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SBD Global/December 7, 2012/International Football

Eritrean National Football Team Seeking Asylum In Uganda

Officials said Wednesday that the "missing" Eritrean national football team "has applied for asylum in Uganda rather than return home," according to the AFP. Uganda's Junior Minister for Refugees Musa Ecweru said, "The 18 members have told us their country is not safe for them once they return, and they want political asylum. They are in the hands of the Ugandan government and United Nations, and we have given them protection." He said that if the players pass an eligibility test, "they will be given refugee status" (AFP, 12/6). SUDAN TRIBUNE's Tesfa-Alem Tekle reported this is the third time that the Eritrean national team "has chosen to claim asylum in an African nation when playing outside the Horn of Africa nation." The Ethiopia-based Eritrean opposition group, Red Sea Afar Democratic Organization, on Tuesday said that the latest defection of the Eritrean football team shows the level of "political oppression in Eritrea, as well as the nation's worsening economic and social crises." Human rights groups "have repeatedly labeled the Red Sea nation one of the world's most-repressive regimes and worst violator of human rights" (SUDAN TRIBUNE, 12/4).
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