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Eritrean Fatally Shot After Entering UN Post

Eritrean Fatally Shot After Entering UN Post In Border Zone With Ethiopia

New York, Oct 25 2006 5:00PM

Two Eritreans illegally entered a post of the United Nations peacekeeping force overseeing the ceasefire along the border between Eritrea and Ethiopia over the weekend, and one of them was fatally shot when a sentry fired to scare off the assailants, the UN mission reported today.

“Repeated calls by the sentry for the intruders to vacate the premises were not heeded,” the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) said in a statement on the incident, which occurred on Saturday at the missions Sector West headquarters in Barentu, Eritrea.

“At some point, one of the intruders tried to attack the sentry, who fired shots to scare off the assailants. Unfortunately, one of the intruders was hit,” it added. The injured person was immediately offered medical attention at the mission’s level 1 plus hospital and then transported to Barentu Hospital where he died.

“UNMEE deeply regrets this tragic loss of life and extends its sincere condolences to the family of the deceased and to the Eritrean authorities,” the statement said.

The mission has since instituted an investigation, and will fully cooperate with the Eritrean Government for the successful conduct of this probe.

Nine days ago, Eritrean troops moved 1,500 troops and 14 tanks into the Temporary Security Zone (TSZ) separating the two countries in what Secretary-General Kofi Annan called “a major breach” of the ceasefire that ended the two-year border war in 2000. He called on Eritrea to withdraw its troops immediately.

UNMEE reported then that the Eritrean forces took over one of its checkpoints in Sector West.

Last year Eritrea restricted UNMEE’s use of helicopters, impeding its ability to monitor 50 to 55 per cent of the area on the Eritrean side within the TSZ.

In his latest report last month on the conflict, Mr. Annan repeated concerns that Ethiopia had not accepted the binding decisions of the Boundary Commission demarcating the border at the root of the war, and that Eritrea refused to continue to cooperate with the body.

ends

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