Dissident Eritrean troops demand release of political prisoners

ADDIS ABABA Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:39am EST

ADDIS ABABA Jan 21 (Reuters) - Dissident Eritrean troops laying siege to the Red Sea state's Ministry of Information forced the director of state television on Monday to demand on-air the release of all political prisoners, a senior intelligence source said.

The United Nations last year estimated that 5,000-10,000 political prisoners were being held in the secretive Horn of Africa country, which is accused by human rights groups of carrying out torture and summary executions.

"The soldiers have forced him to speak on state TV, to say the Eritrean government should release all political prisoners," the source told Reuters on condition of anonymity. (Writing by Richard Lough; Editing by Kevin Liffey)