63. Eritrea (1993-present)


Crisis Phase (May 24, 1993-present):  Eritrea formally achieved its independence from Ethiopia on May 24, 1993.  Isaias Afewerki, head of the People’s Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ), became president of the State of Eritrea.  The Red Sea Afar Democratic Organization (RSADO) was established in opposition to the regime of President Isaias Afewerki on October 17, 1998.  On March 6, 1999, the Alliance of Eritrean National Forces (AENF) consisting of ten Eritrean opposition goups was established in opposition to the Eritrean government.  Government police arrested eleven dissidents, including at least three former generals and three former cabinet ministers, on September 18-19, 2001.  On February 1, 2002, the Eritrean National Assembly decided not to legalize other political parties.  The RSADO joined the AENF, which was renamed the Eritrean National Alliance (ENA), in October 2002.  The ENA consisted of 13 opposition groups.  Timothy Nutt, a British geologist, was killed by suspected Islamic militants near the village of Bisha on April 12, 2003.  On May 2, 2003, the ENA announced the establishment of a military wing for the purpose of deposing the regime of President Isaias Afewerki.  Two NGO (Mercy Corps) workers were killed by suspected Islamic militants in northern Eritrea on August 10, 2003.

The Eritrean Democratic Alliance (EDA), formerly the ENA, which consisted of 16 Eritrean opposition groups, was established in January 2005.  The EDA formed a combined military wing on September 26, 2005.  RSADO rebels attacked a government naval facility on the island of Haleb on September 30, 2006.  RSADO rebels attacked a government prison in the Afar region, resulting in the deaths of 23 government soldiers.  RSADO rebels attacked government troops in Morad on June 1, 2008, resulting in the deaths of four government soldiers.  RSADO rebels attacked a government military training base in Afambo on November 10, 2008, resulting in the deaths of some 250 government soldiers.  RSADO rebels attacked a government military intelligence in the Ara’ata sub-zone on December 24, 2008, resulting in the deaths of 30 government soldiers.  RSADO rebels attacked a government military camp in the Denkalya region on January 24, 2009, resulting in the deaths of 20 government soldiers.  On May 23, 2009, the African Union (AU) urged the UN Security Council to impose sanctions on the Eritrean government in response to its support of Islamic militants in Somalia.  RSADO and Eritrean National Salvation Front (ENSF) rebels attacked a government intelligence center in the town of Senafe on August 1, 2009, resulting in the deaths of 13 government soldiers.  On December 23, 2009, the UN Security Council imposed military sanctions (arms embargo) and economic sanctions (asset freeze and travel ban) against the Eritrean government for its support for Islamic militants in Somali.  RSADO and ENSF rebels attacked government military camps near Kokobay and Kermeti on January 1, 2010, resulting in the deaths of some 25 government soldiers.  RSADO rebels attacked a government military intelligence camp on February 15, 2010, resulting in the deaths of 17 government intelligence officers.  The European Union (EU) imposed military sanctions (arms embargo) and economic sanctions (travel restrictions and assets freeze) against Eritrea on March 1, 2010.  On April 22, 2010, RSADO and ENSF rebels attacked government military camps near Kelay in southern Eritrea, resulting in the deaths of 18 government soldiers.  RSADO and ENSF rebels attacked government military intelligence units in southern Eritrea on October 20, 2011, resulting in the deaths of 12 government soldiers.  On December 1, 2011, RSADO and ENSF rebels attacked a government military base in southern Eritrea, resulting in the deaths of 17 government soldiers.  On December 5, 2011, the UN Security Council expanded economic sanctions against the Eritrean government.  On July 5, 2012, the United States government imposed economic sanctions (prohibiting financial transactions and freezing assets) against two Eritrean government officials for their support of Islamic militants in Somalia.  On November 13, 2012, Ibrahim Haron, chairman of the RSADO, called for an uprising against the regime of President Afewerki.  Dissident government soldiers took over the Ministry of Information in Asmara on January 21, 2013, demanding the release of political prisoners in Eritrea.  Government troops resumed control of the Ministry of Information on January 22, 2013.  RSADO rebels attacked a military barracks near Alhan on April 26, 2014, resulting in the deaths of 27 military intelligence agents.  RSADO and Democratic Front for Eritrean Unity (DFEU) rebels attacked a military barracks in southern Eritrea on December 22, 2014, resulting in the deaths of seven military intelligence officers.  As a result of human rights abuses, more than 310,000 individuals have fled Eritrea through June 2014.

[Sources: Agence France Presse (AFP), April 24, 2010; British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) News, February 1, 2002, April 17, 2003, May 2, 2003, August 15, 2004, September 26, 2005, May 23, 2009, December 23, 2009, January 21, 2013, January 22, 2013; New York Times (NYT), May 25, 1993, September 19, 2001, January 21, 2013; Reuters, December 23, 2009, January 1, 2010, January 2, 2010, February 18, 2010, April 23, 2010, October 21, 2011, December 1, 2011, December 5, 2011, July 5, 2012, January 21, 2013, January 22, 2013, February 2, 2013, February 11, 2013, October 24, 2013, November 26, 2013, June 27, 2014; Sudan Tribune, November 16, 2008, January 1, 2009, January 26, 2009, January 28, 2009, August 1, 2009, October 22, 2011, November 13, 2012, January 21, 2013, January 22, 2013, February 11, 2013, May 9, 2013, April 28, 2014, December 22, 2014.]

 

Bibliography

Connell, Dan. 2011. “From Resistance to Governance: Eritrea’s Trouble With Transition,” Review of African Political Economy, vol. 38 (129), pp. 419-433.

Yasin, Mohammed Yasin. 2008. “Political History of the Afar in Ethiopia and Eritrea,” Afrika Spectrum, vol. 42 (1), pp. 39-65.