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ICC NOTE: There are reports indicating that business buildings and warehouse are being converted to prisons to accommodate the expanding number of prisoners. Many Christians are among those being arrested in Eritrea . Please pray for them as the situation only seems to worsen.

Mass Arrest of Missing Youth’s Parents in Asmara

Asmarino Independent

16 December 2006

The Eritrean government has been conducting a wholesale mass arrest of parents of youth suspected of leaving the country. Informed sources from Asmara are reporting that the arrest has moved from the rural vicinity around Asmara to the very capital city itself as of December 12. 2006.

In the first day alone 500 fathers and mothers were picked up by security forces. The government is demanding that parents present their children (over 18 years old) or pay 50.000 Nakfa (Eritrean currency) per youth or under go 6 months of military service as replacement to their children regardless of the parents’ age. That is to say if a family had two children over 18 years old conscripted by the government for national service but the youth decided to leave the country by escaping to Sudan, Ethiopia, Yemen etc. the parents are responsible to convince their children to return or pay the fine.

This inhumane policy has been implemented in other regions of Eritrea for a while. But now it seems the regime has decided to implement its brutalizing policy on the residents of the largest Eritrean city in order to squelch potential resistance to its disastrous internal and external policy.

The latest information coming out of Asmara confirms that the arrest has expanded in scope and magnitude. Observers feel this action has further turned the urban population against the regime. There are those who believe that the regime is using the migration of the youth to the neighboring countries, Europe and America as an excuse to alleviate its currency shortage and at the same time send strong warning to the restless youth and the parents.

This inhumane and unjust action immediately after the unexplained arrest of government journalists, Eritrean entrepreneurs and more Christian faith followers has further exposed the growing gap between the authoritarian regime and the general populace. It is reported all jails in and around Asmara are brimming with prisoners. There are reports indicating that business buildings and warehouse are being converted to prisons to accommodate the expanding number of prisoners.