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November 4, 2017

RIYADH (Reuters) – The Saudi government on Saturday announced the arrest of at least 10 members of the ruling royal family, four current ministers and tens of former ministers in what it called an effort to reign in corruption, and a cabinet reshuffle that removed the strongest potential rival to likely future king Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman.

Among the detained princes was Alwaleed bin Talal, one of the world’s richest men and a top investor in media giant NewsCorp, Twitter and other major companies, according to the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.

The arrests were carried out by a new anti-corruption committee chaired by Prince Muhammad, according to state-owned Al Alarabiya TV.

The cabinet reshuffle saw Prince Miteb bin Abdullah replaced as minister of the National Guard by Khaled bin Ayyaf, while Economy Minister Adel Fakieh was removed in favor of his deputy Mohammed al-Tuwaijri, according to a royal decree carried by state-run media.

Prince Miteb, the preferred son of the late King Abdullah, was once thought to be a leading contender for the throne before the unexpected rise of Prince Mohammed two years ago.

He had inherited control of the National Guard, an elite internal security force built out of traditional tribal units, from his father, who ran it for five decades.

Prince Miteb was the last remaining member of Abdullah’s branch of the family to hold a position in the upper echelons of the Saudi power structure.

The move consolidates Crown Prince Mohammed’s control of the kingdom’s security institutions, which had long been headed by separate powerful branches of the ruling family.

The alleged targeting of Prince Alwaleed is especially striking because he is one of the most visible Saudi power players not directly under Prince Mohammed’s control. He has gained further attention in recent years because of his criticism of President Donald Trump, who’s built close ties with Prince Muhammad and hours before the announcements of the arrests unexpectedly tweeted about Saudi Arabia’s plan to publicly float part of its state-owned oil company for the first time.

Prince Mohammed, the king’s 32-year-old son, already serves as defense minister and was named heir to the throne in a June reshuffle that sidelined his older cousin, Prince Mohammed bin Nayef who had also served as interior minister.

He has been responsible at the same time for running Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen, dictating an energy policy with global implications and behind the plans for the kingdom to build a future after oil.

Prince Mohammed, who has pledged to go after graft at the highest levels, will now also head up the new anti-corruption body, which was given broad powers to investigate cases, issue arrest warrants and travel restrictions, and freeze assets.

“The homeland will not exist unless corruption is uprooted and the corrupt are held accountable,” the royal decree said.


The country’s new economy minister, Tuwaijri, is a former Saudi air force pilot and former chief executive of HSBC’s Middle East operations who has led the economy ministry’s program to privatize some $200 billion of government assets.

He replaces Fakieh, who served as the point man for the kingdom’s wide-ranging economic reforms since his appointment as economy and planning minister in 2015.

A former food executive with a reputation for pushing through politically sensitive reforms, Fakieh had previously served as labor minister, health minister and mayor of Jeddah.

Fakieh faced down fierce opposition from the business community as labor minister when he established quotas for foreign workers to boost jobs for Saudis.

Under Prince Mohammed, Fakieh led the development of a national transformation plan and privatization drive launched last year to end the kingdom’s vulnerability to an unpredictable oil market. His replacement comes as the kingdom makes adjustments to that plan, a process dubbed NTP 2.0.

The royal decree did not say whether Fakieh would hold any other government position. Former ministers often serve in advisory roles after leaving their posts.

Eritrean Global Solidarity-EGS and Eritreans

for Facilitating National Dialogue- EFND


It is all about Freedom of Religion !!

The events unfolding in Asmara expose the unrestrained desire of the tyrannical regime to take over religious institutions and dismantle their leadership. The intensity of the interference has been accelerated in the last few months. 

The resistance against this evil agenda has been building and expanding. The open challenge exhibited by the Eritrean Moslem institution's leadership has galvanized all Eritreans to stand up and resist the unrestrained push by the regime. We stand with our hero and patriotic, Hajj Musa Mohammed Nur, and honor his selfless action in breaking the silence of our people. Because of his valor and resilience, the demonstration by the youth has elevated the struggle for Religious Freedom to a higher level. 

Everyone who deeply cares about religious freedom has to show unwavering solidarity with the heroes who took open stand and chose to march in open defiance of the regime's interference and oppression.

We resoundingly affirm our solidarity and pledge to expose the sinister plans of the Eritrean regime to the world to the best of our ability. We encourage all Eritreans, regardless of their organizational platforms, to unite and work to defeat the nefarious agenda of the regime to divide us on religious and ethnic line. 

