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The Info List - Djiboutian–Eritrean Border Conflict


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Djiboutian Political Victory

Eritrean forces seize territory from Djibouti
Djibouti
in April 2008 and withdraw in June 2010 to help facilitate the start of bilateral negotiations Qatari peacekeeping forces are deployed to monitor the disputed area after Eritrea's withdrawal[2]

Belligerents

 Eritrea  Djibouti Supported by:[a]  France[1]

Commanders and leaders

Isaias Afewerki Sebhat Ephrem Ismail Omar Guelleh Ougoureh Kifleh Ahmed

Casualties and losses

100 killed 267 captured[3] 21 defected[b] 44 killed 55 wounded 19 captured

a Logistical, medical and intelligence support only. b No official figures from Eritrean sources.

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Recent conflicts in the Horn of Africa

Eritrean War of Independence Eritrean Civil Wars Oromo conflict Ethiopian Civil War Ogaden War 1982 Border War Somali Civil War

Somali Rebellion 2006–2009 2009–present

Djiboutian Civil War Insurgency in Ogaden

Ethiopian crackdown

Hanish Islands conflict Eritrean–Ethiopian War OEF – Horn of Africa Eritrean–Ethiopian border conflict

Second Afar insurgency

Djiboutian–Eritrean border conflict

The Djiboutian–Eritrean border conflict
Djiboutian–Eritrean border conflict
between the forces of Djibouti
Djibouti
and Eritrea
Eritrea
occurred between June 10 and June 13, 2008.[a] It was triggered by tension which began on April 16, 2008, when Djibouti reported that Eritrean armed forces had penetrated into Djiboutian territory and dug trenches on both sides of the border.[4] The crisis deepened when armed clashes broke out between the two armed forces in the border area on June 10, 2008.[5] During the conflict, France provided logistical, medical and intelligence support to Djibouti, but did not participate in direct combat.[1]

Contents

1 Background 2 Eritrean movements in Ras Doumeira
Ras Doumeira
region 3 Armed clashes 4 International reaction 5 Aftermath 6 See also 7 Notes 8 References 9 External links

Background[edit]

