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Both Ethiopia and Eritrea claim victory in Mereb battle

[Benin] Young boys, Togolese refugees living on the camps in Come, Benin in June 2005. These boys fled Togo on their own or were seperated from their families en route.
Young Togolese refugees in a camp in Benin (Parfait Kouassi)

Ethiopia and Eritrea each blamed the other on Monday for launching attacks near the Mereb River over the weekend, in which hundreds of soldiers on either side are reported to have been killed and injured.

A statement from the Ethiopian government, received by IRIN, claimed it had repelled an Eritrean attack, "launched to boost flagging morale for liberation day" on Monday, killing more than 400 Eritrean soldiers and wounding 1,500.

Eritrea, in turn, alleged in a statement that Ethiopia had launched Friday's attack and that "intermittent fighting" took place throughout the weekend, finally ceasing on Monday. It claimed to have killed 380 Ethiopian soldiers and wounded almost 1,000 in the three days of fighting.

Asmara said the attack had "no purpose other than to disturb the
nationwide celebrations for the eighth anniversary of independence", but that Eritreans throughout the country had nonetheless enjoyed the occasion.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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