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'We'd leave tomorrow if we could': life in Eritrea for those left behind

Thousands of people flee the country illegally every month to skip military service, but getting out is too expensive for most Outside a cafe on the crossroads of a busy intersection in Asmara, three 25-year-olds sip macchiatos and catch up on the latest gossip in the bright morning sunshine. The conversation soon turns to people who have “skipped”, a term for those who have fled Eritrea to escape the indefinite national service programme.
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