It is time to put our minor differences aside and push to bring an end to this tyranny. This is our responsibly. We must own it and shoulder our responsibly. 


Africa, Eritrea, Horn of Africa

The document below – released by Sactism – is apparently from inside the Eritrean government’s security operation.


Members of 84th, 59th divisions and Support Forces and police were ordered to stop the demonstration on 31 October.

The National Security Agency has detained 17 members of the school committee and other Muslims; including hajji Mussa Mohamed Nur.

After the 31 October incident, a task force composed of General Filpos WeldeYohans, Brigadier General Sm’on WeldeDngl and Brigadier General Abrha Kassa was set up to prepare for any possibility of widespread unrest around the country.

The internal security department has also set up another task force composed of Colonel Yemane Afewerki, Colonel Yemane AndeMariam (Sokolov), Major TesfaLdet Zekarias.

Three clandestine teams have been set up to kidnap and jail any persons considered important in connection with the recent events. The teams are led by Bereket Guush, Yonas Zerai and ‘Wedi Keren’.

People jailed by the teams will be presented to Colonel Tesfaldet Zekarias, who will also be receiving all intelligence regarding the situation form the 10 sub-zones. The interrogators are: Major Kahsai Beyene, Major Fs’haZion, Tewelde (Rashaida), Tewelde Haile, Ftsum, Kflai and ‘Wedi Yosef’; all members of the National Security Agency.

Isaias has given the National Security Agency extreme powers to enable them to contain the present situation. Brigadier General Efrem Hadsh has been given the responsibility of ensuring security at Adi Halo (Isaias’ dam project and office) in addition to mosques and city entry checkpoints. Rapid Forces commander Brigadier General Ftsum GebreHiwet (Wedi Memhr) has been given orders to conduct intensive security measures around Adi Halo and Asmara entry points with the 22nd, 59th divisions and 525th commando division.

The National Security Agency’s 03 branch are sending out gossip saying that the uprising is an extremist fundamentalist movement funded by external forces to stage a coup d’état.

Orders have been given to ensure heavy security around secondary schools and colleges and on the students who had protested at Adi Halo and taken to the Naro plains (hot desert plains in north east Eritrea near the coast).

Orders have been given for the army not to give any clarifications about the incidents or hold meetings.

The President’s Office, the Ministry of Information, the Ministry of Defense offices at Beleza, Bet Gergsh, and Balineki, and the Tract B area are being heavily guarded by the army


Demonstartion of Eritreans In front of Downing Street

Friday, 03 November 2017 18:44 Written by

Pictures showing Demonstartion of Eritreans In front of Downing Street against the crack down of peaceful Demonstrators in Asmara through the use of live Ammunitions of the PFDJ government  
03/11/2017, 16:23:02

Downing ST 1Downing ST 2Downing ST 3Downing ST 4Downing ST 5Downing ST 6

Africa, Eritrea, Horn of Africa

Eritrea: details of arrests, injuries during the Akria protest

Details of the scale of the repression under way in Asmara following Tuesday’s protests have been smuggled out of Eritrea.

They are provided in a document [see below] which comes from the United Democratic Eritrean Front.

The information has not been independently corroborated.


Prisoners: 5th Police Station -58; Adi Abieto- 20; FerroVia-43; 14 women of total 121 prisoners.

Wounded (due to beatings or shots fired) -19, including 5 women and a 67 year old elderly man. Four sustained heavy bullet wounds.

General Filpos has ordered three battalions commanded by Colonel Haregot Frzun deployed to Akria.

They have searched some homes.

He ordered the forces to be on high alert during Friday prayers at mosques.

He has also ordered Asmara, Massawa, Keren, Afabet, Aqurdet,  Barentu and other areas to be under heavy vigilance by security forces.

The security forces have been told that the demonstrators are paid agents of the Qatari government who want a Sharia law government in Eritrea.


Africa, Eritrea, Horn of Africa

Eritrea update: Asmara protestors -including women and children – beaten and tortured during interrogation

Update from the Arbi Harnet (Freedom Friday) Network

(Akria 02-11-2017) Following the protests in Asmara on Tuesday, and particularly the pandemonium of the shootings by government soldiers, Akria was relatively calm today.

This afternoon some of the students,  and a few women,  who were taken to prison in connection with the uprising, have been released.

So far in Akria we have counted 5 students and 3 mothers who have been freed.

