Djibouti, Eritrea in territorial dispute after Qatar peacekeepers leave

Reuters/By Aaron Maasho | ADDIS ABABA Djibouti accused neighboring Eritrea on Friday of occupying disputed territory along their border after Qatar withdrew its peacekeepers. Foreign Minister Mahamoud Ali Youssouf said Djibouti's military were "on alert" and that

Reuters/By Aaron Maasho | ADDIS ABABA

Djibouti accused neighboring Eritrea on Friday of occupying disputed territory along their border after Qatar withdrew its peacekeepers.

Foreign Minister Mahamoud Ali Youssouf said Djibouti’s military were “on alert” and that it had lodged complaints with the United Nations and the African Union.

The United Nations Security Council is due to discuss the situation behind closed doors on Monday, diplomats said.

Moussa Faki Mahamat, chairperson of the African Union Commission, later posted on Twitter: “I told Djibouti’s Ambassador Idris Farah the AUC will send a delegation to Djibouti border to monitor developments, work with all parties.”

Qatar said it was pulling its contingent out on June 14, days after the two East African countries sided with Saudi Arabia and its allies in their standoff with Qatar.

Doha’s foreign ministry did not give a reason for the move but it comes as Doha faces a diplomatic crisis with some of its Arab neighbors. They cut ties a week ago, accusing Qatar of backing Islamist militants and Iran, something Doha strongly denies.

“Qatari peacekeepers withdrew on June 12 and 13. On the same day, there were Eritrean military movements on the mountain,” Ali Youssouf told Reuters.

“They are now in full control of Dumeira Mountain and Dumeira Island. This is in breach of the UN Security Council resolution,” he added, referring to areas that the neighbors dispute.

Authorities in Asmara were not immediately available for comment.

Djibouti, a close Western ally, hosts French and U.S. military bases and is the main route to the sea for Eritrea’s arch foe and Washington’s top regional ally, Ethiopia.

Eritrea has fractious ties with the West, which had previously accused it of backing Somali and other regional insurgents. Asmara denies the charges.

Clashes broke out between the Horn of Africa countries in June 2008 after Djibouti accused Asmara of moving troops across the border, raising fears the spat could engulf the region.

The dispute triggered several days of fighting in which a dozen Djiboutian troops died and dozens were wounded. Eritrea had initially denied making any incursions, accusing Djibouti of launching unprovoked attacks.

The U.N. Security Council requested both sides withdraw, before the neighbors accepted a Qatari request to mediate and deploy peacekeepers.

(Additional reporting by Michelle Nichols at the United Nations; Writing by Aaron Maasho; Editing by James Dalgleish)

Review overview
  • Habtu June 17, 2017

    Well, Djibouti has no choice but either Eritrea controls the higher grounds or let neutral third party occupy the disputed territories. It is all about national security issue. Sorry, Djibouti!

    • amanuel June 17, 2017

      Sory djubiti will turn into sorry iseyas habtu ksbtu.

    • adhanom June 17, 2017

      Djubtians have life. They can go to school they want to, they can be buisiness men if they want, they can farm their land if they want, they grow playing soccer together like normal children with normal life. So u need to be sorry for ur self who is denied of everything that is normal.

      • Habtu June 20, 2017

        I’m not sure what you wrote has anything to do with what I had to say.

  • Sol June 17, 2017

    እቲ ሕሙም ውልቐ መላኺ ኤሰያስ ምስ ጅቡቲ ወላ ሓንቲ ግርጭት የለን ውግእ ዝበሃል ኣየነበረን እናበለ እዩ ዝልፍልፍ መስኪን ህዝቢ ውግእ ከምዝነበረ ዓቀብቲ ሰላም ናይ ቐጠር ከምዝነበሩ ብወረ ውረ እምበር በተን ኣገልገልቲ ሓሶት ዝኾና ናይ ዜና ማዕክናቱ ኣይተነግረን።
    ሕሙም ውልቐ መላኺ ኤሰያስ ከም ኣመሉ ኩሉ ልኡላዊ ጉዳያት ህገር ብሕሹኽሹኽ ምስ ደናቑር ጀነራላቱ ስለዝፍጽም በዘይካ ዕንወት ወላ ክንዲ ፍረ ኣድሪ ትዅን ፋይዳ ኣይተረኽበን።
    And people like you who turned our beloved country to a fertile land for dictatorship will never hesitate to support whatever action the maniac dictator execute.

