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IBRU: Centre for Borders Research

Boundary news

Boundary news Headlines

Ethiopian soldiers cross Kenyan border

(22 May 2015)

According to local media reports, including Kenya’s Daily Nation newspaper, about 50 Ethiopian soldiers and policemen crossed into Kenyan territory on 19 May 2015. The Ethiopian soldiers and policemen were armed with AK47 rifles and briefly took control of a police station located at least 15 kilometres from the border between the two countries in the North Horr region. Local police chief Tom Odero said that, the soldiers’ “intention is not clear,” and added that the soldiers were photographing areas near the border.

The relationship between Kenya and Ethiopia, usually comfortable, has been strained recently by a series of incidents. In April, the airplane carrying Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta was turned back over Ethiopian airspace for reasons that have yet to be made public. In addition, local media reports indicate that the soldiers’ incursion represents the third such event so far this year.

Ethiopia plans to hold an election next week, and some commentators have suggested that recent border activities may be part of an effort by current Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn to demonstrate strength before the election.

Sources:

Ethiopian forces ‘cross into Kenya’, risk diplomatic fall out with key regional ally, 19 May 2015, Mail & Guardian Africa, http://mgafrica.com/article/2015-05-19-ethiopian-forces-cross-into-kenya-risk-diplomatic-fall-out

Ethiopian Troops Cross Border Into Kenya, 19 May 2015, Eurasia Review, http://www.eurasiareview.com/19052015-ethiopian-troops-cross-border-into-kenya/