Are Ethiopia and Eritrea at war again? Information is largely withheld by both governments amid Eritrea’s claims of 200 Ethiopian soldiers being killed in a border clash on Thursday. The latest news from the war-ravaged Horn of Africa region reports that a bloody clash at the Ethiopia-Eritrea border left 200 soldiers dead; 200 Ethiopian troops, were killed by Eritrean forces on Thursday night, Eritrea claimed.
The fact that tensions between the two African nations have been reignited has experts concerned that hundreds — perhaps, thousands — may die in another Ethio-Eritrea war, with 200 soldiers sent to early graves and 300 more injured after the deadly clash at the heavily militarized border. There has been no official statement from Ethiopia in confirmation of the figures released by Eritrea’s government in a statement on Thursday, nor has Eritrea disclosed the number of Eritrean soldiers killed in the battle.
Bloody Clash at Ethiopia-Eritrea Border
According to VOANews, there is a tangible sense of information being withheld by Ethiopia and Eritrea, Africa’s north-eastern nemeses, whose long-festering tensions and violent attacks date back to the war of independence almost 20 years ago.
“Eritrea claimed Thursday it had killed more than 200 Ethiopian troops and wounded more than 300. A Ministry of Information statement did not say how many Eritrean troops were killed or wounded,” reports VOA’s Horn of Africa Service.
“There has been no independent confirmation of the figures released by Eritrea in a government statement Thursday… Ethiopia’s Communications Minister Getachew Reda suggested the figures are inaccurate but stopped short of denying them. He also said Ethiopia has no interest in disclosing its assessment of damages during the battle.”
Information Withheld On Casualties of Border Conflict
With information withheld by Eritrea and Ethiopia’s governments amid claims that 200 Ethiopian troops were killed in a deadly clash at the Ethio-Eritrea border of Africa, reports on instances of war and violence can be skewed, distorted and downplayed. The latest news from the war-ravaged Horn of Africa region of the battle – that left 200 dead and 300 injured, according to reports – can, in this way, be misunderstood rather than registered as a serious precursor of war.
History professor of Queen’s University in Canada, Awet Weldemichael, said that the dismissal of the Ethiopia-Eritrea clash as “skirmishes” exemplifies this worrying tendency of misinformation on war and violence in Africa.
“… Despite the fact that these clashes were dismissed by some as “skirmishes” similar to others that have periodically flared up, they [are] quite serious,” Weldemichael told VOA.
Similarly, The Trumpet reports that, despite an admission from Ethiopian Information Minister Getachew Reda to AFP that the border battle was one of the “worst clashes since the end of a 1998 – 2000 border war,” each country has blamed the other for initiating the bloody clash at the Ethiopian-Eritrean border and no official figures regarding the dead and injured have been confirmed.
“There were significant casualties on both sides,” Reda told AFP. “However, an exact count has not been determined.”
The Trumpet said troops rushed to the border after an initial confrontation near Tsorona, Eritrea, where soldiers from Ethiopia and Eritrea exchanged heavy artillery fire and many young men were sent to early graves.
“Eritrea is such a reclusive state that exact details remain hazy. The flare-up has some analysts speculating that the gradually increasing tensions have reached the breaking point,” said The Trumpet.
“What may come next is a return to the border war.”
Old Enemies: The War Of Independence, 1998-2000
Information was withheld regarding the casualties of the war of independence that took place from 1998 to 2000, and the figures given by Ethiopia and Eritrea were inconsistent. Eritrea claimed that 19,000 of its soldiers were killed at the border war; Ethiopia claimed that its own casualties were between 34 and 60,000 in the Eritrean-Ethiopian war. Independent authorities estimated casualties on both sides were closer to 70,000.
With information withheld amid Eritrea’s claims of 200 Ethiopian soldiers being killed in a border clash on Thursday, the world awaits further news from the war-ravaged Horn of Africa region after reports that a bloody clash at the Ethiopia-Eritrea border left 200 soldiers dead.
[Photo by Pier Paolo Cito/AP]