Ethiopia: Water Supplies Shrink, Violence Increases


April 21, 2006: The regional drought is causing more tribal bloodshed over ever more scarce water supplies. A particularly nasty situation has developed on the Sudan border, where Nuer tribesmen, from both sides of the border, attack each other for control of water. In the last week, raids by Sudanese Nuer have left at least twenty dead.

April 20, 2006: The UN Security Council has deferred until mid-May a final decision on reducing the UN operation along the Eritrean-Ethiopian border. The UN is urging Eritrea and Ethiopia to resolve their border dispute (ie, accept the boundary commission decisions). However, if Eritrea and Ethiopia have not made progress by mid-May the Security Council will consider reducing forces in the region and "downgrading" the mission from a peacekeeping mission to an observer mission.. This would increase the possibility of armed conflict. Eritrea's ban on UN helicopter flights in its area has greatly restricted the UN's ability to monitor troops levels in the border zone. Some 3,300 troops serve with the UN monitoring force.

April 18, 2006: Eritrea refused to lift its restrictions on UN peacekeepers and observers in its border zone.

The Ethiopian government accused the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) of conducting attacks along the Ethiopia-Kenya border. The alleged attacks occurred in the border area near Marsabit.

April 16, 2006: Over the weekend, there were three incidents in eastern and western Ethiopia where grenades were thrown into two bars and a Protestant church. These attacks left six dead and two dozen wounded. No one took credit.

April 15, 2006: The UN Security Council decided to extend the current mandate for the UN Missions in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) beyond its April 15 expiration date. The mandate was extended for a month, until May 15.

April 7, 2006: Ethiopia and Kenya reached a new security agreement designed to stop Oromo rebels from moving across the Kenya-Ethiopian border. Kenya reported that ten people were killed in an attack on a Drukana tribal village in north Kenya. Cattle were also stolen in the incident. Ethiopia believes the attack was made by rebels in the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF). Ethiopia claims that the OLF guerrillas sometimes wear stolen Ethiopian Army uniforms.

.April 5, 2006: Ethiopia announced that it will build three new hydroelectric dams. The power will be sold to Sudan, Djibouti and Kenya. These three nations are also Ethiopia's "favored neighbors." Ethiopia uses its water and power resources as a diplomatic tool.


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