Guns fall silent on the Horn of Africa

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The Independent Online
THE GUNS fell silent in the conflict between Ethiopia and neighbouring Eritrea yesterday, while the two governments continued their salvos of blame for the clashes.

American and Rwandan diplomats were shuttling between the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa and the Eritrean capital Asmara to try to help resolve the conflict.

People fled the Ethiopian town of Adigrat after Eritrean helicopters and planes bombed the town on Thursday, killing four civilians and wounding 30. They hastily buried two victims of the raid before dawn so they could leave town. The other two were so disfigured they could not be identified. The wounded still filled beds lining the corridors of Adigrat's hospital, where over 100 wounded soldiers are also being treated.

The Eritrean government said it had bombed the town because the Ethiopians had turned it into "the main garrison for reinforcing the invading Ethiopian army and a centre for army logistics".

But an Ethiopian spokeswoman in Addis Ababa the attack was "an act of desp- eration" after Eritrean forces were "heavily defeated" in ground fighting on two fronts on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the Ethiopian army poured reinforcements into the front lines south of Zala Ambessa, 10 days after Eritreans captured the town.

A commander in the area said he expected a fresh Eritrean offensive there.