Eritrea Mulling Response for Ethiopian Attack inside its Territory

Unless addressed accordingly, this could be the beginning of Ethiopia's evil design to start an all-out war

From News Agencies,

Ethiopia said on Thursday it had carried out an attack inside Eritrea on Ethiopian rebels it says are based and trained there, several weeks after accusing the Eritrean government of planning a kidnapping of Western tourists.

Ethiopia called the missile and ground army attack inside Eritrean territory as an “act of retaliation”. 

Government spokesman Shimeles Kemal says Ethiopian ground forces moved 16 kilometers into Eritrea late Wednesday and launched what he called a “successful attack” against a military post used by “subversive groups.”

The places reportedly attacked were Ramid, Gelahbe and Gimbi, some 16km inside south-eastern Eritrea.

Shimeles, speaking at a news conference in Addis Ababa, said the attack did “not constitute a direct military confrontation between armies,” but gave no further details on the operation.

The spokesman downplayed possible retaliation from Eritrea, saying Asmara was not in a position to launch a counter-attack. However, unconfirmed sources from Asmara indicated that Eritrean authorities were meeting to discuss how to respond to the attack.

There has been no word on casualties or damage from the attack, and no immediate comment from Eritrea.

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By Expatica France,

France urged Ethiopia and Eritrea to show restraint on Thursday and to find a negotiated solution to their differences after Ethiopian forces carried out a cross border raid.

An Ethiopian spokesman said that his government’s forces had attacked an Eritrean military base on Thursday, claiming that it had served as a rear base for gunmen involved in the killing of five European tourists earlier this year.

In the night of Wednesday to Thursday the Ethiopian army conducted an operation aimed at destroying three camps in southeast Eritrea,” French foreign ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said in a statement.

Valero said the incursion had targeted camps “which Addis Abeba accuses Asmara of using to train rebel groups operating on Ethiopian territory”.

“Following these new events, which come only a few weeks after attacks on foreign tourists in Ethiopia, France expresses its deep concern,” he added.

“France urges both states to avoid military escalation and, more broadly, to avoid raising tension. France believes the only way of resolving the dispute between the two countries is through dialogue and negotiation.”

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By VOA News,

Eritrean Information Minister Ali Abdu said Ethiopia’s admission of its military attack is a calculated ploy to divert the international community’s attention from its continuous 10-year occupation of Eritrean territory.

He expressed little surprise that Ethiopia embarked on what he called “a military bellicosity that encroaches on Eritrea’s sovereignty.”

Abdu said Eritrea is not to blame for what he said is Ethiopia’s failure to resolve its internal crisis.

By its own admission, it’s an aggression against the sovereignty of Eritrean territory,” said Abdu.  “The internal crisis in Ethiopia is due to the marginalization and exclusion of minor Ethiopian groups [because] of the regime’s narrow and backward policy of divide and rule being conducted by the Ethiopian regime.”

Ethiopia announced its forces attacked a military base inside Eritrea as an act of retaliation after accusing its neighbor of sponsoring groups that have carried out attacks inside Ethiopia.

Ethiopian government spokesman Shimeles Kemal said Ethiopian troops moved 16 kilometers into Eritrea early Thursday and launched what he called a “successful attack” against two military posts used by “subversive groups.”

Ethiopia has often accused Eritrea of backing rebel groups that attack targets in Ethiopia’s Afar area.  But, Abdu said Ethiopia’s accusations that Eritrea supports terrorism are like accusing (inventor) Thomas Edison of supporting darkness.

“We have fought terrorism long ago before it became the talk of the town for politicians… and who are these terrorist subversive groups?” asked Abdu.  “Almost all Ethiopians are fighting against the regime for the obvious reason because the regime is pursuing a narrow, corrupted policy, which services a very small family of the elite.”

Abdu said Asmara resists being dragged into “this kind of acrimony and provocation.”  He said the Eritrean government is pondering its next line of action.

In its “final and binding” ruling on April 13th 2002, the UN-backed Eritrean and Ethiopian Border Commission awarded the town of Badme to Eritrea. But, Asmara insists Addis Ababa has repeatedly refused to implement the ruling.

