At around 10am on 21 January a contingent of Eritrean troops stormed the state television station. They rounded up the staff – all employees of the Ministry of Information – and forced the director of Eritrea TV, Asmellash Abraha Woldu, to read a statement calling for:
the freeing of all prisoners of conscience
the implementation of the Eritrean constitution
and stating that the ministry of information was under their control.
Almost immediately the television broadcast was interrupted, and remained off the air for several hours, before resuming its broadcasts with pre-recorded material. This is about all that is clear.
The small country in the horn of Africa remains isolated and is often described as repressed.
With thousands of political prisoners, a constitution that remains in limbo, and a president who has failed to keep promises of reform, analysts say more challenges are inevitable.
The BBC has more reporting, while Think Africa Press takes a look at Eritrea’s present and its possible future. Jay Ufelder, meanwhile, reminds us that there’s more to events like these than the equation “poverty+repression=coups.”
South Sudan has denied to the BBC that the dismissal of more than 30 top army officers has anything to do with a rumour about a coup attempt.
The country’s information minister said the changes were been made to bring younger people into top positions.
On Monday, all six deputy chiefs of staff were removed and 29 major generals were dismissed.
It is the biggest shake-up of the military since South Sudan became independent in July 2011.
What do you make of these events?