Ethiopian, Eritrea forces clash near border town
By Tesfa-Alem Tekle, Sudan Tribune | March 20, 2008
The clash near a hamlet called Ambeset Geleba occurred after Eritrean forces came closer to an Ethiopian border outpost to capture two Eritrean farmers who fled across the border to Ethiopia driving tractors, said Birhanu Hagezom, military chief of a regiment at Zalambesa front.
"Ethiopian forces were only in a defensive position to repulse an Eritrean attack," he said. "The Eritreans were using their fleeing compatriots as a cover-up to attack our position," Birhanu told reporters.
The military chief denied a report that two Ethiopians solders were killed during the clash.
"Our forces were returning fire from their military barracks," he said, adding "no soldiers were killed or wounded, though the Eritreans were driven back with a heavy loss."
A local source said five Eritrean and two Ethiopian soldiers were killed while seven Eritrean soldiers surrendered to Ethiopian forces.
Editor's note - Foreign reporters covering any incident between Ethiopia and Eritrea should be cautious that the governments in Addis and Asmara may launch a limited armed conflict as a back-up to their fiery rhetoric that has been hoodwinking international public opinion that the two "enemies" are indeed at each other's throat.
Political observers - both Ethiopians and Eritreans - firmly believe any conflict between the two Eritrean groups is mainly for political expediency to perpetuate the no-war no-peace environment that has kept, and tends to keep, their political rivals out of the game.
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