Isaias Afewerki says detained British nationals possessed arms
April. 30 2011
Four British nationals detained in Eritrea late last year possessed large amounts of arms, Eritrean President Isaias Afewerki said late on Friday.
British media reports said four ex-Royal Marines were arrested by an Eritrean naval vessel after a gunbattle on December 24 as they guarded a merchant ship from pirates in the Indian Ocean.
The London-based newspaper The Sun reported last month the four were seized by Eritrea's navy. Another two had escaped by boat, the paper added.
"They possessed countless amounts of arms, including sniper rifles. If you come to my house with a gun, don't I have the right to defend myself?" Isaias said in an interview with the state-run Eri TV.
The Eritrean leader did not say whether the group would be charged or whether their embassy would be granted consular access to them.