First interview with Eritrea’s Ali Abdu: Information Minister confirms: Has left the regime

Ali AbduExpressen 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.”


37 thoughts on “First interview with Eritrea’s Ali Abdu: Information Minister confirms: Has left the regime

  1. Yeah right. Since few months ago Ali Abdu was the president right hand and contribuited to crimes and disinformation. Now he pretends people forget bout that. His family had been arrested, well…what goes around comes around!!!!

    • well said Alan. We can not buy this. He has been a right hand to the dictator and misguided our people, and now when he realizes that the dictators ship is sinking, he pretends to be empathetic to our people. wwh
      This is contempt for the people. Who thinks he is?!

    • please don’t say that.u have no idea how people live in fear right here.they are forced to follow his far as i knew ali abdu he was like my father,the nicest and coolest dad.his family was on the line if he ever had to do something against him,everyone is. i hope we as eritreans c a change and i really can’t wait to hug my best friend Ciham Ali,her grandpa and her awesome uncle.

  2. This is a mafia state, when they were fighting with Ethiopia they came with agenda which they built long time ago but for the sake of Eritrea. They are now ready to annex Eritrea to Ethiopia if a government that fits with their is present anytime. There will be no solution except to eradicate them through the assassination of the president and his allies. Assassination through mafia ppl like them.

  3. Yes his Father is a gentle and fighter for democracy, but you and your president are going to be on court one to answer and pay for the loss of all the journalists and innocent people you have killed and arrested.

  4. Ali,
    I understand that you might be scared of reprisal but the least you owe us Eritrean Falk is the truth. please come out and expose the bandits. you will redeem yourself that way.

    • you are right Wedi memhir that is a good idea please Mr Ali expose the dictator once and for all thanks

  5. Ali Abdu, Congratulation on the arrest of your family members. I feel sad on the victims of your family members, but I am happy on the pressure and stess you feel this time. So many people have cried because of the dictator. And you were a messanger of your lord Issayas. You will also have a dark history in the history of Eritrea.

    • TST he doesn’t care about his family,he put his own father in prison TST he doesn’t care about his family, he put his own father in prison not long time ago and could you belive that “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.”

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  7. You Ali abdu re such a rubbish someone. After killing alot of innocent Eritreans coming out from the country and talking as if you’re out of it. You & your boss ll be in court in the coming free Eritrea. Good for you as you see how people feels of arresting their families if you ve mind as human.

  8. Why is he so worried about Dawit? Is this to attract the Swedish attention for his assylum?
    We have so many problems in Eritrea. What Eritreans need is for Ali to undo what he did when he was in power. Expose the government and fight for freedom of Eritreans. Short of that, he is nothing but another opportunist. We don’t need crocodile tears. Ali will be charged with crime along with his boss the dictator any time soon.

  9. Well well, Ali Abdu you seem to have saved your own life.
    is it right to say then that the Eritrean ‘government Ministers’ are Ministers Without Conscience?

    Why are all the so called Ministers and ex Ministers chose to turn blind eye and silence when they know it was a crime being committed against Eritrean citizens/people?

    Is it true then some of the so called ministers are implicated with the vastly alleged crimes and one of their reasons for remaining silent is their own implications?

    What is the meaning of freedom and a sovereign country then if the so called president and ministers are reportedly killing, imprisoning, kidnapping, raping …. the innocent citizens?

    I am of the view that Eritrea has no government and there has never been since 1991/93. What we have is a bunch of criminal gangs/mafia.

    As for the imprisonment of Ali Abdu’s father , young daughter as well as other relatives it is very sad and I can only wish that they are safe and pray for their safe release. As victims of the dictatorial regime, my thoughts are with them and their families.

    I somehow have a great respect and trust on our friend Saleh Younis that in a democratic Eritrea and when ever possible he will be the first person to ensure that the alleged crimes committed by his brother Ali Abdu are fully investigated and ensure justice to take its course.
    In fact , I would like to call upon Ali Abdu to speak out, tell the truth and his honest account of events, crimes, allegations of crimes to the Eritrean People. At least be the first Minister to apologise to the Eritrean People for his cooperation with the dictator and express his readiness to cooperate with all the investigations in due course .

  10. The last commentator made a lot f sense. If Ali Abdu is wise enough, it is only the right thing to do to come forth and first publicly apologize for the Eritrean people for all his cooperation with his manic boss, and at the. Same time cooperate with concerned Eritreans public ally to expose this Dictator. I am sure people will forgive!

  11. Mr Ali, you are one of them that drill the blood of many innocent Eritreans so now you are trying to make yourself as you were unaware of all the things that was happened in Eritrea, Naj naj …………

    • ali abdu why you crying why you care about your families ?thoseyou killed lost ,captured free innhonet eritrean peaple.but you and your dictator parties did a casting no forgiveup for ever
      .but if you alive you will see the finision of the game

  12. How sad episode and worn be the first or the last – a minister defects but can’t stand up and confront the evil regime. It can’t be because they feel guilty for being his right hand men but too scared as the system had taken away their confidence. We welcome them to pick up the pieces they dismantled.

  13. How sad episode and won’t be the the last – a minister defects but can’t stand up and confront the evil regime. It can’t be because he feels guilty for being the evil man’s right hand but too scared as the system had taken away his confidence. We welcome him to pick up the pieces he dismantled.

  14. I don’t know what Mr. Saleh Younis thinks about the life of Eritrean people anymore.Does he think Eritrean people forgive his brother for the crime he did easily? I don’t think so, because he was part of gangsters ruling party. As a minister of information he has inside out about the disappearance of the people of Eritrea. Now he don’t have to feel sorry for as to save his own life. More embarrassing his brother came out to cover his sorry ass today. So many Eritreans carries out it’s pain for so long in this hard road struggle with out silence. Now the risk comes to themselves knocking to their doors, they’re trying to pretending they weren’t part of the guerrilla themselves. There is nothing left we know your old games and operations . your secret is left in the open.

  15. You Eritrean people, please be wise. You should respect & support the defection of Mr. Ali Abdo, former information Minister of Eritrea. If you don’t respect & support such actions by Eritrean higher officials, no one will come again. So please be wise & patient.The Enemy of Eritrea is Isaias Afeworki, not his servants who have no decision power on them selves.

  16. We should support & encourage to defections of the servants of his brutality Isaias Afeworki for the simple logic that our enemy is the Dictator & the servant.

    • I agree to support defection, but Ali is rascal and as brutal as the dictator and i will never forgive him.


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  21. Father, daughter and brother arrested. A stupid son is a shame to his parents and and a disgrace to his family.

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