UN troops ‘trapped’ in Eritrea – BBC

February 15th, 2008 Print Print Email Email

The United Nations has condemned Eritrea, accusing it of preventing hundreds of peacekeepers from crossing from Eritrea into Ethiopia.

The UN ordered its regional force to withdraw to Ethiopia after the Eritrean government cut off its fuel supplies. (more…)

The United Nations has condemned Eritrea, accusing it of preventing hundreds of peacekeepers from crossing from Eritrea into Ethiopia.

The UN ordered its regional force to withdraw to Ethiopia after the Eritrean government cut off its fuel supplies.

But the UN says only six vehicles have been allowed to leave, some troops have been threatened at gunpoint and now their rations have been stopped.

The peacekeepers were deployed in 2000 at the end of a brutal two-year war.

Click here to see a map of the border

The BBC’s Elizabeth Blunt in Ethiopia says Eritrea may be hoping the UN force will abandon some vehicles and communication equipment.

‘Very serious situation’

In an emergency session on Friday, the 15-member UN Security Council expressed “deep concern about the impediments and logistical constraints” faced by the force.

Jean-Marie Guehenno, head of the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations, told reporters: “It’s a very serious situation. We’re running out of fuel, we’re running out of food.”

The UN peacekeepers were sent eight years ago to monitor a border security zone after the war which killed tens of thousands of people between Eritrea and Ethiopia in the late 1990s.

The Eritreans are angry about Ethiopia’s failure to hand over the disputed town of Badme – which a boundary commission set up after the war awarded to Eritrea – and want the international community to put pressure on Ethiopia to withdraw.

Having lost patience with the UN, Eritrea cut off fuel supplies to the UN’s 1,400 troops and 200 military observers.

The government in Addis Ababa it said it would co-operate in letting the troops relocate to northern Ethiopia.

Comments are closed.