The condition of their release was that under no circumstances were they to talk about their experiences in prison, or the interrogations they faced.

However, people are refusing to obey these orders and are discussing their experiences.

In the area customarily known as Taseda Tsrgia a young student in the 10th grade told us that when he was detained they took him to the police station at Asmara Expo. He was interrogated and asked to name the organisers of the march.

He was doused in freezing water repeatedly and beaten up with belts.

Today the security officers quietly reopened the school, after realising that the matter had received international attention.

They removed the uniformed, armed, officers and have replaced them with two armed police officers outside the school.

However residents have noticed that there is a huge presence of armed under-cover security people swarming around the area.

The intelligence unit has adopted a cover tactic of quietly approaching people they want for questioning and asking them to report to the local administration office, instead of raiding houses and arresting people.

Having said this, those who did as they were instructed have been taken to undisclosed locations from the local administration offices.

This afternoon alone from a single neighbourhood, known as Riga Somal, two individuals, Mr AbdelKader Ahmed and Mr Negash Beyan were called in and have now disappeared.

In a related news we have also heard that General Philipos has ordered the arrest of high ranking officers, who were coordinating the government response on Tuesday, for not shooting directly at protestors, but instead shooting into the air.

Team Arbi Harnet in Asmara would like to take this opportunity to thank all those humane officers who chose not to shoot at us, their brothers and sisters.

Finally, we are aware that as always the government is trying to make this into a sectarian movement.

We notice that some are buying into that propaganda. This is unfortunate.

Our movement is against the unjust moves of the government, and against subjugation, and although it started in the school the entire district of Akria has joined in.

We are certain that our struggle for justice will succeed and so we call on all our people inside the country and in the diaspora to join us.

Project Arbi Harnet in Asmara

Eritrea protest update: defiance and calls for unity

Wednesday, 01 November 2017 21:38 Written by


I have received this from a contact working through the ‘Freedom Friday’ network.


Activists from yesterday’s protest are sending a call for national unity against PFDJ actions against religious schools.

In an impassioned appeal for unity across all faiths the activists stated:

“Unsurprisingly the regime is attempting to taint this as a religious move aimed at asserting Moslem dominance in the country.

However neither the actions of the government in closing religious schools not the actions yesterday were about one religious group.

There were Christians protestors on the streets yesterday and some are actually in prison alongside their Moslem brothers.

Yesterday at the mosque we made it clear that our issues are issues of freedom and liberty and not confined to religion or one religious group.

In fact what must be clear is that the schools shut include the Catholic school in at the Cathedral as well as the Orthodox school at Enda Mariam.

We are all victims of the same persecution and yesterday we stood up against them together.

We appeal to all our brothers and sisters to continue to stand in solidarity and reject any attempts to divide and paly us against each other.”

Arbi Harnet [Freedom Friday] commends the unity with which Eritreans across the globe have stood up to PFDJ yesterday and appeals for on-going unity as we stand in solidarity with our people  inside Eritrea.


Africa, Eritrea, Horn of Africa, United States


Security Message for U.S. Citizens: Protests in Asmara


The U.S. Embassy has received reports of gunfire at several locations in Asmara due to protests.  The Embassy advises U.S. citizens to avoid the downtown area where protests appear to be more prevalent.  Streets in the downtown area may be closed, and police continue to maintain a significant presence.

Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence.  Avoid areas where demonstrations are taking place and exercise caution when in the vicinity of any large gatherings, protests, or demonstrations.  Review personal security plans, remain aware of your surroundings, including at local events, and monitor local news for information.  Maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security.

Eritrea: UN expert urges world not to turn its back on people fleeing unending human rights abuses

GENEVA (27 October 2017) – The people of Eritrea are suffering unending brutal human rights violations, and thousands continue walking for days in a desperate bid to reach the borders with neighbouring countries, the UN General Assembly has heard.

Special Rapporteur Sheila B. Keetharuth listed multiple severe violations of people’s human rights, pleading with the international community to show compassion to those who risked death to cross the border, where shoot-to-kill orders were allegedly carried out by the military.

“I appeal to the international community not to turn their backs on Eritrean refugees for short-term political gain in response to populist electoral demands or promises, which can translate into actual restrictions, harassment and human rights violations,” she said, while updating the General Assembly on the country’s bleak human rights picture.

