Home | News    Friday 17 June 2016

Ethiopia downplays Eritrea’s claim it killed 200 soldiers

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By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

June 16, 2016 (ADDIS ABABA) – The Ethiopian government on Thursday downplayed a claim by Eritrea that the latter has inflicted heavy losses to Ethiopian troops during the weekend clashes along their disputed border.

Eritrean President Isaias Afewerki (Reuters)

In a statement issued today, Eritrea alleged that its Army has killed 200 Ethiopian troops and wounded more than 300 further saying the disclosed figures are conservative estimates.

The statement issued by the Eritrean ministry of information added that Ethiopian forces were “compelled to retreat to locations beyond from where they initially unleashed the attack”

However Ethiopia has immediately downplayed Asmara’s claim saying the number of causalities Eritrea alleged to have entailed were only a desperate and cooked up figures aimed to cover the very heavy loss the Eritrean Army suffered.

“This is noting but a belated effort by a shell shocked regime to boost the flailing morale of its few remaining supporters” Ethiopia communication Minister, Getachew Reda, later on Thursday told Sudan Tribune.

“We are not going to be sucked in to a game of numbers because we have achieved our objectives” Getachew said adding “We have no time or interest for morbid excitement”

The Ethiopian Minister has earlier admitted that there would be significant damage on both sides but mainly on the Eritrean side saying the clashes were serious one not just a simple skirmish.

The two rival neighbours on Tuesday traded blame over who first instigated the fresh border fighting that lasted between Sunday and Monday

The fighting took place in Tserona central front, an area about 75 kilometres south of the Eritrean capital, Asmara.

The international community including the United States, the United Nations and the African Union have expressed concern, and called on both sides for maximum restraint as fears swell of a potential an all-out war.

The latest battle is the worst after the 1998-2000 border war which has claimed the lives of an estimated more than 70,000 people.

(ST)

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