December 5, 2018
As usual in a move that appears to divert the public attention away from the political and socio-economic problems in the country, the Eritrean government has in the month of November 2018 ordered members of the reserve army for military training. The reserve army is made of elderly men. The move appears to have been driven by a motive to make the Eritrean people believe it is in perpetual crisis and state of war because following the peace agreement with Ethiopia , the Eritrean people are raising many questions that have no answers from the Eritrean government side. Among the questions asked are:
- Releasing political prisoners
- The implementation of the 1997 constitution
As the call for the military training for reserve army comes at a time when the peace agreement between Eritrea and Ethiopia has been signed and normalization of relationship between the countries has been restored. It is believed that this is a plot by the Eritrean government to abort public demands for change.
As it can be seen from the notice posted on the electric poles in the streets of Asmara, city, members of the popular army which is mainly made up of elderly men are called for military training. The notice reads in Tigrigna reads (and is translated below):
Following the Asmara foot step, the same calls are also made in keren, Aqurdet and Barentu. The Eritrean government has already started logistical preparation for the implementation of the training plan. Meetings were organized with members of the popular army in Keren, Aqurdet and Barentu. In the meetings, authorities explained the the military training is already planned but did not provide the specifics as to when will start. Relating to call for military training members of the reserve army who participated in the meeting asked challenging questions to the authorities:
- Why are we asked to go through military training after we were made to hand over our guns
- What new developments have popped up that required us to take military training at this particular time
- What is the linkage between the military training the peace agreement.
As usual the response from the Eritrean government cadres, was concerned representative from the government will organize meetings with you and will answer you questions. It is noteworthy that in March 2018, members of the popular army who, were too old had handed over their guns. The less old ones had not handed over their guns. But the meetings were joint meeting that encompassed both those who handed over their guns and those did not hand over their guns. And the requirement to take military training concerns both groups.