The Eritrean government has described as a hoax, reports that men in the country were ordered to marry at least two wives or face life imprisonment.
“Even a madman in [the Eritrean capital] Asmara would know that this story was not true,” an Eritrean official told BBC News on Thursday.
Eritrean Information Minister Yemane Gebremeskel tweeted that
“The media frenzy to parrot this ludicrous, fabricated and trite story…is appalling”
“The story illustrates [the] vileness of the dark forces of disinformation and proclivity of others to readily embrace the negative narrative on Eritrea.”
The story was first published online Monday in a satirical column of Kenyan newspaper the Standard called Crazy Monday. Citing an alleged government memo leaked by “activists,” the article said Eritrean officials had asked men to marry at least two women “due to acute shortage of men” following a civil war with Ethiopia as Eritrea sought independence.
According to IBTimes, the satirical article was trending on Twitter and was shared several times by African media organizations. Sahara Reporters has already retracted their version of the story, acknowledging that it was false.
Social media users responded to the story with laughter, shock and outrage, and all kinds of hilarious memes surfaced online, such as these: