African intellectuals call for more freedom in Eritrea

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A group of more than 100 African writers, intellectuals and activists have written an open letter to Eritrea’s president, Isaias Afwerk  calling on him to “restore” his country to its “rightful place in the family of African nations”.

The authors, including Nigerian playwright Wole Soyinka, American-Ethiopian writer Maaza Mengiste and Kenyan anti-corruption campaigner John Githongo express solidarity with the people of Eritrea, saying, “Eritrea has been described as the most closed society on our continent”.

They call on the president to, among other things, release imprisoned journalists.

“Equally, we are disheartened by the plight of the many thousands of Africans, including some Eritreans, who feel compelled to flee their home countries in search of a better life for themselves and their families.” they added

The letter-writers want to send a delegation to the capital, Asmara, to talk to the president “as well as with ordinary citizens, including journalists, writers, and other persons currently in prison”.

There has been no response so far from the Eritrean government.

Bbc/Nneka Ukachukwu