Sun Star: Form and (Multi) function – 21 December

  • Filipino outlet Sun Star publishes a short feature on Carlo Cordaro, an Italian designer born in Asmara, who is working on a new architectural project in Cebu, the Philippines.
  • Cordaro is currently developing the Asmara Urban Resort and Lifestyle Village, inspired by the city of his birth and its Italian influences, as well as its Cebu setting. The Ethio-Eritrea Peace: Too Soon To Celebrate? – 20 December

  • Ezega publishes an analysis by journalist Solomon O of the Ethiopia-Eritrea rapprochement, which questions the terms of the peace between Eritrea and Ethiopia.
  • He writes that the political and social reforms undertaken by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in Ethiopia are “anchored in the wellbeing of the two countries”, and that the peace accords may be interpreted differently by the two countries’ leaders.
  • Solomon argues that several issues remain potential obstacles to a lasting peace. He identifies Ethiopia’s ongoing tensions with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and the “growing discord within the EPRDF and tensions developing between different ethnicities and regions”.
  • He also questions whether the rapprochement will curtail President Isaias’ efforts to “stifle the political and civil rights of Eritreans”, or simply provide “a new set of unforeseen problems”. He cites the case of foreign military powers establishing bases in Eritrea as a potential cause for Ethiopian concern.

Eritrea Hub: Sebhat Efrem, former minister of defense, shot at his home – 20 December

  • Eritrea Hub relays a report by Team Arbi Harnet (Freedom Friday) that Sebhat Efrem, the former minister of defence and current minister of mines, was shot at his home in Asmara on Wednesday 19 December.
  • Sources said that General Sebhat had been sidelined from President Isaias’s inner circle.
  • Plans are said to be in place to send Sebhat abroad for treatment for his injuries.

The Guardian: ‘Not my brother’: Italian court told defendant is not Eritrean smuggler – 19 December

  • The Guardian reports that an Eritrean man detained in Sicily, believed to be a prominent human trafficker known as “the general”, may actually be 29-year-old a refugee.
  • Merhawi Yehdego Mered, 38 year-old brother of notorious human trafficker Medhanie Yehdego Mered, has testified before a judge in Palermo, via videolink from the Netherlands, that the man facing trial in Sicily is not his brother.
  • Several people, including Mered’s reported wife and some of his alleged victims, came forward to claim that the detainee was not Medhanie Yehdego Mered. He has instead been named as Medhani Tesfamariam Berhe, a refugee.
  • Fulvio Vassallo, an expert on migration and asylum law from the University of Palermo, told The Guardian: “This endless trial, carried out on the basis of contradictory evidence, is the proof that the entire strategy pursued by EU governments of hunting down smugglers through criminal proceedings as a way to keep immigration numbers down is failing.” Journey Costs, Migration Routes and Corridors – 19 December

  • The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has published an analysis of information gathered on migration smuggling routes in 2017 and 2018.
  • The study focuses on Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Yemen and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, for the ‘Northern Route’ from the East and Horn of Africa to the Maghreb, Europe and North America, and the ‘Eastern Route’ from the Horn of Africa to the Middle East.
  • The analysis shows that the cost of the journey from Eritrea to Khartoum is typically between $350-750, while the cost of the journey from Eritrea to Libya or Egypt varies from around $2,000-4,000.
  • The Hawala Banking (money transfer through brokers) is said to be the main form of payment used by people smugglers in Ethiopia and Somalia.
  • In common cases of cash shortage or lack of sufficient funds to reach destination, migrants might be compelled to engage in informal (illicit) and underpaid jobs in farms or urban centres. Others may get involved in criminal activities or experience severe hardships.
  • The migratory roads are also fraught with dangers and sexual exploitation, and abuse and kidnapping are rife.


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