The Eritrean president has lashed out at Europe for what he says is its role in economically sabotaging his country and depleting its human capital.
Isaias Afwerki was making a rare address on national television late last week as part of his traditional New Year message. Focusing on the infrastructure of the country and other projects for his country, Afeworki examined the thorny issue of migration that continues to bedevil his country.
He specifically took jibes at French President Francois Hollande and his German counterpart, Angela Merkel. Afwerki described both leaders as being mentally disturbed and that they were among those who encouraged the massive movement of his Eritrean youth to Europe.
Francois Hollande is on record to have said almost a year ago that Eritrea was empty of its youth. This was in reference to the teeming youth who left the country to undertake the perilous journey to Europe. “What does he know? What can it do to him?” Afwerki quizzed.
The German chancellor whiles on a visit in October 2016 visit to Ethiopia announced a significant financial aid as part of efforts aimed at Ethiopia accepting Eritrean fugitives. “He (Hollande) and Angela Merkel, all I can say is that these people must be mentally disturbed.”
The Eritrean regime is accused of huge violations of human rights and freedom of expression. The country is also at loggerheads with neighbouring Ethiopia. Ethiopia has also accused them of backing anti-peace forces behind protests in its Amhara and Oromia regions.
In a speech delivered at the 25th anniversary of the independence of Eritrea, he declared that the exodus of the youth of his country to Europe is the result of a deliberate policy fomented by the foreign powers To weaken Eritrea with a systematic recourse to economic sabotage “with the aim of creating poverty and famine”.
“Eritreans being the greatest historical threat to our enemies, trafficking in human beings has been used to disperse and weaken the country’s human capital. The highest priority has been given to this policy, of asylum to the Eritreans,” he said.
With an estimated 5,000 people leaving the country every month in search of a better life, Eritrea is one of the largest contingents of migrants risking the perilous journey to Europe.