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Football: Eritrea withdraw from Africa Cup

Eritrea withdrew from the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying competition Sunday, the organisers said in a statement. The 'Red Sea Camels' were due to play fellow east Africans South Sudan during April in a two-leg preliminary tie. No explanation was given for the pull-out, but it could be linked to continuous defections when Eritrean football teams visit other countries. Nine players and a coach disappeared in Kenya last December when Eritrea were eliminated after the group stage of the East and Central Africa Senior Challenge Cup.

Eritrea under fire for righs abuses at UN review

Enforced disappearances, arbitrary detention and torture were just a few of the violations Eritrea was accused of during a UN review of its human rights record Monday. Diplomats gathered at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva condemned the isolated and autocratic country's brutal repression of basic rights, charging the lack of freedom was prompting a mass exodus.

Eritrea under fire for righs abuses at UN review

Enforced disappearances, arbitrary detention and torture were just a few of the violations Eritrea was accused of during a UN review of its human rights record Monday. Diplomats gathered at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva condemned the isolated and autocratic country's brutal repression of basic rights, charging the lack of freedom was prompting a mass exodus.

Italy arrests Somali gang leader for kidnap, rape of migrants

PALERMO, Italy (Reuters) - Italy has arrested a Somali for kidnapping, extortion and rape against desperate Eritrean migrants in a case that shines a light into the brutal criminal gangs trafficking people into Europe from Africa, police said on Friday. The case is based on testimony from the survivors of a shipwreck that killed more than 360 migrants off the coast of Sicily in October.

Priest claims Eritrea spies hunting shipwreck survivors in Italy

A priest at the head of an association helping survivors of immigrant shipwrecks in the Mediterranean on Thursday claimed mediators working with Italian police were in fact spies of the Eritrean regime. Don Mussie Zerai, who runs the Habeshia organisation, told journalists in Rome that some of the Eritrean translators and intermediaries working with Italian authorities to identify survivors of a deadly shipwreck in October were working for Eritrean President Issaias Afeworki's regime.

Eritreans protest in Italy as more migrants are rescued

By Naomi O'Leary and Steve Scherer ROME (Reuters) - Hundreds of Eritreans staged a symbolic funeral procession in front of Italy's parliament on Friday to remember refugees who drowned in a shipwreck this month, as ships rescued more than 700 seaborne migrants overnight. Italian naval and coast guard vessels rescued the migrants, including dozens of women and children, from five different boats in the waters between Sicily and North Africa, as European leaders tried to address a deepening immigration crisis.

Eritrean refugees rally in Rome after shipwreck tragedy

Eritrean refugees staged a small rally outside the Italian parliament on Friday after a shipwreck tragedy earlier this month in which 366 migrants -- most of them fleeing Eritrea -- drowned. Protesters called for more rights for migrants in Italy and railed against the regime of President Issaias Afeworki, who has ruled Eritrea with an iron grip since independence in 1993. "The only person responsible for the Lampedusa tragedy is the regime of Afeworki," read a T-shirt worn by one of the activists at the protest.

Migrant disaster survivors protest at exclusion from funeral ceremony

By Steve Scherer ROME (Reuters) - More than 100 survivors of a shipwreck in which hundreds of African immigrants died burst through the gates of a holding center on the Italian island of Lampedusa on Monday in a protest against the refusal of authorities to allow them to attend a funeral ceremony for the victims. The survivors of the October 3 disaster tried to catch a ferry to the Sicilian city of Agrigento, where an official ceremony was held 200 km (125 miles) from the island, Italy's southernmost point.

Eritrea blames US 'conspiracy' for migrant boat tragedy

Eritrea's government has issued a furious attack on the United States, blaming it for the deaths of more than 300 men, women and children last week in a shipwreck off the Italian island of Lampedusa. A statement from Asmara accused the country's enemies of using human trafficking as a "ploy" aimed at "paralysing the indomitable people and government of Eritrea".

Paris-based radio broke shipwreck news to Eritreans

When tragedy struck off Italy's coast last week, it was a Paris-based radio station that broke the news to Eritrea, home to a majority of the 300-plus men, women and children feared dead in the shipwreck. State media in the tiny Horn of Africa nation made no mention of the Eritrean nationals who perished last Thursday near the southern island of Lampedusa. Their boat caught fire in the worst recent migrant disaster in the Mediterranean.
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