Djibouti charges Eritrea in new incursion

A week after border skirmishes were reported, Djibouti has accused neighboring Eritrea of illegally intruding into its territory. Djibouti’s Foreign Minister Mahmoud Ali Youssef told AlJazeera June 20 that Eritrean troops crossed the border on the strategic Bab al-Mandeb Strait. “Eritrean troops entered Djiboutian territory and took more land,” he said. “Right now, Eritrean troops are stationed inside Djiboutian territories.”

Youssef said Djibouti was complying with international demands for de-escalation. “The UN Security Council has asked for both countries to withdraw their troops from this area,” he said. “The Djiboutian government has withdrawn its forces up to 5 kilometers inside the Djiboutian land. But Eritrean forces have advanced.” Youssef showed Al Jazeera documents, pictures and maps that have been submitted to the UN, purportedly showing trenches dug by Eritrean troops on Djibouti’s territory.

Some analysts think Eritrea has already claimed the Bab Al Mandab Strait, which guards the entrance to the Red Sea. Mahmoud Taha Towkal, a political analyst, told AlJazeera: “There is a new reality. Under recent developments, the Bab Al Mandeb Strait is no longer under the control of Djibouti and Yemen. It is now controlled by three countries: Djibouti, Eritrea and Yemen. It is no longer under the control of the Arab countries.” (AlJazeera, June 20)

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