Eritrea launches new attack on Ethiopia

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The Independent Online
ETHIOPIA SAID yesterday that Eritrean forces had launched a fresh attack on its positions in the heart of the disputed territory that has sparked a growing conflict between the two countries.

An Ethiopian government spokeswoman said fighting began at Erde Mattios and was continuing. Known by Eritrea as Badme and by Ethiopia as Badame, the disputed area is a rocky 155-square-mile triangle of land along the western border. No details of casualties were available and there was no confirmation of the fighting from Eritrean officials.

Ethiopian and Eritrean forces battled for most of Tuesday around Zalambessa, the border town on the main road between the two countries' capitals.

Zalambessa is in Ethiopia and was captured by Eritrea last week. The Eritreans say this was to prevent Ethiopia from using it as a base from which to launch attacks.

Heavy fighting was reported on Tuesday and reporters saw casualties from both sides being taken to hospitals. But yesterday the area was calm.

With the conflict continuing, the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), at an annual summit in Burkina Faso on Tuesday, agreed in principle to send a peace mission to the area.

While Eritrea welcomed the move, Ethiopia expressed reservations.