Eritrean Regime Rounds Up Suspects Behind The Siege

1. As we reported yesterday, while the Eritrean regime publicly downplays the Monday siege of Eritrea’s Ministry of Information (MoI), it has cast a wide net to arrest anyone it suspects of having anything to do with the one-day occupation of the MoI building, aka “Forto” or “enda zena” and it has started, at its most senior levels, a defamation campaign reminiscent of its 2001 crackdown on the G-15.

2. On Tuesday morning, January 22, 2012, the regime arrested Abdella Jaber and Amanuel “Hanjema” Haile. Abdella Jaber is the Director of Organizational Affairs for the ruling party, the PFDJ, and a member of its Executive Committee. The party hasn’t had an organizational congress since 1994 and the Youth-PFDJ actually reports not to him but to Yemane “monkey” Gebreab, who is the Director of Political Affairs of PFDJ and a “presidential advisor.” Amanuel “Hanjema” Haile was the political commissar in Division 96 in the “Southern Red Sea” Front, when it was under the command of Samuel “China” Haile. He had been “frozen” lately.

3. On Wednesday, at noon, dozens of soldiers and plainclothes security officers surrounded the residence of Mustafa Nurhussein, arrested him, and he has been taken to an undisclosed position. Mustafa Nurhussein is the regional administrator (governor) of the South Zone. South Zone is sometimes known by the local word for South: Debub. (Historically, and until the redistricting and renaming of 1996 this area, was known by its two component parts: Akeleguzay and Seraye.) Mustafa Nurhussein is often seen hosting Isaias Afwerki when he is making “inspection tours” of the South Zone and was, until recently, reputed to have close friendship with the president. On January 18, Mustafa Nurhussein had attended a “regional administrators” meeting chaired by President Isaias Afwerki.

4. Also on Wednesday, Eritrea’s ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, Osman Jem’ee Idris (as well other government representatives to other embassies–whose names may be disclosed in future publication) have (if they were in Eritrea, that is) been taken to prison or placed under house arrest.

5. Colonel Saleh Osman, whose unit was reportedly responsible for the siege of the MoI building on Monday, is in the Adi Keyih/Dekemhare area, in the highlands of the South Zone. His soldiers have prevented any security forces from approaching and they have demanded that nobody, besides military police, can approach them for negotiations.

Update 1:(1/24/2013)
When we reported that Abdella Jaber and Mustapha Nurhussein have been arrested, given the headline of the news, the implication is that it is related to the incidents of Monday at the Ministry of Information. This is not necessarily the case. They may be arrested for completely unrelated issues–since people, including senior officials, are arrested in Eritrea every day.

inform. inspire. embolden. reconcile.


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