It is now compulsory for Eritrean men to marry more than one wife due to an acute shortage of men occasioned by casualties during the civil war with Ethiopia. They men risk being jailed for life if they refuse.
The order was contained in a statement in Arabic by the Grand Mufti (the highest official of religious law in the country) which scanned copy surfaced on social media sites on Thursday last week.
In the statement, Eritrea called for all men in the country to marry at least two wives and the government assured the men that it would pay for the marriage ceremonies and houses.
Afkinsider.com said the document, which could not be independently verified, warned that any man or woman who opposes the decision “will face a life sentence”.
The statement says
“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.”
More than 150,000 Eritrean soldiers were killed during the secession war from Ethiopia between 1998 and 2000. At the time Eritrea had about four million people.
Eritrea, is a country in theHorn of Africa. With its capital at Asmara, it is bordered by Sudan in the west, Ethiopia in the south, and Djibouti in the southeast. The northeastern and eastern parts of Eritrea have an extensive coastline along the Red Sea, across from Saudi Arabia and Yemen.