Abdu said the UN Security Council has yet to take disciplinary action against Ethiopia’s decision to ignore the ruling for the past 10 years, despite Asmara’s repeated requests.

“We have been asking the Security Council to take serious measures against the Ethiopian regime, which is occupying our sovereign territory. The United Nations has not fulfilled this mandate and has not taken necessary measures,” said Abdu.  “The United Nations should take action, legal punitive measures against the Ethiopian regime for its violations against the Eritrean and Ethiopian Border Commission verdict.”

The United States has urged both sides to exercise restraint.  State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Washington is seeking further clarification from Ethiopia about its intentions.

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Eritrea said it will not retaliate after rival neighbour Ethiopia attacked its territory, dismissing charges it harbours armed groups against Addis Ababa as a “base and bogus lie.”

It is those who do not know the price of war who are hungry to go to war,” Eritrean Information Minister Ali Abdu told AFP by telephone.

We fought enough for 30 years, and we will never be dragged into war through such hostile provocations as this.”

Ethiopia on Thursday said it attacked Eritrean military bases over the killing of five European tourists on its territory in January, accusing Eritrea of training “hit-and-run terrorists.”

Ali said the charges it supported rebel groups were a lie, instead accusing Addis Ababa of carrying out attacks against Eritrea since the end of their bloody 1998-2000 border war, which left at least 70,000 dead.

The two countries remain at odds over a disputed border town, which was handed to Eritrea by a UN-backed boundry commission, but Addis Ababa has refused to acknowledge the ruling.

Eritrea broke away from Ethiopia and won independence in 1993 after a 30-year struggle.

The regime has been engaged in such aggressive acts for the last ten years,” Ali said, speaking in the Eritrean capital Asmara.

We do not support such groups, as these are the products of Ethiopia’s own internal crisis and the result of a policy of exclusion and marginalisation,” he added.

He declined to give details of exactly what the Ethiopians had attacked and the damage that had been caused, adding that reports were still being made.

Two Germans, two Austrians and one Hungarian were killed in the January attack on the slopes of Ethiopia’s famed Erta Ale volcano in the desolate Afar border region. Ethiopian rebels claimed responsibility for the attack.

Thursday’s attack took place 16 kilometres (10 miles) inside Eritrea, according to Ethiopian government spokesman Shimeles Kemal.

Neither Ethiopia nor Eritrea have said what the casualties were on either side.

The United States, a key Ethiopia ally, and France called for restraint and urged the rival states to avoid escalating tensions.

We are obviously calling on both sides to exercise restraint and to avoid any further military action,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters Thursday.

France on its part urged the rival Horn of Africa states that “the only way of resolving the dispute between the two countries is through dialogue and negotiation,” according to a foreign ministry statement.

Ethiopia and Eritrea routinely accuse each other of backing armed groups to destabilise the other’s regime.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has said his country was ready to help the people of Eritrea topple the regime of Issaias Afeworki, but ruled out a military invasion.

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By Eritrean Ministry of Foreign Affairs,

As reported, with much bravado, by the news media of the TPLF regime, its armed forces yesterday “penetrated 18 km inside sovereign Eritrean territory to carry out an attack on Eritrean army outposts“. This is not surprising. Nor is it occurring the first time. However, it amplifies the extraordinary situation where the culprit “strikes but cries first” while all along pleading with its protectors to “disarm the victim“.

The timing of the provocative attack seems to have chosen to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the arbitral ruling of the Eritrea Ethiopia Boundary Commission. In this sense, it epitomizes the incessant acts of aggression that have and continue to be perpetrated against Eritrea for the last ten years by the TPLF regime with the encouragement of its backers. The objective of the attack, and its audacious publicity, is to divert attention from the central issue of the regime’s flagrant violation of international law and illegal occupation of sovereign Eritrean territories as well as from its myriad internal problems.

The quagmire the regime finds itself enmeshed in due to its reckless acts and wars of regional destabilisation and the failure of its attempts to subdue the Ethiopian people by fomenting ethnic strife and polarization are additional factors that are fueling its aggressive conduct. As we underlined at the time, the recent deplorable “killing and abduction of tourists” has also been misconstrued by the TPLF regime and its backers as a “blessing in disguise” to rationalize its unlawful acts.

