Accusations come as Ethiopia continues to be under a state of emergency since its former prime minister resigned
BY AL JAZEERA
Ethiopia has accused neighboring Eritrea of attempting to destabilize its security by supporting “destructive” groups while the country continues to be under a state of emergency.
According to Ethiopian state television, the country’s emergency council managed to capture weapons from “destructive” groups trying to smuggle the arms into the country from across the border.
Asmara and Addis Ababa have had two bloody wars over border disputes in the past.
This was the first accusation made at Eritrea since Ethiopia declared a state of emergency on February 18, following the resignation of its prime minister, Hailemariam Desalegn.
In February, Desalegn abruptly announced he would step down as prime minister and head of the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) coalition, citing ongoing “unrest and a political crisis” in the country as major factors that prompted his resignation.
The current state of emergency, which is expected to last until August 2018, is the second state of emergency to be declared in Ethiopia in the last two years.
In August last year, Ethiopia lifted a 10-month state of emergency imposed after hundreds of people were killed in anti-government protests, demanding wider political freedoms.
The country’s Oromo and Amhara people – who make up about 61 percent of the population – have staged mass demonstrations since 2015, demanding greater political inclusion and an end to human rights abuses.
The protests have continued until recently, with many people expressing frustration over a perceived slow government release of political prisoners.
In January, Ethiopia promised to free all political detainees, in an effort to “foster national reconciliation”. More than 6,000 prisoners have been released so far, news agencies have reported.
Eritrea to Ethiopia: Stop Chasing Scapegoats, Deal with Your Security Crisis
BY AFRICA NEWS
Eritrea says Ethiopia must move to deal with its chronic internal security crisis instead of finding scapegoats from outside.
This is the position of Information Minister Yemane Gebremeskel in a response to an email query by the Bloomberg magazine. Ethiopian authorities were reported over the weekend to have said neighbouring Eritrea was partly to blame for its internal security headache.
“The regime is desperately trying to deflect attention from its intractable domestic crisis — of its own making — and find external scapegoats,” Yemane said describing the claims as false and one that did not merit a serious response.
The state-owned Ethiopia Broadcasting Corporation late last week quoted the federal police chief as saying Eritrea was trying to destabilize the country by sponsoring anti-peace forces.
Ethiopia is currently under a six-month state of emergency imposed on February 16, 2018. It followed the resignation of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, barely 24-hours earlier.
The government said it was necessary in the wake of spreading violence across the country. The measure was controversially ratified by the parliament in early March in a vote fraught with claims of rigging.
It is not the first time that Ethiopia has accused Eritrea of such acts, neither is it the first time Eritrea is rejecting such claims. The two continue to trade blows over a border demarcation process which dates back to 2002.
Eritrea achieved independence from Ethiopia in 1993 after decades of armed struggle. In 1998, the two neighboring countries fought a two-year long war over their disputed border which claimed the lives of at least 70,000.
The two countries have had tense relations as a peace deal signed in 2000 to end the war has never been fully implemented.