Somali newspaper Somaliland Times website reported June 15 that at least one Eritrean gunboat was sunk after being hit by a missile. All the crew are believed dead, sources said. It is not known whether the missile was fired by French warships or the Djiboutian navy. Eritrea has reportedly been using two gunboats to fire on Djiboutian ground troops attempting to dislodge Eritrean forces from positions within Djiboutian territory they seized June 10. (Asmara Gazette, June 16)
Djibouti says more French warships will arrive off its coast in coming days following last week’s apparent clashes with Eritrea, which reportedly left a dozen Djiboutian soldiers dead and dozens more wounded. Djibouti’s Foreign Minister Mahamoud Ali Youssouf said fighting has ceased in the border area overlooking strategic Red Sea shipping lanes. “France will send warships in the coming days to the Ras Doumeira area…our forces remain vigilant,” he told reporters.
In Paris, the Defense Ministry said three French ships were in the region, and two—a helicopter carrier and a frigate—have reached Djibouti’s territorial waters. “For the moment, their mission is to provide logistical, medical and intelligence support—there is no participation in combat,” armed forces spokesman Christophe Prazuck told Reuters. (Reuters, June 16)