Home | News    Thursday 12 June 2008

Two dead in Djibouti, Eritrea border clash

separation
increase
decrease
separation
separation

June 11, 2008 (DJIBOUTI) — Djibouti called up retired police and soldiers on Wednesday after a clash with Eritrean troops killed at least two and wounded 21 others on their shared border over looking strategic Red Sea shipping lanes.

Eritrea, without confirming or denying the clashes, dismissed Djibouti’s statements as "anti-Eritrean".

The first fighting since 1996 between two of Africa’s smallest states broke out on Tuesday, after a nearly two-month standoff. Djibouti hosts French and U.S. military bases and is the main route to the sea for Eritrea’s arch-foe Ethiopia.

Djibouti said the clash began after Eritrean soldiers deserted and the Eritreans fired on them, prompting return fire. A second outbreak followed when Eritrean soldiers demanded their deserters back.

Fighting continued on Wednesday in the Mount Gabla area of northern Djibouti, Djibouti’s Defence Ministry said.

Police officers and soldiers who retired from 2004 to 2008 were ordered to reintegrate with their units, a government statement said.

Mount Gabla, also known as Ras Doumeira, overlooks the strategic Bab al-Mandib straits, which are a major shipping route to and from Europe and the Middle East.

Eritrea’s Foreign Ministry said it would not "get involved in an invitation of squabbles and acts of hostility".

"(Djibouti) has been making continued futile attempts to drag the government of Eritrea into its concocted animosity," a statement said.

A Reuters witness at a French hospital in Djibouti said helicopters had ferried in dead and wounded soldiers.

"PICKING A FIGHT"

In mid-April, Djibouti accused Eritrea of digging trenches and building fortifications on the Djiboutian side of the frontier. Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki told Reuters in a recent interview that was a "fabrication".

"It’s just another case of Eritrea picking a fight and finding itself in a position of hostility towards the main Western players in the region," said Patrick Smith, editor of the Africa Confidential newsletter.

"Eritrea is sending out a warning to Djibouti in particular saying if it chooses to go with Ethiopia then it’s opening itself up to conflict with Asmara," he said.

Djibouti’s army says nearly 75 percent of its 11,000 troops are now along its boundary with Eritrea, which is one of Africa’s most militarised states and has more than 200,000 soldiers as part of a mandatory conscription programme.

Djibouti and Eritrea are two of Africa’s smallest nations with populations of 820,000 and 4.7 million respectively.

Djibouti hosts two foreign military bases, including one of France’s biggest overseas contingents and a U.S. counter-terrorism task force of about 2,000 soldiers — many of them elite special forces who work with Ethiopian troops.

Former colonial power France signed a mutual defence pact with Djibouti after independence in 1977.

It is also a vital route for landlocked Ethiopia, which has vowed to protect its shipping access in Djibouti if necessary.

Ethiopia blamed Eritrea for the clash.

"Ethiopia firmly believes that such unwarranted action should be stopped immediately and peaceful and diplomatic solution must be sought for the problem," Bereket Simon, special adviser to Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, told Reuters.

Djibouti has turned itself into a regional shipping hub after massive investment from Dubai.

Eritrea and Ethiopia fought a border war in 1998-2000 that killed 70,000 people, and lingering enmity has fuelled conflict in neighbouring Somalia and in Ethiopia’s Ogaden region.

(Reuters)

Comments on the Sudan Tribune website must abide by the following rules. Contravention of these rules will lead to the user losing their Sudan Tribune account with immediate effect.

- No inciting violence
- No inappropriate or offensive language
- No racism, tribalism or sectarianism
- No inappropriate or derogatory remarks
- No deviation from the topic of the article
- No advertising, spamming or links
- No incomprehensible comments

Due to the unprecedented amount of racist and offensive language on the site, Sudan Tribune tries to vet all comments on the site.

There is now also a limit of 400 words per comment. If you want to express yourself in more detail than this allows, please e-mail your comment as an article to comment@sudantribune.com

Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

Comment on this article



The following ads are provided by Google. SudanTribune has no authority on it.



Sudan Tribune

Promote your Page too

Latest Comments & Analysis


What Makes an Uprising? 2021-09-03 17:29:45 By: Dr Lam Akol* In an undated article, Hon. Atem Garang de Kuek discussed what was required for an uprising in South Sudan to succeed as did three uprisings in the recent history of Sudan (...)

Is IGAD partly responsible for current confusion in South Sudan? 2021-08-21 09:41:17 By Bol Khan In April 2016, Radio Tamazuj posted and answered questions about the fainting Security arrangements or demilitarization of the capital, Juba as stipulated in 2015's signed ARCSS and (...)

South Sudan People Coalition for Civil Action (PCCA) is to create warlords 2021-08-19 11:06:28 By Steve Paterno In South Sudan, where just about everyone has access to guns (tons of them), and almost every ambitious politician is a potential warlord, any slight destabilization of the (...)


MORE






Latest Press Releases


Statemeny bu Hala al-Karib to UN Security Council on women conditions in Sudan 2021-09-15 11:59:16 Statement by Ms Hala Al-Karib to the UN Security Council 14 September 2021 Madam President, Excellencies, My name is Hala Al-Karib and I am the Regional Director of the Strategic Initiative (...)

Joint Communiqué on the visit of H.E. the Prime Minister of the Republic of Sudan to Juba 2021-08-23 11:23:26 19 – 21 August 2021 His Excellency Dr Abdallah Hamdok, Prime Minister of the Republic of the Sudan and Chairperson of IGAD, accompanied by Ministers of Defence, Foreign Affairs, Trade, (...)

S. Korea supports UN communities building resilience project in Sudan’s Blue Nile 2019-09-09 09:26:41 UNDP Sudan September 5, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - An agreement was signed on 5th of September between the Korean Ambassador, His Excellency. Lee Ki-Seong and Dr. Selva Ramachandran, Resident (...)


MORE

Copyright © 2003-2021 SudanTribune - All rights reserved.