Asmara – The Eritrean government has reportedly ordered local men to marry more than one wife or risk being sent to prison for life.
According to reports, activists posted a statement allegedly by the government of Eritrea on the internet, asking men to marry at least two wives due to an acute shortage of men caused by casualties during the civil war with Ethiopia.
Punch reported that the statement by the Eritrean Department of Religious Affairs was written in Arabic and it said the following:
“Based on the law of God in polygamy, and given the circumstances which the country is experiencing in terms of men shortage, the Eritrean department of Religious Affairs has decided on the following:
“First that every man shall marry at least two women and the man who refuses to do so shall be subjected to life imprisonment with hard labour.”
“The woman who tries to prevent her husband from marrying another wife shall be punished to life imprisonment.”
The government agreed to pay for the marriage ceremonies and homes for the men taking on a second wife, the statement said.
Afkinsider said the statement could not be independently verified.
It was also not clear why the statement was not in the other two national languages, Tigrinya and Tigre.
At least 150 000 Eritrean soldiers were killed during the secession war from Ethiopia which took place between 1998 and 2000. Eritrea had a population of approximately four million people at the time.
Social media took to Twitter to express their mixed reactions.