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Ethiopia Said To Deport Eritreans

November 17, 1998

ASMARA, Eritrea (AP) _ Ethiopia has deported more than 650 Eritreans, among them infants and elderly people, after detaining them for four months under poor conditions, the Eritrean News Agency said Tuesday.

The government news agency said the latest expulsions brought to 34,000 the number of Eritreans expelled by Ethiopia since border hostilities erupted between the two countries six months ago.

The news agency said the deportees complained of having suffered from hunger and disease during their detention.

The allegations could not be independently confirmed.

The border dispute broke out in early June when several hundred people were killed in two weeks of battles. Since then, there has been a massive troop standoff along the border, with sporadic artillery exchanges at Zalambesa and other areas.

Heavy shelling was reported this week at Zalambesa, now occupied by Eritrea.

In late October, an exchange of artillery described by residents as worse than usual killed two people and left dozens of fields in flames in southern Eritrea.

Eritrea fought a 30-year war against Ethiopia and gained independence in 1993. But the border between the two countries has never been officially delineated.

Update hourly