Map of the disputed Ras Doumeira
Ras Doumeira
region

The currently in force 1900 boundary agreement specifies that the international boundary starts at Cape Doumeira (Ras Doumeira) at the Red Sea
Red Sea
and runs for 1.5 km along the watershed divide of the peninsula. Furthermore, the 1900 protocol specified that Ile Doumeira (Doumeira Island) immediately offshore and its adjacent smaller islets would not be assigned sovereignty and would remain demilitarized. [6] Djibouti
Djibouti
and Eritrea
Eritrea
had twice previously clashed over the border area. In January 1935, Italy and France
France
signed the Franco-Italian Agreement wherein parts of French Somaliland (Djibouti) were given to Italy (Eritrea).[7] The actual border at Ras Doumeira
Ras Doumeira
(a hill) though was never fully demarcated save for a broad agreement that the northern slopes of hill were Italian and the southern slopes were French and this arrangement sufficed whilst France
France
and Italy remained in control of the area. However, the question of ratification has brought this agreement, and its provision of substantial parts of Djibouti
Djibouti
to Eritrea
Eritrea
into question.[8][9] In April 1996 the Djiboutian government accused Eritrean forces of having made a 7 km incursion into its territory following a clash at the Djiboutian border post of Ras Doumeira. Within two days these claims had grown into accusations that the Eritrean government harbours a territorial claim to part of Djibouti’s northern coastline. The allegations were then made by the foreign affairs, Mohamed Moussa Chehem, to his perplexed Eritrean counterpart, Petros Solomon, who was on an official visit to Djibouti
Djibouti
the following day. Mr Solomon subsequently met with the Djiboutian president, who also raised the alleged incursion. In a series of contradictory accounts, the Djiboutian authorities said that they had dispatched 600 troops to the area. On April 18 Mr Solomon stated categorically in a press statement that “there has never been any clash or incident in Doumeira”, adding that the Eritrean government was “surprised and saddened” by the allegations.[10] Eritrean movements in Ras Doumeira
Ras Doumeira
region[edit] In January Eritrea
Eritrea
reportedly requested to cross the border in order to get sand for a road, but instead occupied a hilltop in the region.[11] On April 16, Eritrea
Eritrea
is reported by Djibouti
Djibouti
to have set up fortifications and dug trenches on both sides of the Djiboutian border near Ras Doumeira.[4] Djibouti, in a letter to the UN calling for intervention, claimed new maps put out by Eritrea
Eritrea
showed Ras Doumeira as Eritrean territory. Eritrea
Eritrea
denied it had any problems with Djibouti.[12] Ethiopia's Prime Minister Meles Zenawi
Meles Zenawi
said on May 15 that the row was a "threat to the peace and security of the whole Horn of Africa" and said Ethiopia
Ethiopia
would secure their trade corridor through Djibouti
Djibouti
in the event of a conflict. Ethiopia
Ethiopia
has relied on Djibouti
Djibouti
for access to the Red Sea
Red Sea
since Eritrea's independence. Eritrea's President Isaias Afwerki denied sending troops into the area and added they do not have any problem with Djibouti.[13] Armed clashes[edit] On June 10, according to Djibouti
Djibouti
several Eritrean troops deserted their positions fleeing to the Djiboutian side. Djiboutian forces then came under fire from Eritrean forces demanding the return of the deserters.[5] Djibouti
Djibouti
called up soldiers and police who had retired since 2004 in response to the fighting. Eritrea
Eritrea
dismissed accounts from Djibouti
Djibouti
as "anti-Eritrean". A statement from Eritrea's Foreign Ministry said it would not "get involved in an invitation of squabbles and acts of hostility" and claimed Djibouti
Djibouti
was trying to drag Eritrea into its "concocted animosity".[14] According to French Colonel Ducret, French soldiers in Djibouti
Djibouti
provided logistical and medical assistance to the Djibouti
Djibouti
army as well as providing them with intelligence.[15] Clashes between the two forces reportedly continued for several days before Djibouti's military announced on June 13 that fighting had subsided,[4] but on the same day, President Guelleh, was quoted by the BBC as saying that his country was at war with Eritrea.[1] 44 Djiboutian soldiers were killed and 55 wounded during the fighting. According to Djiboutian estimates, 100 Eritrean soldiers were killed, 100 captured, and 21 defected. Djiboutian President Guelleh declared: "We've always had good relations. But they aggressively occupied part of our country. This is an aggression we are resisting".[16]

Djiboutian troops with light armoured cars near the border

By 2008 the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency estimated the army was 18,000 strong (with Eritrean army strength estimated at the same time as 200,000).[citation needed] International reaction[edit]

Arab League:

The League of Arab States
League of Arab States
held an emergency session in response to the fighting and called for Eritrea
Eritrea
to withdraw from the border region.[17]

France:

The French foreign ministry said it was highly concerned about the fighting.[5] The French defense ministry announced they were increasing their military presence in Djibouti
Djibouti
and increasing their support for Djibouti's army following the border clashes. The announcement also said France
France
was "preparing to deploy a forward logistics base and a land force near the zone where the clashes took place", adding that "its military has stepped up air surveillance over the border to monitor the activities of Eritrean forces." Reports also indicate that additional naval forces are being moved to the region as well as an additional team of military surgeons. French Defense Minister Hervé Morin
Hervé Morin
also held discussions with Djibouti's Defense Minister Ougoureh Kifleh Ahmed, promising to strengthen the French military presence in the country in case there is "an escalation in the current border row." Also to reaffirm the "very great concern of France" over the recent border incidents, Morin, according to diplomatic sources, has "reassured his counterpart of the full support" of his government, at the same time calling for a "diplomatic" settlement of the issue. The two nations have a mutual defense agreement.[18]

United Nations:

The United Nations
United Nations
Security Council called on both sides to exercise maximum restraint and re-establish dialogue.[19][20]

United States:

The United States
United States
State Department
State Department
issued a press release condemning Eritrea's "military aggression" saying it represented "an additional threat to peace and security in the already volatile Horn of Africa" and calling for Eritrea
Eritrea
to accept third party mediation on the border dispute.[21] Eritrea
Eritrea
responded to the statement accusing the U.S. of instigating conflict in the region.[22] The American embassy in Djibouti
Djibouti
advised citizens against traveling to the northern Djibouti where Ras Doumeira
Ras Doumeira
is located for safety reasons.[23]

African Union:

The Peace and Security Council of the African Union
African Union
urged Eritrea
Eritrea
and Djibouti
Djibouti
to exercise the utmost restraint and to resolve the dispute through dialogue including fully cooperating with an AU mission sent to the area. However, Eritrea, unlike Djibouti, had not yet accepted the mission.[24] Bereket Simon, special adviser to Prime Minister Meles Zenawi
Meles Zenawi
of Ethiopia
Ethiopia
told Reuters " Ethiopia
Ethiopia
firmly believes that such unwarranted action should be stopped immediately and peaceful and diplomatic solution must be sought for the problem."[14] Aftermath[edit] On June 24, 2008, the United Nations
United Nations
Security Council held a meeting at their headquarters in New York to hear a briefing of the situation, as well as statements from the Prime Minister of Djibouti
Djibouti
Mohamed Dileita and the ambassador of Eritrea.[25] A UN fact-finding mission was sent to the region and issued a report saying the standoff between Djibouti
Djibouti
and Eritrea
Eritrea
could "have a major negative impact on the entire region and the wider international community" noting while Djibouti
Djibouti
has pulled out of the disputed area Eritrea
Eritrea
has not. The fact-finding mission was not allowed into Eritrea by the Eritrean government.[26] The United Nations
United Nations
Security Council passed Resolution 1862 on January 14, 2009, urging dialogue between the two countries to solve the issue peacefully. The council welcomed Djibouti's withdrawal to positions before June 10, 2008, and demanded Eritrea
Eritrea
make a similar withdrawal within five weeks of the resolution.[27] On 23 December 2009, the UN Security Council imposed sanctions on Eritrea
Eritrea
for providing support to armed groups undermining peace and reconciliation in Somalia and because it had not withdrawn its forces following clashes with Djibouti
Djibouti
in June 2008. The sanctions were to imposed an arms embargo, travel restrictions and a freeze on the assets of its political and military leaders.[28] In early June 2010, Djibouti
Djibouti
and Eritrea
Eritrea
agreed to refer the matter to Qatar
Qatar
for mediation, a move that was praised by the African Union.[29] In March 2016, 4 Djiboutian prisoners of war captured during the border war were released by Eritrea
Eritrea
eight years after the conflict.[30] Following the 2017 Qatar
Qatar
diplomatic crisis, Qatar
Qatar
withdrew its peacekeeping forces from the disputed territory. Shortly after, Djibouti
Djibouti
accused Eritrea
Eritrea
of reoccupying the mainland hill and Doumeira Island.[31] See also[edit]

Foreign relations of Djibouti Foreign relations of Eritrea Eritrean Defence Forces Djibouti
Djibouti
Armed Forces

Notes[edit]

^ Other name combinations are also used for this conflict which is also described as a war, border war, and dispute, including Eritrean-Djiboutian conflict, Eritrea- Djibouti
Djibouti
war and Djibouti- Eritrea
Eritrea
dispute

References[edit]