    • Habtu June 17, 2017

      Focus on the issue at hand! Or, are you incapable of doing that?

  • Mike June 17, 2017

    My prediction:
    Eritrea yet will relinquish again this disputed land to Djibouti. First it was The Hanish Islands, then Badime, and now whatever the disputed land with Djibouti will be lost – Does Sudan have any claims over any piece of Eritrean land – that may also be lost. When a nation is not focusing on its people and sleeping with anyone to get your stay in power a little longer – all is lost.


  • Aba thimmer June 17, 2017

    This way may lead serious new shadow of war if not world war 3rd, in one way, due to EPLF/TPLF stupidity and uncertain policy of Arabic states. There for, we eritreans &ethiopians let be aware not to use card of Djibouti please! .

  • nahon June 17, 2017

    The brutal regime first starts a trouble with a neighbor , and then intentionally implicates the people in a conflict that can be solved peacefully, just to justify its indefinite hold on power.
    My fear is that this particular case could give Ethiopia an excuse to start war against Eritrea, as the two countries may have some sort of military agreement, in which innocent young Eritreans could die.
    We hate the regime in Eritrea but will never hesitate to protect our land. Land belongs to the people.
    My Allah/God protect my people and my land.

  • Amba June 17, 2017

    Who was controlling the disputed area during Mengistu’s Dergue era? Was it Djibouti or Ethiopia? Why is Djibouti disputing the territory after Eritrea became independent?

  • Amanios June 19, 2017

    Have you ever watched the English movie “The Mouse That Roared” with Peter Sellers as the main character? Djibouti is a liliputan desert enclave that at the present is but a de facto outpost military garrison of powerful international players. It is also a submissive vassal of third or fourth class would-be regional powers. Thus, analogous to Mickey Mouse riding on the back of Jerry the Cat, it believes it’s opportune time to take advantage over Eritrea, while the powerful powers with their armies and a plethora of their regional vassals are sitting with their legs stretched wide at its backyard. It is stirring up unprovoked diplomatic animosity, paving the way, as it were, for a possible eventual armed confrontation.
    The area in question has always been sovereign Eritrean territory during the Italian rule, nor has it ever been contested by Djibouti during the entire period of Eritrea’s existence as a province of Ethiopia.
    Whereas our grievances against the regime ruling, or rather, misruling, our country, are justified by practically all thinkable parameters, Djibouti’s intransigence and beligerency vis a vis Eritrea’s vital short and long range interests can by no means be accepted. To the contrary, they should be profoundly rejected and dismissed.
    It’s hoped the regime we have in Asmara shall not let itself provoked into an all-out military confrontation. It has to exert maximum effort on diplomatic engagement and for a peaceful resolution of the conflict. A statusquo has been maintained,by the Eritrean side, and war would hitherto be waged only as ultima ratio, as a last resort, when determined that the adversary has decidedly resolved to attain his goal by means of force.

  • Cato the Younger June 19, 2017

    The area in question has always been sovereign Eritrean territory during the Italian rule, nor has Djibouti ever contested it during the entire period of Eritrea’s existence as a province of Ethiopia. Djibouti should stop its hostile provocations against Eritrea. Djibouti’s political animosity and intransigence against vital short and long range interests of Eritrea are unacceptable under any circumstances.

  • Cato the Younger June 19, 2017

    “The Mouse That Roared” – an English movie with Peter Sellers as the main character. The Mickey Mouse Republic of Djibouti is flexing its muscles to grab sovereign Eritrean land by force. What a banality!

  • Nahon June 19, 2017

    Because of Higdef’s confrontational attitude, and its mishandling of national affairs, even a small country like Djibouti is trying to outsmart Eritrea by aligning on it’s side regional powers.
    Now, we should not exclude the possibility, that some of these, would use the current crisis as an opportunity to teach the brutal regime in Asmara a lesson, and incorporate part our land into their territory.
    Sadly, the owners, the Eritrean people, find themselves unable to remove from the stage, a clique that has divided them, and weakened them, to the extent that they cannot even stand together to defend land, that legally and historically belongs to them.