Notice of death of on border Asmara, smuggled out by Freedom Friday

Pasted on a wall in the capital, Asmara: an announcement every family fears – the death of a loved one.

But this invitation for friends and family to pay their respects does not carry the usual announcement of where and when the funeral will take place. There was none.

This evidence was smuggled out of Eritrea by the underground resistance.

The network: Arbi Harnet or Freedom Friday, risk their lives in this most closed society to get the story published.


Eritrea: Border Patrol officers shoot and kill young people fleeing to Sudan

(Asmara 12/12/2016)

On 22nd of October a light pickup truck left the city of Asmara carrying 7 young people and 3 children.

Each had paid $5,500 to be smuggled across the Eirtrea – Sudan border.

Seven of those aboard the truck were absconding national service recruits (5 women and 2 men).

The three children (accompanied by an uncle) were on their way to join their mother who had previously fled from the country.

At the town of Hykota, a short distance from the border, they were ambushed.

The truck was hit by a hail of bullets in a co-ordinated attack ordered by a senior divisional commander.

Many were killed outright; others fatally wounded.

Among the dead was a young woman, Yohana Kahsay. Just 26 years old, she had one of the three small children on her lap.

Yohana was a member of the 26th round of national service recruits who had been conscripted into the army. She had served with the 74th mechanised division for over two years.

Following the carnage the wounded were loaded back on a truck, while soldiers went to hunt down those who had fled for their lives.

No attempt was made to try to care for the wounded.

Residents of Hykota report that the soldiers even stopped at a local teashop on their way to the hospital, by which time everyone was pronounced dead.

Families of the victims were not informed and they were hurriedly buried.

It took each family weeks to piece together what had happened.

Without the bodies of their loved ones they were left to grieve without the comfort of a normal funeral and the associated rituals.

These killings have shaken the residents of Asmara where all the people were from, and where their fateful journey began.

This report was compiled by Freedom Friday () activists stationed in the vicinity of the incident.

They have a complete picture of the massacre including the name of the officer in charge of the operation.

This information will be passed to relevant authorities to hold them to account.