- Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zeinawi (AP)
Thursday, April 19, 2012
Ethiopia accuses arch-rival Eritrea of mass civilian kidnappings - Sudan Tribune: Plural news and views on Sudan
April 17, 2012 (ADDIS ABABA) - Ethiopia on Tuesday brought fresh allegations against neighboring Eritrea accusing the Red Sea nation of carrying out mass kidnappings against Ethiopian civilians along their shared border.
Speaking to parliament, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said the government in Asmara has recently abducted over 100 Ethiopian Gold miners from the Northern Tigrai region.
Zenawi, who recalled the recent “Eritrea orchestrated” deadly cross-border attack against western tourists, accused the Eritrean government of continuing the acts of aggression.
In mid-January, gunmen, apparently members of the Eritrea-based Afar separatists group (ARDUF) attacked a group of western tourists in Ethiopia’s remote Afar region and killed five 5 nationals from Germany, Hungary and Austria.
The gunmen also kidnapped two Germans and two Ethiopians. A few weeks later the Afar rebels said they have released the two Germans but decline to comment on the fate of the remaining two Ethiopians.
Following the attack, Ethiopia accused Eritrea of being behind the attack. It also claims the Red Sea nation is harboring the Afar separatists who Ethiopia blames for a number of cross border attacks.
Later last month the Ethiopian military attacked rebel targets inside Eritrea; its first military incursion since the two countries ended the 1998-2000 war over their disputed territory.
Following Ethiopia’s military strike, Eritrea immediately accused the US of being involved and appealed on the United Nation Security Council for intervention.
The Ethiopian premier told MPs that country’s army has taken proportional military measures on both fronts to defend Eritrea backed attacks, without giving details.
Zenawi said his country has given Eritrea many peace options which they refuse to accept. He said the sanctions imposed against Eritrea by the African Union, United Nations and IGAD are testament to Ethiopia’s diplomatic efforts.
He vowed his country would continue to carry out “proportional” military measures until Eritrea stops its acts of aggression and its destabilizing strategy.
But Eritrea denied Zenawai’s allegations on abductions.
“It has become the modus operandi of Ethiopia to blame everything on Eritrea,” Girma Asmerom, Eritrea’s ambassador to the African Union, told Bloomberg in an interview today.
“They think by lying and lying the lies may be perceived to be true” Asmerom said.
During the session, Zenawi has also responded to a number of queries raised by law makers on national issues including, inflation, unemployment, threats of extremism and good governance.
In regards to Somalia, Zenawi said Ethiopian troops will in the near future withdraw from the towns they control completely handing over Al Shabab-freed-towns to Djibouti, Ugandan and Burundi AU peacekeeping forces. However, he declined to mention a time frame.