08/12/06 (B373) BBC : Ethiopian ‘defectors’ in Eritrea (En Anglais / Info lectrice)

Ethiopian soldiers have defected to Eritrea, Eritrea’s government says.

A statement from the information ministry said the troops had acted in protest
at what it described as Ethiopia’s invasion of Somalia.

fear Somalia could become a proxy battleground for Ethiopia and Eritrea, who
back opposite sides in the unrest there.

The two
countries fought a border war between 1998-2000 in which more than 70,000
people were killed.

A peace
deal, under which both countries agreed to a final decision demarcating their
shared border, has faltered because of differences over ownership of a town.

in Somalia is exacerbating tensions between the two sides.

The Ethiopian
government backs Somalia’s transitional government, while Eritrea is said
to back an Islamic militia, the Union of Islamic Courts, which now controls
much of the south of the country.

and Addis Ababa both deny sending arms and soldiers to Somalia.

senior officers, health professionals and a number of nurses were among the
defectors, the Eritrean ministry said.

The soldiers
acted because troops and health professionals were being imprisoned following
the defection of two Ethiopian generals last month, the report said.

from BBC NEWS: