By Tesfa-Alem Tekle
October 20, 2012 (ADDIS ABABA) - An Eritrean opposition group alleged Saturday that the government in Asmara is forcibly displacing members of the Afar ethnic minority from their ancestral lands.
The Ethiopia-based Red Sea Afar Democratic Organization (RSADO) said that the Eritrean regime is carrying out targeted displacement in Galalo, a city in northern part of Dankalia. The aim, the opposition group say, is to change the population of the area by settling Tigrigna speakers, who are the dominant group in Eritrea.
RSADO said that government agents are currently grabbing Afar-owned land with promises of large amounts of money if they sell their property. Those who refuse to sell are forced to do so by the government and army, the exiled group say.
This is not the first time for the regime to carry out public displacement against the Afars who also are known as Dankils, according to the group.
“We urgently appeal to international community and human rights organizations to stop the dictatorial regime in Asmara from displacing and cleansing Afar people putting up on him a possible pressure” RSADO said in a statement.
“We urge the United Nations Security Council to implement its 2010 (1970) sanctions to save the life of innocent Eritrean civilians ahead of them more suffering Red Sea Afar” it added.
The Red Sea nation is one of the most repressive countries in the world. In protest to extreme political repression, tens and thousands of Eritreans have fled to neighbouring countries.
Eritreans who have fled the country are considered traitors by the regime. When refugees are deported back to Eritrea they face prosecution, lengthy jail terms in harsh prison facilities or a possible punishment of death.
Earlier this month RSADO said Eritrea and Yemen had signed a “security arrangement” aimed to deport thousands of Eritrean refugees, mostly ethnic Afar fishermen who sought asylum in the Gulf state.