Ethiopian soldiers discreetly cross the border
Having to contend with the danger of destabilisation by the Front pour la Restauration de l'Unité et de la Démocratie armé (FRUD armé) and the ineffectiveness of his own armed forces, Forces Armées Djiboutiennes (FAD), President Ismail Omar Guelleh of Djibouti once again called big brother Ethiopia for help (ION nº1433). So, the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) have been grouping on the Djibouti-Ethiopia border since March 1.
At 8 a.m. on March 3, eight ENDF trucks crossed the border at Alayto-le-Boyna, informing the population that their aim was to penetrate the country as far as Gamro-le-Dala and hold the hill overlooking Lake Assal, about fifteen kilometres away. This lake has been the bone of contention between the Afar and the Issa since 6 October 2016, when the Minister for Health, the President’s son-in-law Djama Elmi Okieh aka Djama Speed, declared that the zone was now part of Arta District, whereas it has historically been under Tadjourah jurisdiction (ION nº1438). To be sure, several strategic sites are in play, like Goubet Port, the Dankelelo area, the salt factory, the mines in Assal and Petroteca’s geothermal drilling sites at Gaala-le-Koma.
It would seem that FRUD armé has no intention of retreating and that there is therefore a real risk of a clash with the ENDF.