Ethiopia, Eritrea reopen another border crossing

Ethiopia's and Eritrea's flags are displayed on the street ahead of Eritrea's President Isaias Afwerki's visit to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia July 13, 2018. (Reuters)
Updated 07 January 2019
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Ethiopia, Eritrea reopen another border crossing

  • The two leaders re-opened the border crossing between Humera in Ethiopia and Oum Hajjer in Eritrea
  • Relations between the neighbors have continued to improve rapidly with Monday’s reopening of the Humera-Oum Hajjer border

ADDIS ABABA: Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki on Monday reopened a border crossing between their countries as part of an ongoing reconciliation between the former foes.
The two leaders re-opened the border crossing between Humera in Ethiopia and Oum Hajjer in Eritrea on the western edge of both nations, according to the state-owned Ethiopia Broadcasting Corporation.
In September, an initial two land crossings between the countries were ceremonially reopened for the first time in 20 years, after Abiy settled a long-standing border dispute by agreeing to adhere to a United Nations ruling.
However, the major crossings between Bure-Debay Sima in the east and Zalambessa-Serha in the west were closed again last month without explanation, according to local media reports.
Nevertheless, relations between the neighbors have continued to improve rapidly with Monday’s reopening of the Humera-Oum Hajjer border post the latest sign of normalization allowing the free movement of people and goods.
Borders were sealed in 1998 as the neighboring Horn of Africa nations cut diplomatic ties at the outbreak of a short but bloody two-year frontier battle.
An ensuing cold war stymied development and trade, and undermined regional security, but in a surprise move last year, Abiy began peace overtures, which were welcomed by Eritrea.


Nine Iranians detained for alleged drug smuggling in Sri Lanka

Updated 19 min 5 sec ago
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Nine Iranians detained for alleged drug smuggling in Sri Lanka

  • Nine Iranians were caught with 107.22 kg of heroin onboard a trawler bound for the country on Monday

COLOMBO: A Sri Lankan court remanded nine Iranians in custody after they were caught with 107.22 kg of heroin onboard a trawler bound for the country on Monday.

Colombo Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne permitted the Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) to detain and interrogate the suspects, and ordered it to submit a report to the court on the progress of the investigation.

The vessel was tracked on Sunday morning by a joint operations team comprised of PNB agents, a police special task force and the Sri Lankan navy ship Suranimala off the southern coast of Galle.

Security forces seized the vessel and arrested the nine Iranians, after which the suspects and boat were transferred to PNB custody in the capital.

At a press briefing on Sunday night, Police Superintendent Ruwan Gunasekara said that 99 packets of heroin had been found hidden in four fertilizer bags onboard the boat, and that the suspects had posed as fishermen.

He added that the trawler had been at sea around 14 days, and that on seeing the approaching Suranimala, the crew had dumped an estimated 500 kg of heroin into the water. Mobile and satellite phones had also been found and confiscated.

“It was a joint operation and a great victory in combating the drugs menace,” Lt. Cmdr. Isuru Sooriyabandara said.

As the suspects were unable to communicate in English, the PNB said it would seek assistance from the Iranian Embassy in Colombo to help with translation. Embassy sources, meanwhile, claimed that the nationalities of the nine detainees had not been confirmed.

Early this year, a 24-year-old Iranian woman was arrested by the PNB at Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo for smuggling cannabis.