, how come a single cyclist did not defected? Trust me, they are worthless. On the top of that, they are not even good enough to make it in a gas station. That is the truth. I am trying to be nice here. They suck, beleive me.

    • araya

      Moda please note that, I meant to post it under Reply to Enda-Aboy Ta-Ages.

    • Tamrat Tamrat

      There are some who must pay the Maximum price and carry on no matter waht happens to the last day humanly possible,like the cyclists and Tadesse Zeray, but the day they ask for asylum then the day Eritrea is emmersed in civil war. And pfdj and you never give up until total degrading. Looser.

  • Haylom Bahta

    Next time we will hear in the news that the eritrean national football team had been granted asylum in Somalia…

  • Yihdega Yihdego


    Guess who I run into the other day? Tamrat Tamrat. The guy has a medical condition. He has Tourette’s syndrome. He stutter’s. No wonder his nick is “Tamrat Tamrat.”

    • Tamrat Tamrat

      Dont confuse me With Your boss, i dont deserve such high status. By the way i read about Tourette’s syndrom and that is a Perfect def for Your visonary. the saddest thing wht the hell for you supprt him

  • Papillon

    Talk of the town has it that Adieta’tna (our mothers) want to sign up for a national soccer team so that they could use the opportunity to abscond. If we travel into the past say twenty five years and ask ourselves if there will have been any possibility in the future that Eritrea would be a number one producer of refugees in the world, it would be something absolutely impossible to even entertain let alone to contemplate. Simply because, the intoxication with a sense of optimism under the leadership of Caesar Isaias back then was shooting Eritrea into the stars where other nations eat their hearts out with an utter jealousy. Twenty five later into the future, the reversal of fortune is aghast to say the least. Families in Eritrea carry a day with a bread per person; families in Eritrea carry a day with an extreme fear of retribution should they say anything subversive; families in Eritrea see their children off into uncertain journey where the possibility of dying in the high seas, dying in the arid deserts, dying in the hands of organ merchants is taken for a risk worth taking rather than dying slow and a painful death under the cruel hands of Caesar Isaias.

  • T..T.

    Nice to see most of us to focus on the Eritrean political strife and fundamental issues that cause Eritreans to flee the country.

    Some of Isayas’s embassy staff who have inside knowledge of Isayas’s government started to speak out without fear of retribution. According to their information, Isayas and Al-Amin Mohammed Said are equally responsible for all crimes committed against the Eritrean people. Now it is clear that Al-Amin Mohammed Said exercises control over any final decisions, like releasing prisons and implementation of the constitution. Although Isayas appears to take command, the two are said to be equally responsible. Al-Amin, after all, was the one who locked up the G-14 and todate is unwilling to compromise.

    Open discussions about Al-Amin’s role will help us to know about all those involved in causing the whole Eritrean people, young and old, to flee the unlivable conditions – living in trenches, fear and slavery.

    • Zegeremo

      What?? Interesting! Are you saying Alamin is the vice president of Eritrea?

      • Kokhob Selam

        I have meet several times and asked questions in front of people face to face. this is the most dangerous fox politician i have ever seen in Eritrea. for the last 14 years i was expecting this man will be exposed by PFDJ poor ministers and followers. I don’t know if I am right but most probably he is the first man of all decisions whom DIA trust more. the only guy trusted by DIA means the only life of DIA. let’s expose him more.

    • Papillon


      I am sure if Isaias reads your comment, steam will pop out from his ears. Isaias micro-manages everything. There is no such a thing called shadow or second person in Eritrea. Al-Amin had been on a critical care (Kidney failure) for a number of years where he was almost forgotten let alone to have a say on mandane matters. Your comment would have carried weighty credibility had you said Yemane H’bey even though he is a a lackey par excellence. You need to educate yourself on Isaias and his turf 101.

      • Yodita

        Dear Papillon,

        I believe Monkey (sleek and malicious)is one of the main (if not the main)craftsmen behind the oppression and the negation of basic human rights in our country! He has even managed to manipulate YPFDJ, who, by nature of their age and exposure to democratic systems, should be outright allergic to PFDJ rule,are instead the faithful followers. He (Monkey) also has part of our future in his hands, when seen from this point of view. I personally cannot stomach YPFDJ, I detest them as much as I do him.

        I agree with you, Monkey is a worse menace and enemy.


      • Zegeremo


        you are smart and flawless….just stay out of that YG trap.


  • araya

    Why all the hate? I did not knock a job at the gas station.
    I was trying to be nice to give the soccer defectors a job. The reality is their sorry behind refused to get a job, claiming that they are professional soccer players. Now, you are right there is a dignity working in a gas station but what do you have to say to them for refusing to work because they are professional soccer players? Yes, there is something called reality.

    “We want to continue our profession and play on the highest level – on a big team,” said Temesgen Asefaw, 18″

    i don’t know what the big team is but, if you don’t eat America, America will eat you up with no marcy.

    • hizbawi

      “if you don’t eat America, America will eat you up with no mercy?

      hmmmmmm, interesting! how exactly will you eat America? work hard? go to school? be smart open your own business?a great advice for the young Eritreans.take that to the heart.

