Eritrea denies sending troops to Somalia

October 29, 2006 13:19

Eritrea has strongly denied it has deployed 2,000 troops in Somalia, claiming instead the US is using its arch rival Ethiopia to carry out a war in the country. The Red Sea nation also accused the United Nations of "pure fabrication" following the leaking of a confidential UN briefing note which concluded that thousands of Ethiopian and Eritrean troops are in Somalia, backing opposing sides in the struggle for supremacy in the strategic country. A statement posted on the information ministry's web site late Saturday said the troop claim was an attempt "to cover up the US governments plans and the war it is carrying out in Somalia and the Horn of Africa in general" through the Ethiopian government. The UN report, dated October 26 and obtained by The Associated Press on Friday, cites diplomatic sources estimating that "between 6,000-8,000 Ethiopians" are supporting the government and that "2,000 fully equipped Eritrean troops are now inside Somalia" backing the Islamic group known as the Council of Islamic Courts.

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