Eritrea claims it killed 200 in Ethiopia clash

Pakistan Observer - - INTERNATIONAL -

ASMARA—Eritrea claimed Fri­day to have killed “more than 200” Ethiopi­ans in a bat­tle last week, the fiercest bor­der clashes since a 1998-2000 war, while giv­ing no men­tion of its own ca­su­al­ties. Each side blames the other for start­ing the two-day bat­tle which broke out on Sun­day, say­ing also that their ri­val suf­fered the most losses.

There was no im­me­di­ate re­sponse from Ethiopia, which has not re­leased num­bers killed. “More than 200 TPLF (Ethiopian) troops have been killed and more than 300 wounded,” Eritrea’s Min­istry of In­for­ma­tion said in a state­ment, call­ing it a “con­ser­va­tive es­ti­mate”.

There was no men­tion of any pris­on­ers of war. Ethiopian gov­ern­ment spokesman Ge­tachew Reda on Tues­day said “there were sig­nif­i­cant ca­su­al­ties on both sides, but more on the Eritrean side.”

Eritrea won in­de­pen­dence from Ethiopia in 1991 af­ter three decades of war, but re­turned to bat­tle in 1998-2000, when nearly 80,000 died.

The neigh­bours are bit­ter ene­mies, with tens of thou­sands of troops dug into trenches eye­ing each other along the heav­ily for­ti­fied fron­tier. Open-ended, com­pul­sory na­tional ser­vice makes Eritrea one of the world’s most mil­i­tarised na­tions, but with just five mil­lion cit­i­zens it is dwarfed by Ethiopia.—Agen­cies

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