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  • Eritrea accuses U.S. of instigating fresh border clash with Ethiopia

     

    Asmara government has accused the United States of masterminding the recent border clashes between Ethiopia and Eritrean forces.

    In a short statement issued on Friday, the Eritrean Ministry of Information further accused the U.S. Administration of providing arms to Ethiopia to aid the latter carry out the alleged attack.

    Last week, forces of the two rival neighbours engaged in heavy border fighting around Tserona central front, an area about 75 kilometres south of the Eritrean capital, Asmara.

    Hundreds of soldiers are reported to have been killed and many more wounded from both sides.

    The two sides traded blame over who first sparked the two-day battle which broke out on Sunday.

    The latest battle is the most serious military engagement since the 1998-2000 border war which has claimed the lives of an estimated more than 70,000 people.

    In the past, Eritrea has repeatedly accused the U.S. of instigating conflict in the region.

    Asmara accuses the U.S. of being major role player in instigating conflicts between Ethiopia and Eritrea. It has also accused Washington of having role on its border war with Djibouti.

    This time, the Red sea nation has similarly pointed accusing fingers on Barack Obama’s administration.

    “Eritrea is aware of Washington’s instigation not only of the attack against Eritrea that the Ethiopian forces launched last Sunday, June 12, 2016 but also in its deployment of weapons along the border for a much expanded offensive,” the statement alleged.

    Following the clashes, the United States voiced "grave concern" and called on both sides to exercise restraint and engage in political dialogue.

    In a statement issued Tuesday, John Kirby, U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby urged the two arch rivals to cooperate in promoting stability and sustainable peace in the region.

    “As both Ethiopia and Eritrea are party to the 2000 Cessation of Hostilities Agreement and there cannot be a military solution, we call for both sides to exercise restraint and engage in political dialogue,” he said.

    However Eritrea has downplayed US statement as nothing but “crocodile tears”.

    “In the event, shedding crocodile tears and issuing a bland statement by the spokesperson of the U.S. State Department calling on ‘both sides to show restraint’ cannot impress anyone” Eritrea’s statement added.

    It added Eritrea will disclose these facts in due time.

    In a separate statement Eritrea said it is appalled by the statement of UN Secretary General, Ban-ki Moon for calling on both sides to exercise restraint and refrain from any act or statement that could exacerbate the situation.

    “In the circumstances, we find the statement that apportions equal blame to the victim and the aggressor and calls on both sides to show restraint untenable” the statement reads.

    “This unfortunate statement can only corrode further the moral authority of the Secretary General’s Office” it added.

    The two countries remain at odds over the flashpoint town of Badme which was the source of the two-year long conflict.

    The Hague-based Boundary Commission 2002 ruling gave away the disputed town to Eritrea; however, Ethiopia has refused to accept insisting for more talks on implementation.

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  • DRC Border Guards found 19 Dead Bodies of Ethiopian Migrants

    Lubumbashi - Congolese border guards found the bodies of 19 Ethiopian migrants who had died of asphyxia in a lorry carrying nearly 100 stowaways, after being alerted by a "nauseous" smell, officials said on Saturday.

    Seventy-six other Ethiopians were found still alive when the Zambian-registered truck was stopped on Thursday in the southeast of Congo, close to the border with Zambia.

    "We stopped this vehicle ... because of the nauseous smell which was coming from the trailer," said Jean-Pierre Lubosha, the local head of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) border guard (DMG).

    All the survivors stated that they had fled their country to head for southern Africa, passing through Kenya, in search of better lives, according to Lubosha.

    The lorry's crew had claimed to be transporting small fish.

    "The bodies were handed over to the Zambian authorities on Thursday. We interviewed the survivors who all claimed to be Ethiopian nationals," said Lubosha.

    The survivors were handed over to Zambian officials on Friday.

    "We congratulate the Congolese authorities for their vigilance, allowing them to discover this scandalous human trafficking, implicating three Zambian members of the (lorry) crew," said Zambian vice consul David Nyangulu.

