The top leadership of Eritrea’s government met publicly on two occasions over the past week, at two funerals.
The first was that of Alamin Mohamed Seid, 74, secretary of the governing single party Popular Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ), of which he was one of the founders, who died on November 15. Alamin Mohamed Seid, a Muslim originally from the province of Massawa, joined the Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF) at a very young age, within which he held numerous top positions, becoming one of its main leaders.
Alamin was the only member of the executive of the single governing party – together with President Isaias Afwerki – who came from the original leadership of the ELF, and his particular closeness to the President, of whom he has always been a strong political supporter, was well known.
Alamin Mohamed Said had trained militarily in Syria during the 1970s, subsequently maintaining intense ties in the region for the next two decades, politically supporting the ELF’s military effort against the Ethiopian DERG regime.
After the military victory and Eritrea’s independence, Alamin had served as Minister of Culture and Information, while at the third congress of the EPLF (Eritrean People’s Liberation Front) party he was elected along with Isaias Afwerki to the executive council of the new PFDJ party.
Notoriously a staunch supporter of the president, he died after a brief stay in Saudi Arabia, where he had gone for a series of conferences. Despite the utmost secrecy on the cause of death, rumors have been chasing about the real possibility that it occurred as a result of Covid-19, for the treatment of which Eritrea ranks last in the world.
The funeral of Alamin Mohamed Seid was attended by President Isaias Afwerki, Presidential Advisor Yemane Ghebreab and the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, Gen. Filipos Woldeyohannes, who recently rose to international fame as a result of his inclusion in the list of those affected by US sanctions.
The second solemn funeral was that of former Brigadier General Negash Tesfatsion, who died at the age of 84 in Asmara on November 18. Formerly a prominent member of the EPLF armed forces, the general fought since the early ’70s of the last century in the long civil war against Ethiopia and then the DERG regime, then holding top positions after the victory against Ethiopia in 1991.
The funeral of Negash Tesfatsion, held on November 19, was attended by Presidential Advisor Yemane Ghebreab and the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, Gen. Filipos Woldeyohannes,
while President Isaias Afwerki did not attend.