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Eritrea conscripts 'killed in escape bid'

BBC News BBC News 6/04/2016
Eritrean Army parades during the country's independence anniversary celebrations attended by a 13,000-strong crowd 24 May 2003, at Asmara main square: Many Eritreans flee to avoid long-term conscription into the army © AFP Many Eritreans flee to avoid long-term conscription into the army

Security forces in Eritrea's capital Asmara have killed several young conscripts who tried to escape the convoy they were travelling in, according to opposition media outlets.

Grey line © BBC Grey line

There were also civilian casualties after some of the recruits' friends and family used a bus to block the road to help them escape, according to the unconfirmed reports.

Conscription in Eritrea is compulsory.

The Eritrean authorities have not commented on the alleged incident.

Rights groups consider Eritrea to be one of the world's most repressive states.

In 2015, it ranked bottom of the World Press Freedom Index, published by media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

Conscription in Eritrea can last for decades and is one of the main reasons tens of thousands flee the country every year.

More about Eritrea:

Inside the secretive state of Eritrea

Eritrean life in pictures

The lone seven-year-olds leaving Eritrea

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