Djibouti accuses Eritrea of occupying disputed territory

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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of occupying a stretch of disputed territory along their shared border, days after Qatar peacekeeper troops were withdrawn from the site.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.

 

Djibouti-Eritrea tensions

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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About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.