Ethiopia: Tension


January 10, 2008: The Ethiopia-Eritrea border region remains tense. A firefight in late December 2007 put troops on both sides of the border on alert. While this seems like old news, it is still bad news. Though there is little likelihood of renewed combat between Ethiopia and Eritrea –at least in the near future— post-election ethnic strife in Kenya has shaken the region. Kenya was supposed to be "the stable country" in the area. It is possible that Kenya's troubles will force the hotheads in Eritrea and Ethiopia to take a deep breath.

December 28, 2007: The Ethiopian government claimed that unit in the Ethiopian Army had "annihilated" a rebel band belonging to the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF). The statement said that the army had captured over 100 AK-47 automatic rifles.

December 27, 2007: Eritrea accused Ethiopia of launching an attack on Eritrean forces along the Eritrea-Ethiopia border. The alleged attack occurred in the South Tsorona area. Ethiopia denied the claim. However, an Ethiopian government spokesman said that two recon teams (Ethiopian and Eritrean) may have had "an accidental encounter" in the area.

December 25, 2007: Ethiopia claims that 600 people a month are fleeing Eritrea for sanctuary in Ethiopia. The Ethiopian claim follows reports that the Eritrean government is cracking down on outspoken political opposition groups. The Eritrean Peoples Democratic Front (an opposition organization) has claimed that the situation within Eritrea is increasingly desperate.

December 24, 2007: One year ago today Ethiopia launched its long-anticipated attack on the Islamic Courts militia in Somalia. In the opening hours of the offensive, Ethiopian Air Force planes struck a number of targets near the Ethiopia-Somalia border and Islamist militia positions between the border and Mogadishu.


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