BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Somali Swahili French Great Lakes Hausa Portugeuse
BBCi CATEGORIES   TV   RADIO   COMMUNICATE   WHERE I LIVE   INDEX    SEARCH 

BBC News UK Edition
 You are in: World: Africa  
News Front Page
World
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
-------------
From Our Own Correspondent
-------------
Letter From America
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
Education
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
CBBC News
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
Tuesday, 26 November, 2002, 13:52 GMT
Ethiopia releases Eritrean PoWs
Eritrean PoWs
The Eritreans include some civilian detainees
The Ethiopian Foreign Ministry says they have freed more than 1,500 Eritreans captured during the 1998-2000 border war.

In August, Eritrea released 279 Ethiopian PoWs following mediation by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).


Ethiopia has now freed all PoWs under its control

Ethiopian Foreign Ministry
But in its statement, Ethiopia accused Eritrea of still holding some Ethiopian prisoners.

The ICRC, under whose auspices the release and repatriation is happening, said that the PoWs left Dedessa camp in eastern Ethiopia early this morning.

The ICRC added that most PoWs would travel by buses to the border with Eritrea.

Though they added that some Eritrean prisoners, whom they interviewed, did not wish to return home, fearing forced military conscription and "a lack of democracy" in Eritrea.

Some 26 buses and a few reserve buses are currently travelling the 1,000 km journey in a huge convoy.

Our reporter in Addis Ababa, Nita Bhalla, says the convoy is expected to reach the Mereb River, which runs between Ethiopia and Eritrea on Friday morning.

There they will be met by the ICRC and handed over to the Eritrean authorities.

An ICRC official in Addis Ababa said that the prisoners were in a good condition - apart from a few cases of malaria.

Bitter war

Ethiopia said there were 1,568 Eritrean PoWs, including two colonels and other commissioned and non-commissioned officers.

Mr Martinez said there were about 1,300 military prisoners and some 300 civilian detainees.

Ethiopian militiamen
Ethiopia says Eritrea is still holding some PoWs

Despite the August releases of Ethiopian PoWs, Addis Ababa has repeatedly demanded information on missing fighter pilot Colonel Bezabeh Petros and on 36 militiamen and police officers.

"Eritrea has the obligation to free all Ethiopian PoWs and disclose every information in respect of those PoWs it has killed in captivity," the Foreign Ministry said.

The PoWs were captured during the bitter two-and-a-half-year border war with neighbouring Eritrea, which ended in December 2000.

They have been languishing in a prison camp since the peace agreement was signed almost two years ago, ending the conflict which killed more than 70,000 troops on both sides.

Following the war, an international court determined the border between the two countries but tensions remain, with both sides claiming that the court had awarded them the disputed town of Badme.

The physical frontier has not yet been demarcated on the ground.

This process is due to start next year.


Border decision

Reactions

Background:

IN PICTURES

TALKING POINT
See also:

13 Aug 02 | Africa
23 Aug 02 | Africa
20 Aug 02 | Africa
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Africa stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Africa stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | World | UK | England | N Ireland | Scotland | Wales |
Politics | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology |
Health | Education | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes