Djibouti accuses Eritrea of occupying disputed territory
Djibouti has accused Eritrea of occupying a stretch of disputed territory along their shared border, days after Qatar peacekeeper troops were withdrawn from the site.
Djibouti’s foreign minister said on Friday that Eritrean forces moved into the area the same day as Qatari soldiers pulled out of the disputed area. Mahamoud Ali Youssouf announced that Djibouti’s army is “on alert” after the country lodged complaints to the United Nations and the African Union over Eritrea’s alleged conduct.
Djibouti accuses Eritrea
“Qatari peacekeepers withdrew on June 12 and 13. On the same day, there were Eritrean military movements on the mountain,” Ali Youssouf told Reuters. “They are now in full control of Dumeira Mountain and Dumeira Island. This is in breach of the UN Security Council resolution,” he added.
Eritrea is yet to respond to the accusations, but regional analysts accuse the isolated country of trying to take advantage of the ongoing Gulf crisis. Qatar decided to withdraw its troops from the disputed Djibouti-Eritrea border after Djibouti reduced bilateral ties with the Gulf state after Qatar’s regional allies accused it of supporting terrorism.
Eritrea also appeared to back the decision made by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE and other key states in Africa and the Middle East to cut ties with Qatar. Qatar’s peacekeeper troops promptly withdrew from the Djibouti-Eritrea border but Qatar gave no official reason for the move.
The last time clashes broke out between Djibouti and Eritrea was in 2008, after Djibouti accused its neighbour of moving troops across the border. The resulting spat prompted fears that conflict could engulf the entire region until the UN Security Council called on both sides to withdraw from the area and the neighbouring counties accepted a Qatari request to place peacekeeper troops along the border.
Eritrea also has an ongoing border dispute with Ethiopia, which has been problematic for years. The UN has ruled in favour of Eritrea in this dispute but no ruling was ever enforced.
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