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Vol 40 No 4

Published 19th February 1999


Eritrea

Pride and prejudice

Both sides seem to be keen to fight to the death in one of the least explicable wars

On 6 February, Ethiopia launched the first of several attacks to test how deeply Eritrean forces were dug in along the disputed border areas which they had taken over in May-June. Fighting at first focussed on a ridge commanding the Baduma plains near Badme and around Eritrean defences at Gaza Gerehlase. Ethiopian troops overran part of those defences on 7 February but were forced out again, having made surprisingly limited use of their helicopter gunships and MiG-23 fighter aircraft. Eritrean commanders later claimed that they had lured the Ethiopians into an ambush by a feigned retreat. Ethiopia took journalists to the front on 15 February in an unconvincing effort to prove it had taken and held Gaza Gerehlase.

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