Eritrea

The Eritrean government arrested six former members of the ruling party and closed eight privately run newspapers on Tuesday. An Eritrean official told IRIN that the six had been arrested "for putting the country in danger and causing confusion". He confirmed that the privately run newspapers had been "suspended temporarily", but would be allowed to reopen "once they learn to abide by Eritrean press laws".

The presence of land mines and absence of basic services continue to prevent the successful return of internally displaced people (IDPs) to their homes in war-affected areas of Eritrea. The Information Coordination Centre (ICC - a joint UN/Eritrean Refugee and Rehabilitation Commission - ERREC - body) said in its July update that ERREC had repatriated 106,446 IDPs from 10 IDP camps in the Debub Region to their home villages, but that some 13,000 IDPs who had been unable to return had been mov...read more

On 24 May, Eritreans celebrated 10 years of independence from Ethiopian rule. In an address to the nation, Presidents Isayas Afewerki stressed the need to reduce the size of the army, swollen after the two year border conflict with Ethiopia in 1998, the pro-government Visafric news agency said. The demobilisation of enlisted soldiers and their reintegration into civilian society would reduce government expenditure on the military and generate economic growth, Isayas said.

A former Eritrean Government minister has openly criticised the president. It is the first time in Eritrea that a leading politician has dared speak out against President Isaias Afewerki.

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