“At best, efforts to reduce the number of Eritrean refugees arriving will lead only to a temporary drop in numbers, but they will not stop people crossing deserts and seas in search of safe havens. No barrier will be insurmountable for someone fleeing human rights violations.”

The Special Rapporteur said that with no apparent changes in Eritrean policy at home, citizens were still dying in custody or enduring indefinite detention with no access to their families and lawyers.

The rights to freedom of expression and religion were also being violated, the Special Rapporteur said, citing reports that followers of both recognized and non-recognized religious denominations were still being detained in the capital, Asmara.

“Arrest and detention are used to punish, intimidate, create an atmosphere of fear, or to ‘disappear’ those who are deemed dangerous because they do not toe the line,” said Ms. Keetharuth, urging the Government of Eritrea to end its long-standing practice of arbitrary detentions and respect the rights of all prisoners.

“Eritrea still has no constitution to provide protection for fundamental human rights, no independent judiciary, no legislative assembly – in fact no institutions that could ensure checks and balances or protect against the misuse of power by the state,” she said.

Many arrests followed the same pattern, she said. Detainees were not told why they were being held, were not taken to court where they could challenge their detention, and were denied access to lawyers and visitors. Even close family members could only hand food and clean clothes to prison guards. Detainees were not told whether or when they would be freed, and no information was made public on specific cases.

Countless Eritreans were seeking to leave in search of a place where their rights would be respected, but even that was fraught with risks, the Special Rapporteur said.

Ms Keetharuth highlighted that Eritreans were still being forced into indefinite national service, despite a maximum of 18 months being set by the country’s laws.

Recent figures from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) show 20,000 people have crossed into a neighbouring country so far this year, nearly as many as in the whole of 2016, with 46 per cent of those transported by the IOM aged 18-24.  

The Special Rapporteur said that, rather than trying to reduce the number of Eritrean asylum seekers and refugees they were receiving, other countries should ensure their human rights were protected.

“The international community needs to restore the rights and dignity of Eritrean refugees by closing human rights protection gaps in national refugee policies,” she said.

Calls by the Commission of Inquiry to ensure accountability for past human rights violations and crimes against humanity had not resulted in any new measures, she added.

The Special Rapporteur, who has proposed a series of benchmarks to assess Eritrea’s progress, urged the Government to show its “genuine commitment and serious determination” to achieve progress by taking concrete steps to improve people’s lives.


Ms. Sheila B. Keetharuth (Mauritius) was appointed as the  Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea in October 2012. From 2014 to 2016, she also served as a member of the Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in Eritrea. Since May 2014, Ms. Keetharuth has been an expert member of the Working Group on Extractive Industries, Environment and Human Rights Violations of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. Until 2012, Ms. Keetharuth was the Executive Director of the Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa in Banjul, The Gambia. She also worked with Amnesty International in Kampala, Uganda, and as a lawyer and broadcaster in Mauritius. In 2017, Ms. Keetharuth was awarded the Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award by the University of Leicester, in recognition of her human rights work.

The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

UN Human Rights country page – Eritrea

For inquiries and media requests, please contact Birthe Ankenbrand (+41 22 928 9465 / ).

For media inquiries in New York please contact: Ravina Shamdasani  (+1 347 446 5294 / ) or Nenad Vasic ().

Concerned about the world we live in? Then STAND UP for someone’s rights today. #Standup4humanrights and visit the web page at http://www.standup4humanrights.or


Life in Asmara, Eritrea – 1935

Wednesday, 04 October 2017 19:32 Written by

Two images which I have purchased showing the life of ordinary men and women in the Italian colony of Eritrea, soon after the invasion of Ethiopia.

Each has a caption, which I have transcribed

Asnara - queuing for water 1935

“Italy’s war base in the North.

Asmara, chief port (sic) of the Italian African colony of Eritrea, has become one of the busiest cities in northern Africa.

Centre of the Italian campaign on the northern front, all supplies and ammunitions pass through the town, which is on the railway from Massawa, the Eritrean port on the Red Sea.

The above photo shows a line-up of empty gasoline cans at the village fountain, which was used for the domestic water supply.”

Date: 17/12/35

Asmara market 1935

“Italy’s war base in the North.

Asmara, chief port (sic) of the Italian African colony of Eritrea, has become one of the busiest cities in northern Africa.

Centre of the Italian campaign on the northern front, all supplies and ammunitions pass through the town, which is on the railway from Massawa, the Eritrean port on the Red Sea.

The above photo shows a general view of the native market in Asmara.”

Date: 17/12/35