Skip to main content
Advertising

Originally published Thursday, March 15, 2012 at 5:47 AM

  • Share:
           
  • Comments (3)
  • Print

Ethiopia carries out attacks against Eritrea

Ethiopian forces entered archrival Eritrea on Thursday and carried out what a government spokesman described as "a successful attack" against military posts.

Associated Press

Most Popular Comments
Hide / Show comments
How long has this war been going on now? 2 million years? MORE
Subversive group = The religion of peace MORE
Obama has committed troops to this region, and not a mention in the MSM. ... MORE

advertising

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia —

Ethiopian forces entered archrival Eritrea on Thursday and carried out what a government spokesman described as "a successful attack" against military posts.

Shimeles Kemal said Ethiopia launched the attack because Eritrea was training "subversive groups" that carried out attacks inside Ethiopia.

Ethiopia and Eritrea fought a border war from 1998 to 2000. Tensions have reignited between the countries in recent months.

No details about the military operations or any damage or casualties were immediately released.

The "Eritrea government has continued launching attacks at Ethiopia through its proxy groups. The attacks had continued. And the recent attacks against European tourists is one of the reasons for the retaliation," Shimeles said.

Militants attacked European tourists from five nations traveling in Ethiopia's arid north in January. Five tourists were killed and two were kidnapped. The two kidnapped German tourists have since been released.

Ethiopia blamed gunmen from Eritrea for the attack.

The attacks Thursday by Ethiopian forces took place about 10 miles (16 kilometers) inside Eritrea's territory in areas called Gelakalay and Gimbina, Shimeles said. The Ethiopian forces have returned to Ethiopia, he said.

"Today's measures do not constitute a direct military confrontation between the two countries. The Ethiopian defense force has entered into Eritrea and launched a successful attack against military posts that have been used to organize, finance and train the subversive groups," Shimeles said.

Shimeles said it was unlikely that Eritrea would retaliate because it is "not in a position to launch a counter attack."

Eritrea's ambassador to the Addis Ababa-based African Union, Girma Asmerom, didn't immediately respond to phone calls seeking comment.

Rashid Abdi, a regional analyst who formerly worked for the International Crisis Group, called Ethiopia's attack a "very unwelcome piece of news" that will affect the conflict in Somalia, where Ethiopian troops are fighting the militant group al-Shabab. He said the Ethiopia-Eritrea conflict could grow if the U.S. or EU doesn't step in to mediate.

"Even if Eritrea does not carry out a retaliatory strike, they will try to step things up in Somalia by rearming al-Shabab," he said. "Even though Ethiopia is the pre-eminent military power in East Africa, I doubt they have the capacity to fight two wars at once."

An Ethiopian government statement said it believes that disputes between neighboring countries should be resolved peacefully, but that efforts to reach a negotiated settlement were rebuffed and that Thursday's attack will "convey the right message" to Eritrea.

The border war between the two countries killed about 80,000 people. Recent signs have pointed to growing tension in the region.

Ethiopia's Prime Minister Meles Zenawi told the country's parliament in April that his government would actively support Eritrean opposition groups to help topple that country's regime. Ethiopia also blamed Eritrea for scheming bomb attacks on several targets in Addis Ababa during an African Union summit in January 2011.

Eritrea doesn't receive foreign aid and is sanctioned by the U.N. because of human rights violations. U.N. reports have indicated that Eritrea has supported the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab. Eritrea has denied those accusations.

---

Associated Press reporter Jason Straziuso in Nairobi, Kenya contributed to this report.

News where, when and how you want it

Email Icon


Advertising