Expressen newspaper interview translated by Google Translate from Swedish, 30 January 2013
BEIRUT. Eritrean dictator Isaias Afewerkis Information Minister Ali Abdu Ahmed has fled the country and is living today in a secret location.
It confirms himself today in a world exclusive interview with Expressen Kassem Hamade.
Ali Abdu says he is surprised that the Swedish authorities did not seek him for information about what happened to the imprisoned journalist Dawit Isaak.
But he dare not give any hope to Isaak’s family in Sweden.
- Neither I nor any other minister dared to ask what happened to Isaak says Ali Abdu.
Eritrea’s information minister, Ali Abdu, 47, disappeared without a trace during a business trip to Germany in november.
Since then, not a sign of life heard from the Minister, who has been one of the dictator Isaias Afewerkis closest men for many years.
Now confirm Ali Abdu himself for the first time that he has fled Eritrea and left the regime.
He chooses to do it in an interview with Expressen.
Living on secret location
Ali Abdu live today at a secret location. He dares not speak on the phone with journalists, so he responds to Expressen questions via his brother Saleh Younis, who lives in the U.S..
Ali Abdu says that he very well knows who Dawit Isaak is.
- I’m surprised that Sweden has not heard from himself than to me to ask questions about Isaak. No one from the Swedish government or authorities have been trying to contact me about Dawit Isaak, says Ali Abdu told Expressen.
In Dawit Isaak’s family in Sweden and among the thousands who committed his release brought the news that Ali Abdu dropped out of the hope that they will finally get an answer about Dawit Isaak still alive.
But Ali Abdu says he and the other ministers do not have to know anything about what happened Dawit and other imprisoned journalists and politicians.
- Neither I nor any other minister dared to ask what happened to Dawit Isaak. It is taboo to ask about things that are not related to one’s job to do. There is an old guerrilla culture in the country. It carries out orders without asking why, he says.
“Can oral orders”
Ali Abdu says it is routine to suspected dissidents arrested without court papers, without any documentation.
- Those who do the work, oral orders. Sometimes, there is over the phone and in coded language. They are afraid of being intercepted by Western intelligence services, he says.
He says he is sorry about what happened Dawit Isaak and other journalists.
- But it is only the president himself and his closest security that has information about Isaak. Not even the police chief know anything about it, he says.
Ali Abdu live under great pressure. Immediately after his defection in November arrested his father, his 15 year old daughter and his brother, who were all left in Eritrea, the Security Service. He says he does not know where they are kept under lock and key today.
He does not want to answer questions about what prompted him to drop out or how he lives today.
- My brother is in shock right now. He is sad and feeling disappointed at how an entire generation in Eritrea has been lost, says the renegade minister brother Saleh Younis.
This is a short summary of the interview above, with a better translation, by Essential Africa
Eritrea’s missing Minister of Information, Ali Abdu Ahmed has broken his silence about his disappearance, saying he fled the country and is in hiding in a secret location.
In an article published in the Swedish newspaper Expressen, on 30 January, Mr. Abdu confirmed that he had fled the administration of President Isaias Afewerkis. The 47-year-old information minister disappeared during a business trip to Germany in November 2012, and had not been heard from since.
Mr. Abdu was regarded as the president’s close confidant. His disappearance prompted the immediate arrest of his 15-year-old daughter and a brother who remained in Eritrea. He is unsure of their whereabouts.
In addition, Mr. Abdu addressed concerns about the disappearance of journalist Dawit Isaak and other dissidents in the country. Mr. Isaak’s family, who lives in Sweden, had hoped for news of his location. Mr. Abdu said neither he nor any of the other ministers had that kind of information, as no one dared to ask.
“It is taboo to ask about things that are not related to one’s job. There is an old guerilla culture in the country. It carries out orders without asking why.”
He went on to say that it was routine to round up journalists and others without any kind of court order. He says only the president and his closest security advisers, know where people arrested in this manner are kept. Mr. Abdu also said he was sorry about the arrests.
Mr. Abdu did not answer questions about what prompted his defection from the government nor where he was living. He conducted the interview with the newspaper, via another brother, Saleh Younis, who lives in the United States of America.
“My brother is in shock right now,” Mr. Younis said. “He is sad and feeling disappointed at how an entire generation of Eritrea has been lost.”