Monday, February 20, 2006

Zalambessa, Ethiopia

It's hard to tell which stones are the rubble of war and which are the ingredients of reconstruction in the frontier town of Zalambessa.

In 1998, Eritrea's soldiers invaded and destroyed this town on the disputed border with Ethiopia at the start of a two-year war in which 70,000 people were killed.

..."We have to survive with what we have now, and we are feeling the threat of war," businessman Hailu Zerafa, 70, said.

When he came back two years ago, his grinding mill, grain store and bar had been destroyed and all the hardware had been carted to Eritrea. His wife had returned from an Eritrean jail but, weakened by sickness, she died months later. "The Eritreans took all of my property, including my wife. They didn't even leave a nail. Now I have nothing -- zero and zero," he said.

Hailu, and people like him, are now rebuilding their homes and businesses, in the shadow of a military standoff playing out just yards from...

Rebirth, fear on ruined Ethiopia-Eritrea frontier (Reuters) February 20, 2006