Published: Wednesday 31 March 1999

The border conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea has taken a new turn, with Ethiopian jets trying to destroy a vital water source in Eritrea. Ethiopian MiG-23 fighter planes bombed a reservoir 50 kilometres from the Eritrean port of Assab. An Ethiopian communiqu said, Eritrean artillery, tanks, military rations, and the reservoir were damaged in the raid at Harsele and that the Eritrean soldiers suffered heavy losses. The Eritreans confirmed the attacks but said the bombs missed their target. They could not kill anyone... except maybe a wandering ostrich, said an Eritrean official, Seged.

The reservoir is the main water source for Assab, which lies in the hot and dry lowlands. Water is scarce in the region where the Danakil desert carves out hundreds of kilometres of inhospitable terrain inhabited mainly by nomads. The spread of fighting along the border prompted new efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict.

Subscribe to Weekly Newsletter :

Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.