An Eritrean government official has described reports that an international body will soon demarcate the border between his country and Ethiopia as rumours.
Information minister Ali Abdu said Ethiopia is “illegally” occupying Eritrean land a charge Ethiopia denies.
“It’s just a rumour and it’s hearsay because as far as we can see, the Ethiopians are occupying our land, and we didn’t see any kind of signals of respecting the rule of law. The Ethiopian army is occupying our territories,” he said.
Over the weekend, Eritrea said its forces engaged in a clash after Ethiopian forces launched successive attacks through Zalanbessa, a disputed area on the border between the two countries.
Eritrea claimed that its troops killed 10 Ethiopian soldiers after they attacked its positions. But an Ethiopian official was quoted as saying Eritrea’s claim was a “total fabrication”.
Abdu said his government has evidence of the weekend attack.
“On the first of January, 2010, they tried to attack our forces, and our force killed about nine Ethiopian soldiers and captured two. And these two POW’s (Prisoners of War) are right now with us. Anybody who is interested can contact them and ask them about the details. But the Ethiopian regime is denying that there was no war and nothing happened, and this is no surprise for me,” Abdu said.
Two Eritrean rebel groups claimed killing and wounding 63 Eritrean troops in the Zalanbessa area, the same place Asmara claims its forces were attacked. But Abdu denied the rebels claim.
“I will say this is the best joke of the beginning of 2010. We don’t have any opposition. Maybe there is an illusion of opposition forces, but we don’t have such an opposition force,” Abdu said.