    • Zegeremo

      I know!! Next time, don’t put your foot in your mouth.

      • araya

        Zigeremo; Are you talking to me?

  • Teamrat

    Please do not expose your inferiority complex by misinterpreting my opinion. What I said is that losing soccer players (who are obscure outside Eritrea and whose soccer skills is not even interesting)is not a brain drain. This doesn’t imply that cleaning, driving a taxi or other menial work is not important or dignifying. Brain drain doesn’t describe soccer players abandoning Eritrea. Someone wronte this statement without thinking or without knowing what it implies.

  • teranifa

    every eritrean compares dolar with nakfa,if they win 2500 dolar,their monthly salary 75 dolar,they are not profesional,better to leave to work in factory.why not do ceyclist,because they are profissional,thy get more money,thats why some eritreans sell thier bloved brothers and siters to BEDEW SINAI for money.why most of the eritreans who left eritrea support the govenment, because they have got money,why some of them oppes the governemet because they didnt get enough money as they thought,some of them they got free air ticket to ethiopia ,the brought coffe,tradional clothes and so on,they sold for money.even poltical bussiness

  • Mahta

    Garnting asylum for Eritreans in Uganda, is like garnting asylum for Ugandanse in Eritrea….
    have fun in Kampala!

  • Yihdega Yihdego

    A rumor is going around about Brigadier General Tekle Manjus. The rumor mill says, he is abducted by unknown people around Akurdet area. Wish he is abducted by aliens so that they can green his sorry azz. Sorry Awate for the faul langauge. The Yihdega in me can get nasty at times.

    • Danny

      I just hope you are right. I don’t really care if they turn his sorry as into mush.

  • Tewolde Gebre

    The swiss gouvernment spend around 3500 (around 150000 nakfa) swiss francs per month for each eritrean who are granted political asylum(for housing, health insurance, transportation etc…). Each month, 400 (average number) eritreans applied for asylum in Switzerland. So basically Eritrean have the choice to live in the one of most wealthy country of the world (Swiss) or in one of the poorest country in the world (Eritrea). So the question is :” do they (eritreans) leave their country because of PIA and Higdef or for other reasons…?

    • yegermal

      If I promised you $1bln once your reach destination, say Geneva, would you take the treacherous trip out of DIA’s kingdom through the Sinai desert where organ and human traffickers feast on vulnerable humans or the Mediterranean where make-shift boats will gladly feed you to sharks? Then again, would not be surprised if your answer is “Yes”, since I suspect you have sold your soul to DIA for much less.

  • You know guys, now a days i am feeling as if i am worked out!

    I think we agree to have an end to one man rule, otherwise lets agree to make Isays Afewerki a modern monarchy in East Africa, lets tell him that you have a granted endless power for generations, and leave as alone, as he is a power hungry dude!!

    I have encountered many Eritreans arguing that every one is fleeing the country just in search of work… why then couldn’t ask their very self on why there is no work/opportunity in Eritrea!??? really this days its very ugly to see my self as an Eritrean! i hope this cursed, ignorant man would vanish and the country be a normal nation.

    Hundreds of thousands of youth, a back bone of the nation left, run for good or bad, sports professionals run why? simple answer is Mr Isays’s disastrous rule. please please people lets wake up and stand together and say stop it! end to one man rule!

    And more importantly our political opposition should only be motivated for a national cause, should not be regional, tribal, religious and all the rest weak thoughts, we need to really work for this nation with unity!

  • teranifa

    if they do not get USA visia like in kenia on the past,they will not leave others theier home land next.

  • r these guys real professionals?? i don’t think so…moreover they played very bad in the African Cup games…So if these group defected, which i don’t call it as a defection instead it’s an opportunity to leave, work and earn money…that’s it…i don’t believe they’ve an issue with the government…

    • dozens of people in what seems to be majority vote decide to abscond and you are trying to find a definition other than defection…most teams on the competitions were from poor sub-Saharan countries and non of them defected for better life in such a short interval and magnitude…surely there is something abnormal in the way the “Animal farm” is run…

    • Assan

      Are you on crack? Don’t be blind …believing in something is fine, however you need to understand the realty of those people( life time military service, constant harassment by the authority, tourture and so on) wake up man!!!!!

  • “Brain strain (n): The inability of Teamrat’s brain to comprehend that loss of skilled footballers, the best of the best the country has to offer, is actually a brain drain.”

    Brain management(n) the ability to stay calm and composed while engaging with people you “moderate” without getting in to personal attack……..I know this is eritrean web-site, but still…..

    • awatestaff

      Dear Alex:

      Good one, and touche! What personal attack, though? We were trying to say that when Teamrat (different from Tamrat Tamrat) ridicules the claim that loss of elite football players, repeatedly, is not a brain drain on the nation he is implying that there is nothing brainy about being a football player. He is wrong.

