In Eritrea and in other parts of the world, the PFDJ has been busy celebrating the 25th anniversary of Sawa military training and indoctrination camp. As usual, extensive preparation was done to make the military parade the main focus of the celebration, an impressive show. Isaias Afwerki also appeared in a national outfit of the Eritrean lowlands. The military parade and the appearance of Isaias in a traditional attire captivated the imagination of the supporters of the ruling party. Of course, the celebration couldn’t highlight any achievement save the impressive target shooting skills the trainees acquired and the appearance of Isaias Afwerki in a national attire. But one flop explains two types of emptiness: the regime’s non-stop propaganda, and the naïveté of its supporters, particularly those in the Diaspora.
In a widely distributed image in which Isaias appeared with a man, the captions read, “President with his people” and “People’s president”. However, if the PFDJ and its affiliates are naturally forgetful, or chose to be so, their Eritrean victims are not.
To begin with, we do not believe a picture with a person can be considered proof that Isaias “loves his people”, but worse, the man in the picture with Isaias is not “his people”. He is the Nazir, Ahmed Humaid Al Burki, a chief of the Sudanese Rashaida tribe.
On December 4, 2014, awate.com published an editorial under the PENCIL carrying a content image of Ahmed Al-Burki. The article was written when human trafficking was at its highest level and Eritreans were being kidnapped, abused, and blackmailed all over Eastern Sudan. You can click HERE to read the whole article, but below is an excerpt:
Five years ago, the Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF) wrote letters to President Omar Al Bashir as well as to the Minister of Interior and the local government of Kassala about the rampant acts of extortion, kidnapping and human trafficking that Eritrean refugees are subjected to. When it received no response, it identified the area where Eritreans were being held hostage by Rashaida gangs, and stormed it and freed some hostages. Khartoum, which is tasked with protecting Sudan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, gave a strong warning to the ELF to cease and desist. The ELF wrote: “We will never accept that the children of our people whose sufferings we strive to end, to be vulnerable to coercion and extortion. And we say to these people that our people know how to defend their rights and to avenge themselves; the Eritrean Liberation Front will not keep silent and to the criminals ‘it spins back the act.’ “