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Execution claims are absurd – Eritrea

ASMARA – Eritrea on Tuesday described as “absurd” Ethiopian accusations that Eritrean troops had executed 17 ethnic Afars living near the front line in their two countries’ border war.

“The Ethiopians want to maintain an environment of hatred, so they come out with the most outrageous accusations,” Eritrean presidential spokesman Yemane Ghebremeskel told AFP here.

Addis Ababa on Monday accused Eritrea of executing 17 ethnic Afars after the people had reportedly refused to accept Eritrean identity cards and to join the army to fight in the 19-month-old border war.

Ethiopia has repeatedly accused Eritrea of conscripting Ethiopians by force, a charge Eritrean officials have described as “ludicrous.”

“The idea of forcing someone who is untrained and is enemy personnel is ridiculous,” one international observer said.

Relief workers reported that they had no information on the alleged Afar executions.

Ethiopia has deported more than 68 000 Eritreans living in Ethiopia and Ethiopia has counter-accused Eritrea of also deporting thousands of its nationals.

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