Sunday, July 18, 2021

The Ethiopia-Eritrea Conflict (1998 – 2000)

Eritrea became independent from Ethiopia in 1993 after more than two decades of conflict. Even after Eritrean independence, the economies of Eritrea and Ethiopia were highly interdependent. Eritrea used Ethiopian currency, and Ethiopia shipped its exports from Eritrean ports.

The Eritrean-Ethiopian War of 1998-2000 was a tragic conflict that resulted in a widespread loss of life, as well as other injury and damage, for these two developing countries in the Horn of Africa.

On May 6-7, 1998, small-scale clashes occurred between Eritrean military and Ethiopia militia or police patrols in a remote area along the western part of the Eritrean-Ethiopian boundary near a town called Badme.

On 12 May 1998, Eritrean armed forces supported by tanks and artillery invaded the town of Badmä and the surrounding area. Eritrea crossed through the Badme plain to higher ground in the east, and attacked several other areas in Ethiopia’s Tahtay Adiabo Wereda, as well as places in the neighboring Laelay Adiabo Wereda.

Initially, Ethiopian resistance to the invasion was minimal, mostly involving Ethiopian militia and police equipped solely with small arms. Ethiopia moved quickly, however, to deploy its military forces to the region where they took up defensive positions to prevent any further Eritrean advance.

Eritrea then occupied the town of Badme, followed in June by the towns of Shiraro, Zala Ambassa and Tsorena. An interim settlement proposed by the OAU was accepted by Ethiopia. At the same time, a much-criticized mass deportation of people of Eritrea origin began from Ethiopia.

During a temporary ceasefire in late 1998, both sides built up their military forces. Renewed fighting, now with heavy artillery and air power, erupted in February 1999. The conflict was devastating to countries, delaying development and international aid funds.

In February 1999, Ethiopia launched an offensive and recaptured Badme, followed by repeated attempts by Eritrea to reverse its loss. In May 2000, Ethiopia launched another offensive breaking through Eritrean defenses and captured not only the disputed territory, but also advanced to take control of large tracts of Eritrean territory not under dispute.

After seizing high positions north of Senafe, Ethiopian forces stopped, and both sides assumed defensive positions along a new front, this time inside Eritrea. For a few days, Ethiopian forces entered Eritrea’s Areza, Mai Mene, and Adi Quala Sub-Zobas.

In December 2000, a formal peace settlement was signed in Algiers. In April 2001, a 25km deep demilitarized strip which ran the length of the internationally recognized border on the Eritrean side, was set up under UN supervision.
The Ethiopia-Eritrea Conflict (1998 – 2000)

The Most Popular Posts