The round-up of parents that
started last week in the Southern Region (Debub) is still continuing. The
campaign has now also been extended to the town of
a) any person who, within the last 11 years (since the enactment of the National Service Proclamation in 1994), had been summoned to do national service (Sawa) but did not report as required;
b) any student, male or female, who had completed 11th grade in the last three years but had failed to report to Sawa to pursue 12th grade classes there;
c) national service members who had abandoned their units and whose whereabouts are currently unknown;
d) any person, whether civilian or military, who was known to have left the country in the past several years without obtaining an exit visa.
The incarcerated parents in
Debub have been offered to be released on bail if they agreed to hunt down
and bring back their “missing” children. The amount of bail is 10,000
Nakfa if the absent person was found in
Most of the detainees, however, are not cooperating on this matter, citing either their inability to produce the amounts asked, or by insisting that they should not be held responsible for the absence of their children. Several hundred imprisoned parents in the sub-region of Adi Keih have thus far been adamant and refused to cooperate. Many of them have also started a hunger strike by refusing any food rations given to them.
The Adi Keih detainees, who were earlier reported to have been moved to undisclosed location, are now known to have been relocated to Mai Seraw (between Segeneiti and Adi Keih) where they were put in the local school under heavy military guard. The relocation was necessitated by the extremely unhealthy situation that was created as a result of over-crowding in the town’s prison and also to make way for new arrivals. New reports confirm that many of the detainees, who were elderly and sick, were in a very precarious condition. Some of the mothers have been detained with their infant children.
It is now known that extensive lists of the so-called absent persons were prepared and given to local administrators in all of the Southern Region. Many of the administrators expressed doubts about their capacity to carry out the task. The PFDJ authorities and military commanders, therefore, gave instructions that each village or locality (kebabi) should form a committee of three persons to cooperate with the military in the round-up campaign.
Lists of missing persons have been prepared for all six regions and handed over to the authorities in each region. The campaign is, therefore, expected to be carried out in the remaining five regions as well.
Meanwhile, students in all regions who have completed 11th grade and are required to travel to Sawa have now been instructed to report to their respective departure locations on 22 July. That date is being expected with much apprehension by the public.
Editor's Note: In an earlier publication we reported that Mai Seraw is between Senafe and Adi Keih. Actually, it is between Segeneiti and Adi Keih. We apologize for the error.
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