^ a b c "Africa France
France
backing Djibouti
Djibouti
in 'war'". BBC News. June 13, 2008. Retrieved 29 October 2016.  ^ What Is an Expensive, Idyllic Resort Doing in Eritrea? ^ Capitaleritrea: Djibouti
Djibouti
hands 267 Eritreans over to UNHCR, April 14, 2014. Retrieved May 11, 2014. ^ a b c "Djibouti- Eritrea
Eritrea
border skirmishes subside as toll hits nine". Agence France-Presse. June 13, 2008. Archived from the original on 2008-06-15. Retrieved June 15, 2008.  ^ a b c "US condemns Eritrea
Eritrea
'aggression'". BBC News. June 12, 2008. Retrieved June 15, 2008.  ^ "International Boundary Studies for most of the world". Archived from the original on September 24, 2008. Retrieved November 15, 2008.  ^ Langer, William L. (1948). An Encyclopaedia of World History. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. p. 990.  ^ "Djibouti- Eritrea
Eritrea
boundary row re-emerges". April 28, 2008. Retrieved August 15, 2009.  ^ "The Eritrea- Djibouti
Djibouti
border dispute" (PDF). Institute for Security Studies. September 15, 2008. Retrieved August 15, 2009. [dead link] ^ "Horn of Africa neighbours clash". Al Jazeera English. June 10, 2008. Archived from the original on 2008-06-11. Retrieved June 15, 2008.  ^ "Face to face conflict that threatens the sea lanes". The Scotsman. June 1, 2008. Retrieved 29 October 2016.  ^ " Eritrea
Eritrea
denies Djibouti
Djibouti
war claim". BBC News. May 8, 2008. Retrieved 29 October 2016.  ^ " Ethiopia
Ethiopia
says ready to secure route to Djibouti
Djibouti
port". Reuters. May 15, 2008. Retrieved June 15, 2008.  ^ a b "Two dead in Djibouti, Eritrea
Eritrea
border clash". Reuters. June 12, 2008. Retrieved June 15, 2008.  ^ " France
France
says supporting Djibouti
Djibouti
in clashes with Eritrea
Eritrea
- Summary". The Earth Times. June 13, 2008. Retrieved June 15, 2008.  ^ " Djibouti
Djibouti
president accuses Eritrea
Eritrea
over border fight". Reuters. June 14, 2008. Retrieved 29 October 2016.  ^ "UN urges restraint in Eritrea- Djibouti
Djibouti
clashes". Middle East Online. 13 June 2008. Archived from the original on May 28, 2009. Retrieved October 28, 2009.  ^ " France
France
reinforces military in Djibouti
Djibouti
following border clash". Xinhua. June 14, 2008. Retrieved 29 October 2016.  ^ " Eritrea
Eritrea
urged to withdraw from Djibouti
Djibouti
border". Reuters. June 12, 2008. Retrieved 29 October 2016.  ^ United Nations
United Nations
Security Council Verbatim Report 5908. Peace and security in Africa S/PV/5908 June 12, 2008. Retrieved September 15, 2008. ^ "Eritrea– Djibouti
Djibouti
Border" (Press release). United States Department of State. June 11, 2008. Retrieved June 15, 2008.  ^ " Eritrea
Eritrea
denounces US 'meddling' in Horn of Africa". International Herald Tribune via the Associated Press. June 13, 2008. Retrieved June 15, 2008.  ^ "US citizens warned on travel in Djibouti". NJ.com via the Associated Press. June 12, 2008. Retrieved June 15, 2008.  ^ "AU urges Djibouti, Eritrea
Eritrea
to resolve border dispute through dialogue". Afriquenligne. June 13, 2008. Retrieved June 15, 2008.  ^ United Nations
United Nations
Security Council Verbatim Report 5924. S/PV/5924 June 24, 2008. Retrieved September 15, 2008. ^ "Djibouti- Eritrea
Eritrea
conflict threatens region". Middle East Times. September 21, 2008. Archived from the original on September 21, 2008. Retrieved September 15, 2008.  ^ Security Council Urges Djibouti, Eritrea
Eritrea
To Resolve Border Dispute Peacefully, UN, 14 January 2009. ^ Security Council Imposes Sanctions on Eritrea
Eritrea
over Its Role in Somalia, Refusal to Withdraw Troops Following Conflict with Djibouti ^ " African Union
African Union
Praises Eritrea, Djibouti
Djibouti
Border Mediation". Voice of America. June 7, 2010. Retrieved 8 June 2010.  ^ Gebre, Samuel (March 21, 2016). " African Union
African Union
Welcomes Eritrea's Release of Djiboutian Prisoners". Bloomberg.com.  ^ "Djibouti, Eritrea
Eritrea
in territorial dispute after Qatar
Qatar
peacekeepers leave". Reuters. June 16, 2017. 

External links[edit]

A Conflict’s Buffer Zone: Rocks, and Inches (by Jeffrey Gettleman, The New York Times) Staff, Eritrea
Eritrea
- Djibouti, ConflictMap, A bibliography of articles on t

.