News24

Eritrea opposition to fight

2009-12-29 22:04

Addis Ababa - An Eritrean opposition group told AFP on Tuesday it was "prepared to launch attacks" on government troops after the United Nations last week imposed tough sanctions on Asmara.

"This is a good opportunity for us," Cornelios Osman, head of the Democratic Movement for the Liberation of the Eritrean Kunama (DMLEK) said in a phone interview.

"We are preparing our military forces to launch more attacks," he added. "We are inside Eritrea and will hit selected targets and institutions."

The UN Security Council last week voted for an arms embargo and targeted sanctions against Eritrea, which has been accused of trying to destablise the Western-backed government in neighbouring Somalia.

Asmara condemned the decision as "a shameful day" for the United Nations.

But Cornelios said the travel ban imposed on senior officials would "further isolate the regime" and "deter it from receiving the hundreds of millions of dollars it gets" annually from the Eritrean diaspora.

DMLEK is a member of the Ethiopia based coalition Eritrean Democratic Alliance, of which two other groups have also waged a nascent armed struggle often staging hit-and-run attacks.

Eritrean President Issaias Afeworki has often dismissed his country's foreign-based opposition as "puppets" linked with arch-foe Ethiopia, with whom Eritrea recently fought a border war.

Some 80 000 people died in a 1998-2000 border conflict between the two neighbours, many in brutal World War I style trench warfare.

A UN-backed boundary commission charged with demarcating the border handed the disputed town of Badme to Eritrea but Ethiopia has refused to implement the ruling so far.