U.S. Accused of Fueling Ethiopia-Eritrea Border Conflict

June 22, 2016 at 08:00 am | News

Fredrick Ngugi

Fredrick Ngugi | Contributor

June 22, 2016 at 08:00 am | News

Eritrea has accused the U.S. of arming Ethiopia in the ongoing East African border conflict. Eritrea-Chat.com

The Eritrean Ministry of Information has accused the United States of America of fueling the recent border conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea. Issuing a statement on Friday, the Eritrean government blamed the U.S. for arming Ethiopian forces and assisting them to carry out the recent attacks.

“Eritrea is aware of Washington’s instigation not only of attack against Eritrea that the Ethiopian forces launched last Sunday, June 12, 2016, but also in its deployment of weapons along the border for a much expanded offensive,” the statement alleged.

The ministry also dismissed a recent statement by the U.S. State Department requesting the two nations to exercise restraint, terming it as “crocodile tears.”

Eritrean-Ethiopian Border Clash

According to the Sudan Tribune, hundreds of soldiers are believed to have died and many others wounded following a deadly clash between Ethiopian and Eritrean forces in Tserona town, which is about 75 kilometers from Eritrea’s capital, Asmara.

The two nations have been trading accusations over who is to blame for the recent border conflict.

A day after the clash in Tserona, Ethiopian Communications Minister Mr. Getachew Reda told Voice of America that Eritrean forces near the border had made an unusual, aggressive movement, prompting Ethiopian troops to respond.

“It was just a skirmish because Eritrea’s side moved in a fashion that is unusual under the circumstances because it’s been a long time since Eritrea’s regular army even ventured outside of their ditches, their trenches,” Reda said.

He added that the government of Ethiopia has already requested its citizens in the affected region to vacate due to artillery fire.

On Tuesday, Eritrea’s presidential advisor Yemane Ghebreab told the U.N. Human Rights Council that Ethiopia is preparing to launch a full-scale war with Eritrea.

A History of Conflict

Ethiopia and Eritrea have had a longstanding border conflict that has often led to loss of life, displacement of people, and destruction of property in the villages situated along the border.

In 1998, the two countries were engulfed in a border conflict which escalated into a full-scale war involving heavy artillery and military airstrikes.

Ethiopian troops launched air attacks on an Eritrean airport at Asmara, prompting the Eritrean side to retaliate by attacking one of Ethiopia’s airports at Mekele.

The war, which ended in 2000, left many civilians dead on both sides of the border while Ethiopia occupied all the disputed territories and advanced further into Eritrea.

A U.N. commission formed after the war to address territorial differences between Ethiopia and Eritrea concluded that Badme, the disputed territory, belongs to Eritrea. As of today, however, Ethiopia still occupies the area.

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