Eritrea accuses four Britons of espionage and terrorism

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Saturday, June 11, 2011

The men made an unscheduled stop at Massawa port (

The government of Eritrea has accused four British men who were detained last December of espionage and terrorism. The men were working for Protection Vessels International (PVI), a maritime security company, when they disappeared on December 24, 2010. According to the company, the group was forced to make an unscheduled stop at the port of Massawa due to rough weather, refuelling and equipment repairs.

A statement made on television by the Eritrean authorities said that the men had a variety of weapons, including 18 sniper rifles and "1,700 bullets." The statement also claimed that "there is high possibility that such military hardware is intended for perpetrating acts of terrorism and sabotage." PVI hit back at the claims, saying that the weapons were "standard issue for antipiracy operations."

Paul Gibbins, a spokesman for PVI, spoke to the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph, saying "[t]his is a gross misunderstanding and we regret the situation that we find ourselves in. We will continue to work very hard for the men’s release and we welcome any dialogue with the Eritrean authorities."

Two of the four men being held are former Royal Marines. Three of the men have been named as Adrian Troy, Christopher Collison, and Alun Sims.