Despite hindrances, UN completes regrouping of blue helmets in Eritrea

3 March 2008

After more than a week of repeated blockages by Eritrean forces, United Nations peacekeepers in the Horn of Africa country have finally completed regrouping to the capital, Asmara, in preparation for their planned temporary relocation across the border to Ethiopia.

According to the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE), all staff have now left the Temporary Security Zone (TSZ) that separates the two countries, which fought a bloody border war that ended in 2000.

Except for 112 military personnel who are awaiting further instructions in the port city of Assab, all of the approximately 980 peacekeepers – mainly from Jordanian, Indian and Kenyan battalions – along with most military observers in the country are now in the capital city.

UNMEE decided to temporarily move its personnel from Eritrea after the country cut off diesel fuel supplies to the mission, paralyzing its operations. UN military personnel in Ethiopia have not been affected by the relocation.


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