French missile sinks Eritrean gunboat off Djibouti?

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)

See our last posts on the Horn of Africa and the Eritrean crisis.

  1. Take it with a pinch of Salt
    Lol, Bill, those are rumor mill war mongers, I would not take them seriously. If there was truth to it, Reuters would have written about it. ( they have a dedicated office in Asmara)

    1. Reuters Asmara
      FYI – Reuters’ “office” in Asmara is one stringer who isn’t allowed to leave the city. There’s very little information regarding the border available in Asmara. Most information is coming from Djibouti.

    2. war between Eri and Djibuti
      Lol,Dan, you are right it is rumor mill war mongers, like wise,I would not take it seriously. If it was true Eritreans would have already been to Somalia border. It is the time of lies for the fandamental christians and killing time for those jihadists. So sleep easy the jihadists and the fandamental christians are in competition of who creates more havoc.

  2. contradicted news
    Bill Weinberg Please try to keep your credibility straight up, You have said in your article title “French missile sinks Eritrean gunboat off Djibouti?” then you have put it as Somaliland newspaper reported one Eritrean gunboat was sunk after being hit by a missile which the was fired by French warships or the Djiboutian navy. What kinds of news outlet are we witness this time. You could say what ever you want against Eritrea, because we know very well nothing will be change the truth.
    Please keep up your dignity.
    Truth will be prevail at the end of the day

    1. Credibility
      I think the claim is worthy of exposure. What is your problem with airing reports from the local press which are not making it into the mainstream meida in the West?

        1. Thanks. Here’s the text.
          From the Eritrean Ministry of Information, June 25:

          Speech by Eritrean Permanent Mission to the United Nations


          The Government of Djibouti has been engaged in leveling incessant and baseless accusations against the Government of Eritrea for the past two months. These accusations have no bearing whatsoever with the facts and realities on the ground.

          In the event, Eritrea did not respond to the hostile campaign. Instead it chose the path of restraint and patience. This was for profound reasons. Because Eritrea is keenly aware that the provocative campaign originates from, and is designed and packaged, elsewhere. Indeed, Djibouti and its people cannot have, by any stretch of imagination, any interest in this affair. The issue is not, in reality, an agenda of, or a matter that regards Djibouti.

          The fact is there is no good-faith territorial or other dispute between Eritrea and Djibouti. Djibouti’s unwarranted hostile campaign is underpinned by, and synchronized with, other ulterior motives and regional developments.

          Allow me, Excellencies, to elaborate more on the dimensions and ramifications of this manufactured crisis.

          On 22 April this year, few weeks before the onset of this unwarranted campaign, the Ethiopian regime set up a new military camp on mount Musa-Ali. Ethiopia built a network of winding roads up the mount, and, deployed offensive, long-range, artillery and heavy equipment with the apparent knowledge and acquiescence of its major backers.

          Musa-Ali is perked on a border junction of the three countries. The Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC) has, in the course of its delimitation and demarcation Awards of the Eritrea-Ethiopia boundary, determined the respective sovereignties of both countries at this trilateral junction. Ethiopia’s actions, six years after the EEBC Award, are in flagrant violation of these determinations.

          In spite of these illegal acts of destabilization, Eritrea chose to keep silent so as to pursue its established legal approach with higher focus.

          But Eritrea’s restraint in the face of this provocation only aroused further frustration on the forces who wanted to stir trouble by trampling the rule of law. A hostile campaign was set in motion and on June 10 this month, the Government of Djibouti was pushed to launch a provocative and meaningless military attack on our units in the border. Furthermore, Djibouti cried foul first to accuse Eritrea for the very acts that it had perpetrated as the local proverb goes: “a slingshot hits its target and emits a shrill cry first”. Djibouti thus did not only launch an unprovoked attack but leveled a trumped up and well-orchestrated accusation against Eritrea.

          What was more appalling was the unbalanced and unwarranted Presidential Statement that the UN Security Council adopted on 12 June this month with the prodding and sponsorship of the United States.

          In spite of all these adversities, Eritrea did not relax but instead bolstered its restraint.

          As I pointed out earlier, the underlying objective of the military provocation, using Djibouti as the Trojan Horse, is to divert Eritrea from the main agenda – its legal pursuit to ensure Ethiopia’s eviction from its sovereign territories in accordance with the final and binding determinations of the EEBC – and to embroil Eritrea in another front. The whole idea is to entangle us in mutual recriminations with Djibouti. This would lead to endless, fashionable, “mediation missions” and the aggravation of putative regional crises. This would in turn dilute and eclipse Eritrea’s legal efforts to ensure international action towards the eviction of Ethiopian occupation from sovereign Eritrean territories.

          That the architects of this “crisis” are officials in the US State Department and their allies in Addis Abeba is very clear indeed. As part and parcel of her routine vilification campaigns against Eritrea, the US Assistant Secretary of State for Africa claimed, on May 12 last month, that “Eritrea had made an incursion into Djibouti”.

          The timing of Djibouti’s attack, which coincided with the US Presidency of the UN Security Council, also speaks volumes in itself. The Press Statement that the US Administration issued swiftly at 2:00 a.m. on Wednesday June 11 (just few hours after the attack) condemning Eritrea of “military aggression” is more than curious and betrays the game plan. The Peace and Security Council of the African Union was also “seized on the Eritrea-Djibouti problem” three times in May under the Chairmanship of the Ethiopian regime. The same charade occurred with IGAD in Addis Abeba this month. (These institutions have maintained a deafening silence on Ethiopia’s violations of the AU Charter and its occupation of sovereign Eritrean territories for the last six years).

          In this light, the new campaign this week in the Security Council is highly regrettable. Why has Djibouti been prompted to submit an accusation against Eritrea at this level? Why has the Security Council been summoned to discuss a dubious and irresponsible accusation against another Member State with such hastiness? When the Security Council has kept silent or shown little, if any, concern to Ethiopia’s flagrant violation of international law and its occupation of sovereign Eritrean territories, how has it been persuaded now to discuss a “territorial dispute” that does not exist and where no territory has been occupied? Why is an unwarranted skirmish that Djibouti provoked in the first place being misconstrued “as an act of aggression” (US terminology) that deserves prompt consideration and action by the UN Security Council? Why is the issue being blown out of all proportions? We could ask endless questions.

          The Government of Eritrea wishes to underline again that it will not be plunged – through provocations, enticements and other mendacious accusations – into a crisis to become a scapegoat for misguided policies that have failed miserably in our region.

          Indeed, if the Security Council is genuinely concerned in maintaining regional peace and security, it must look elsewhere. It cannot, and must not, otherwise target the victim. For the former to happen, Eritrea believes and humbly requests the Security Council to examine seriously, and to take appropriate measures against, the misguided acts of the US Government that are contributing to the creation, complication and escalation of conflicts in our region.

          I thank you