An Eritrean opposition group, the Red Sea Afar Democratic Organization (RSADO), claimed that Eritrea granted Egypt green light to build a military base on its territory.
The opposition group officials quoted “reliable” sources in Eritrea,claiming that Asmara has allowed Cairo to acquire a military base in Nora locality at the Dahlak Island for an indefinite period of time.
RSADO further said that the agreement comes in the wake of last week’s high-level visit of the Egyptian delegation to Eritrea.
Officials from the group hinted that an estimated 20,000 to 30,000 Egyptian naval forces will be deployed at the planned base.
If true Egypt will be Africa’s first and third Arab country to build a military facility in the reclusive East African nation, currently under United Nations sanctions for arming and financing Al-Shabab, a terrorist group allied with al-Qaeda.
Eritrea has already leased its port town of Assab to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to establish military bases to ease their coalition battle against Houthi rebels in Yemen, according to previous U.N reports.
As result, Ethiopia warned the two Arab nations, as concerned by Saudi and UAE military presence in Eritrea, against supporting what it said was “Asmara’s long-standing destabilizing agenda against Ethiopia.”
Sudan Tribune said that recently Egyptian leaders have reportedly been engaged in diplomatic efforts for regional countries including Somalia, Somali land and Djibouti to grant them military and commercial base in their selected soil.
However, none of Cairo’s efforts were reportedly successful, prompting the opposition group to disclose this matter, as reported by Sudan Tribune.
Moreover, some Ethiopian politicians argue that Egypt’s growing interest to secure military incursion in the Horn of Africa intends to contain Ethiopia’s Renaissance Dam project.
It is noteworthy that the Ethiopian Dam is a sensitive issue to Egypt as it fears that it would have negative repercussions on its water shares from the Nile river.
Redda Mulgeta, a member of Ethiopia’s ruling Peoples Republican Democratic Front (EPRDF), says Cairo’s motive to have military presence in Eritrea was clear.
Mulgeta said,”Egyptian leaders’ motive to have a military base in the soil of rival Eritrea is to sabotage construction of Ethiopia’s mega dam project by supporting Eritrea sponsored anti-Ethiopian elements and al-Qaeda allied Somali militant group,” according to Sudan Tribune.
He added,”Egypt is conspiring with Eritrea to subject Ethiopia engage in proxy war with its enemy Eritrea, local armed opposition groups and further with al-Shabaab.”
Meanwhile, despite the various U.N reports, Eritrea has previously dismissed revelations that it has leased lands for foreign countries.
In fact, the relations between Ethiopia and Eritrea has remained odd after 1998-2000 border war, which killed an estimated over 70,000 people.