Out 013 034
Guardian weekly logo black and blue png

#2 - Jamal Khashoggi case

Migration, Eritrea's joy becomes ethiopia's burden amid huge exodus

Par Tom Gardner Mekele - 5 mn

Out 013 034
Mass exit The opening of the border between Eritrea and Ethiopia last month has led many Eritreans to leave, including those escaping from indefinite military service MICHAEL TEWELDE

Abraham and Binyam (not their real names) had failed to escape before. The two Eritrean men, both in their early 20 s and from the small town of Adi Keyh, are draft dodgers . Like hundreds of thousands of their compatriots over the past decade, they longed to cross the border into neighbouring Ethiopia to avoid a life of indefinite national service. Abraham attempted it in 2016, Binyam in February last year.

Both were arrested and imprisoned. Abraham was incarcerated for five months, during which he says he was beaten with batons and belts and fed only a few pieces of bread each day. Binyam was detained for a week, during which only one comfort break was allowed each day – out in a field, because the prison had no toilets. Both were then sent to the military, from which they absconded, returning to th...