Human rights group Amnesty International has criticized Eritrea over a mass arrest last week of thousands of youths suspected of evading military conscription.

The London-based group says the detainees are being held at the Adi Abeto army prison near Asmara, where they are at risk of torture and mistreatment. It says Eritrean security forces indiscriminately arrested suspects at their homes, shops, offices and road blocks last Thursday.

Amnesty also accused Eritrean prison officials of opening fire on detainees at the Adi Abeto prison during an apparent escape attempt following the arrests.

The country's Minister of Information says two detainees were crushed by a wall that collapsed during the escape attempt. But Amnesty International cites sources as saying as many as 12 people were shot and killed by security forces.