    • Teamrat

      Are these players the best of the best of Eritrea? You must be a funny guy/woman. Your standard is very low. What a brain strain!


    any one observed how our langaugae is be different. and how on earth we said deki hade libe. becouse our unity is as danger as even to God. he makes us not to evenm understand each other. we cant at all. becouse what we have done as togeter is”nefetarie ewin ayinemechewon ina, slezekone kea kuankauna hawawesuwo” . fekeran jahran nab zebstahana yebilun. akayin chekanin a gidam betna gerna haradin minim rihrahie zeybilu aremenie ab gezana yehdirna, zagid kindeyenay keynidikis,ezgeo tirah nibe dekie ere.

  • T..T.

    Most of us vividly remember how parents never wanted separation of children from them during the liberation wars. Even during the bloodiest wars, children were safe with their parents. Those who opted to escape wars, by foot or boat, were accompanied by their parents or relatives. Borders were safe to cross.

    Those days people escaping wars. Nowadays, according to the United Nations, people are escaping hunger or direct threat of deaths. According to fleeing people, refugees, Eritreans are repressed ruthlessly and that is why they are fleeing the country to escape Isayas’s harsh repression.

    The UN estimates about 3000 Eritreans flee to Ethiopia and the Sudan every month. And, according to World Hunger and Poverty Facts, 400 Eritrean children die of hunger every month. These numbers do not include the unreported border crossers to Yemen, Djibouti and other places. Conservatively, we can round the number to 3500 a month. If currently Eritrea has a population of about two million inhabitants, at max 3 percent annual increase, the month increase is 5000. The net increase is 1500.

    To find the overall effect, we have to deduct the net monthly deaths. Now, if the annual death rate in Eritrea is 2000 per 100,000 population, the percentile rate is two percent. The monthly deaths, therefore, equal 3334. We are at deficit, 1500 minus 3334 equal negative 1834 monthly. At a deficit of 1834, the present inhabitants of two million will end in 1090 months or 90 years. SHOCKING AND SCARY DAYS/MONTHS/YEARS IF WE DO NOT ACT NOW TO SAVE OUR ERITREA!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Tamrat Tamrat

    May be it is not brain drain, but it is definitly brain drained Eritrea. Producing these footballers is not easy task. It is not like sending ypfdj for the non ending festivals. But it might force to for the pfdj to restrict the national football only to ypfdj. Ya, definitly the ypfdj comes back after international mach, but the result forces the majority to wish that they would never come back. In short pfdj has killed eritreans football for the comming dicades as it has killed many institution.

  • Teamrat

    Soccer players asking for asylum ia not the same as brain drain. They are just soccer players – not intelectualls or professors.

    • aman

      teamrat i think you missing the point nowadays soccer player will be tomorrow teachers

    • Ethiopian

      Good job Teamrat , your name really explains …

    • awatestaff

      Brain drain (n): The loss of skilled intellectual and technical labor through the movement of such labor to more favorable geographic, economic, or professional environments.

      Brain strain (n): The inability of Teamrat’s brain to comprehend that loss of skilled footballers, the best of the best the country has to offer, is actually a brain drain.

  • goytom

    imagine the Ugandan government is more concern with the plight of Eritreans then the Eritrean government. they don’t even inquire about those in Sinai.

  • araya

    I know it is a loss to the nation but they suck though. They are unwatchable. I was watching the Ethiopian soccer team during the African cup and they are good. I enjoyed it. As much as I liked to cheer the Eritrean teams, they suck! I mean at least be a good player, so you can have a chance to play with other clubs but when you are that bad, what do you do after you defected? There are few in Texas and they are working in a gas station.

    • your missing the point. Your arrogance will not get you far. 1000s of Eritreans work at gas stations, they are doing what they need to do to survive. I am sure you work as a cleaner or a cab driver. [xxx xxxx xxxx]!

      • Henock

        I am a cab driver and I get at least $1300 a week and I own the taxi. Is that bad or good Mr intellectual? according to you cab driver is the worst of all. My taxi is much worth than you, your home and your cars.

    • Awet

      What is wrong working at a gas station? It’s one mean of making a living. I guess their are former eritrean soccer players working at a gas station, I am going to assuming you won’t be filling gas at a gas station now or going forward.

    • King

      Where do you work?The Boys are free from your evil president and that all it matter.
      Now go get a job and be a man pay yours 2% percent.Your boy needs that money quick and fast.

    • Zegeremo

      Dud! It looks like you need to work on your IQ score. Stop embarrassing yourself !

    • Ethiopian

      And you are a cleaner ( Mr Araya )!!!

    • Ambesa

      I used to work in gas station and I was happy with it. And now i work in a consulting company and I am not happy.

    • Wow Araya, whose fault is it if they suck? And if they do suck, how is it a loss to the nation? In your heart you know Araya they are good and that is why they are a loss to the nation. You could not swallow the hard fact that Eritrea has the worst dictator man has seen and even professional soccer players are leaving it for whatever land they find but Eritrea. Swallow it Araya, that is the reality and you too decided to live with them somewhere in Texas. Had Eritrea being a land of good governance you might have thru different avenues end there. You are a loss to the nation not them for you have closed your ears and eyes and blinded with hatred and cheap PFDJ propaganda. You are a loss indeed Araya. Meles Neaka…….