Ethiopia: Land Wars


June 17, 2006: Tribal warfare in southern Ethiopia ( 400 kilometers south of the capital), between Guji and Borena tribesmen, has forced over 20,000 people to flee their homes. The causes of the strife are economic, mostly about control of land. The fighting has been going on for over a month, and has left nearly 200 dead. Unlike the border dispute with Eritrea, the tribal battles in southern Ethiopia are over productive land.

June 16, 2006: Ethiopia moved several thousand troops to the Somali border, as Islamic militants on the Somali side took control of the border area. Ethiopia feared that the Islamic militants might cross the border and still up the ethnic Somalis living on the Ethiopian side.

June 15, 2006: Ethiopia once again accused Eritrea of "showing no interest" in ending their border dispute. That's a bit of a stretch on Ethiopia's part. Ethiopia has rejected the "binding" boundary commission's decision. Eritrea says it will not re-enter negotiations unless Ethiopia agrees (again) to abide by the terms of the April 2002 boundary commission decision.

June 14, 2006: UNMEE (UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea) reported that the military situation in the Temporary Security Zone (TSZ) remains "stable but tense." This usually means that UN observers are not seeing any troops build-ups in and around the border area. In the past week the UN reported UNMEE ran 645 ground patrols. De-mining operations also continue. A Bangladeshi engineer unit and deminers from Kenya have been conducting demining in the UN operational area. A UN spokesman confirmed a report that one person died and one person was killed on May 22 when an anti-tank mine detonated in Sector West. The individuals were not named nor described but the briefer said the victims were "tampering" with the mine.

June 13, 2006: Eritrea continues to enforce its ban on UNMEE helicopter flights. Some ground patrols to observe the border area are also inhibited in TSZ Sector Center and Sector West.

June 12, 2006: The president of Sudan met with the president of Eritrea-- a sign that relations between the two East African states have improved. Eritrea has been acting as a "go between" for talks between the Sudan's Eastern Front rebels and the Sudanese government.

June 2, 2006: Eritrea called the UN decision to reduce peacekeepers and observers in UNMEE "unjust." On May 31 the UN decided to reduce the number of troops from 3300 to 2300.


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