    He added that an international investigation was underway to dismantle the people smuggling network.

     

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  • In unprecedented move Ethiopia is prepared to demand Isaias Afeworki to leave Eritrea

    With patience running thin the Ethiopian government is almost at a decision point to demand the removal of Isaias Afeworki from power. Sources familiar with the issue told Aigaforum the government has floated the idea to key western nations as a comprehensive plan for the horn of africa region. The Ethiopian government has informed many western nations that if Isaias Afewroki is not removed from power there will be war and Ethiopia will defend vigorously.

    The issue of Isaias Afewroki's removal from power gained momentum over the last few weeks with Al- Shabaab deadly attempt to overrun Ethiopia's AMSOM military camp in Somalia. However, our sources told us the recent clash between Eritrea and Ethiopia in Tserona Northern Tigrai region may have given the proposal more ammunition.

    It is unclear if western nations will support the idea but the EPRDF government is not new to such diplomatic undertaking. The once strong military man Col Mengstu Hailemariam was removed from power and sent to Zimbabwe when the then rebel EPRDF fighters encircled Addis Ababa. The late PM Meles Zenawi who was chairman of the EPRDF negotiated Mengsitu departure in London. Our sources told us it is highly possible the American and British government will support the plan to avoid bloodshed. The sooner Isaias Afeworki packs and leaves Eritrea the less casualty on the Eritrean people.

    If war breaks out, Ethiopia is on the record, that it will make sure this will be the last war. Our sources told us this means the war will be a war of attrition and it is such scenario Ethiopia is trying to avoid and convince key western nations to go along with the plan. Recently President Abay Woldu from Tigrai the region that is mostly affected by the no war no peace policy of the Ethiopian government said to residents of Adwa town, that Ethiopia is planning to bring to an end the conflict with Eritrea soon. He said either peacefully or otherwise this conflict will come to an end sooner than many think.

    It is not clear if Isaias Afeworki will accept such demand but our sources told us even if he does not accept such demand it will have a huge impact on the Eritreans and its defense forces. Many in the government of Ethiopia are convinced the Eritrean army may rebel against Isaias Afeworki and if they are convinced about Ethiopia's disinterest of overrunning Eritrea then they may reform and establish a government of their own that is willing to live in peace with its neighbors.

    Source: http://aigaforum.com/article2016/demand-for-isaias-to-leave-eritrea.htm

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  • Eritrean suspected people trafficking ringleader arrested

    An Eritrean suspected of controlling a people-trafficking network responsible for shipping thousands of people across the Mediterranean to Europe has been extradited from Sudan to Italy.

    Medhanie Yehdego Mered, 35, who had been on a wanted list since 2015 for international people smuggling, was arrested in Khartoum at the end of May and flown to Italy late Monday, police said in a statement this morning.

    “Mered is considered one of the biggest migrant traffickers operating on the Libyan- Sub-Saharan route,” it said.

    “He directed operations not only in Africa but also kept fellow operators in Italy up to date on the arrival of boats, to enable the migrants to continue to their final destinations [in Europe].”

    Mr Mered was tracked down by the Sudanese intelligence services, with support from Italy’s organised crime police and Britain’s National Crime Agency.

     

    A top Sudanese police officer told AFP on condition of anonymity that Mr Mered was “accused of smuggling youngsters from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia and Sudan across the Mediterranean through Sudan or Libya or Egypt”.

    Wiretaps of Mr Mered’s conversations revealed he was in contact with traffickers in north European countries, particularly the Netherlands and Scandinavia, and held a “senior position in a criminal network operating in several continents”, the Italian police statement said.

    He also showed “disregard for the lives of the migrants, appearing cynical and unscrupulous”.

    It is the first time a suspected top smuggler has been arrested in Africa and brought to face justice in Italy, which has been overwhelmed by the arrival of hundreds of thousands of people since the migrant crisis began in 2008.

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