News24

Four Britons held in Eritrea

2011-02-12 13:25

London - Four British citizens have been detained in Eritrea, the foreign office in London said Friday, amid reports that the men were former soldiers guarding a merchant ship from pirates.

A statement said Britain was "deeply concerned" that authorities in the Horn of Africa nation had not allowed consular officials to speak to or visit the men, adding that ministers and diplomats were continuing to demand access.

The Sun newspaper reported on Friday that four ex-Royal Marines working for a security firm were seized eight weeks ago by the Eritrean navy while guarding a merchant vessel against pirates.

Piracy off the coast of nearby Somalia has been an international concern for years, and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said last week that it "seems to be outpacing the efforts of the international community to stem it".

The four British men were approached by the Eritrean navy and asked for their papers before shots were exchanged, The Sun reported, adding that they were accused of spying and are now languishing in a single cell.

In a statement, the foreign office said: "We can confirm the detention of four British nationals in Eritrea.

"We have been urgently seeking consular access since we became aware of their detention. We are deeply concerned at the failure of the Eritrean authorities to allow us to speak to or visit the men.

"The minister for Africa, our ambassador and other officials continue to demand access."

Eritrea has been led by the authoritarian regime of President Isaias Afeworki since it gained independence in 1993 from neighbouring Ethiopia following a 30-year war.

Tensions with Ethiopia remain high.

Comments
  • Paul - 2011-02-12 16:11

    Eritrea is one of those countries like SA doing jack s..t about the piracy makes you wonder...maybe somebody is getting kickbacks.

  • Dawit - 2011-02-16 01:03

    British Policy In ERITREA:-By Sylvia Pankhurst Mesage from the British Government,dropped by the R.A.F. over ERITREA and bearing the the British Royal Arms.Reveals that the British ill intentions against the Eritrean people aspirations for indipendent and free Eritrea has been resurfacing again and again whether through the unjust and undimacratic UN setup or in whatever ploy and play to continue to keep the African Consciousness void of the Magnificient Light for further dominance and subjugation in Continental Africa.What business do these four ex-Royal Marines have in the Red Sea that is thousands of miles away from the Eritrean Sea Water Way? Again,The British have been redhanded in destabilizing the Red Sea Region.

  • Dawit Eliffe - 2011-02-16 01:29

    British Policy In ERITREA:-By Sylvia Pankhurst Mesage from the British Government,dropped by the R.A.F. over ERITREA and bearing the the British Royal Arms.Reveals that the British ill intentions against the Eritrean people aspirations for indipendent and free Eritrea has been resurfacing again and again whether through the unjust and undimacratic UN setup or in whatever ploy and play to continue to keep the African Consciousness void of the Magnificient Light for further dominance and subjugation in Continental Africa.What business do these four ex-Royal Marines have in the Red Sea that is thousands of miles away from the Somili Water Way? Again,The British have been redhanded in destabilizing the Red Sea Region.

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