Ethiopia: Dying For a Patch of Sand


August 28, 2007: Ethiopia has agreed to attend peace talks with Eritrea (in Holland) next week. Both nations are deadlocked over who should own a patch of disputed desert on their common border. In the last nine years, over 70,000 soldiers have died in battles that attempted to settle the matter by force. That has not worked, but negotiations have not been successful either.

August 27, 2007: The government said will continue to seek investors who will develop mining and petroleum resources in the country. This was the response to the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) which threatened to attack oil and mineral exploration teams in the Ogaden region. Most of the people who livein the Ogaden region are ethnic Somalis. In fact, many Somalis regard the Ogaden as one of Somalia's "missing regions." In April the ONLF attacked a Chinese-owned oil rig in the Ogaden.

August 25, 2007: Senior leaders in Somalia's Islamic Courts militia organization have started a new political offensive against Ethiopia. The Islamic Courts has vowed to force Ethiopia to remove its troops from Somalia. In a recent statement, the Islamic Courts accused Ethiopia of intending to "colonize" Somalia.

August 19, 2007: Eritrea has once again moved troops into the Temporary Security Zone (TSZ) which separates Ethiopia and Eritrea. Approximately 4,000 troops, supported by tanks and artillery, took up new positions in the TSZ in early August. Eritrea has around 120,000 troops near the border area. Ethiopia has approximately 100,000 troops within striking distance of the disputed border region.


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