The people and Government of Eritrea shall not entertain and will not be entrapped by such deceitful ploys that are aimed at derailing and eclipsing the underlying fundamental issues. This is well-known to the TPLF regime and its backers.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs
16 March 2012

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By DPA Correspondent,

The Italian government on Friday condemned an attack by Ethiopia on neighbouring Eritrea, and appealed to the two Horn of Africa nations to refrain from other violent acts against each other.

The Foreign Ministry in Rome was following with “deep concern” news of the foray launched by Ethiopian troops into Eritrean territory, it said in a statement.

Ethiopia said on Thursday it sent troops 16 kilometres into Eritrean territory to attack camps run by “subversive groups.” Ethiopia often accuses Asmara of aiding rebel groups hostile to Addis Ababa.

Firmly condemning every recourse to violence“, the Ministry appealed to the two sides “to refrain from other measures that violate fundamental principles of international co-existence.”

The statement also referred to the need for both countries to fully implement the Algiers Agreement to end a border war fought from 1998 to 2000 between Eritrea and Ethiopia. Their shared border is still poorly defined.

The war left over 100,000 people dead and the two remain arch-rivals.

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By BBC News,

Eritrea has said it will not retaliate after Ethiopia’s cross-border raid on Thursday, easing fears of a new conflict between the long-time rivals.

Those who rush to aggression are those who do not know what the life of people means,” Eritrean Information Minister Ali Abdu told the BBC.

Ethiopia said it attacked three military bases where rebel groups were being trained. The two countries fought a border war from 1998 to 2000. The United States has called on both countries to “exercise restraint and to avoid any further military action“.

But Mr Ali accused the US of being behind the Ethiopian raid.

Not only this attack, the destabalisation of our region is instigated and compounded by the US,” he told the BBC’s Focus on Africa programme.

Ethiopia, a close US ally, has also sent forces into Somalia to tackle the al-Qaeda-linked Islamist group, al-Shabab.

The UN has imposed sanctions on Eritrea, accusing it of backing al-Shabab – charges it denies.

The people and government of Eritrea shall not entertain, and will not be entrapped by, such deceitful ploys,” a foreign ministry statement said.

It said the attack was mean to divert attention from Ethiopia’s “illegal occupation” of Eritrean territory, as well as its internal problems.

Eritrea accuses Ethiopia of refusing to withdraw from the village of Badme, where the border war began, despite The Hague-based Boundary Commission 2002 ruling that it belonged to Eritrea.

A number of people were killed and others captured when three camps were attacked up to 18km (11 miles) inside Eritrean territory, an Ethiopian defence official said.

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By Reuters,

Eritrea urged the United Nations to take action against Ethiopia on Friday for an attack inside its territory which the government in Asmara branded provocative.

The Red Sea state said it would not be “entrapped” by the military incursion, signalling its reluctance to be sucked back into armed conflict with its bitter foe.

Ethiopia announced on Thursday its troops raided three military bases in Eritrea which it said were used by Ethiopian rebels.

The assaults were the first on Eritrean soil that Addis Ababa has admitted to since the end of a 1998-2000 war that killed 70,000 people. Eritrea claims there have been others.

The objective of the attack … is to divert attention from the central issue of the regime’s flagrant violation of international law and illegal occupation of sovereign Eritrean territories,” Eritrea’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Eritrea … will not be entrapped by such deceitful ploys that are aimed at derailing and eclipsing the underlying fundamental issues.”

A vicious row over the position of Eritrea and Ethiopia’s shared border was not resolved at the end of the war.

The Hague-based Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission ruled in 2002 that the border village of Badme belonged to Eritrea.

However, the village remains in Ethiopia, Washington’s main ally in the volatile Horn of Africa.

It is patently clear that the Ethiopian regime could not have unleashed such a flagrant act of aggression with such audacity without the protection and succour of the United States in the Security Council,” Eritrean Foreign Minister Osman Saleh said in a letter to the U.N. Security Council seen by Reuters.

Eritrea urges, for the umpteenth time, the U.N. Security Council to shoulder its legal and moral responsibilities and to take appropriate measures to rectify acts of aggression against Eritrea’s sovereign territories.”
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