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UNMEE press briefing notes 8 Dec 2006

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General Overview

The military situation in the Temporary Security Zone (TSZ) and Adjacent Areas is volatile and tense, in the wake of Eritrean forces entering the TSZ in Sector West since 16 October 2006.

Routine troop movements continue to be observed on both sides in Sector Centre and Sub-Sector East.

The Eritrean ban on UNMEE flights is still in place, and UNMEE patrols continue to face restrictions inside the TSZ, particularly in Sector West as well as in Sector Centre. In certain areas, movement at night has been curtailed. Nonetheless, monitoring of the TSZ and Adjacent Areas continued from existing posts. UNMEE conducted 718 ground patrols throughout the Area of Responsibility in the past week.

In all Sectors, UNMEE peacekeepers continued to provide medical assistance to the local populations. Veterinary support was also given in Sector Centre. Approximately 20,700 litres of bulk water was supplied to the local communities in the TSZ and the Adjacent Areas during the past week.

World AIDS Day Participation by the Military

From 29 November to 2 December, the Indian Battalion (Indbatt VI) in Sector Centre, organized a week of activities to commemorate World AIDS Day in Adigrat, Ethiopia. A cycle race for the youth in the town kicked off the activities. Classes in HIV/AIDS awareness were conducted at the Headquarters of the Ethiopian Armed Forces (EAF) 21st Division at Adigrat. In addition, an entertainment programme took place in Adigrat Stadium, in collaboration with the Ethiopian Red Cross Society. The function was attended by a large number of school children, and the local populace. A medical camp was organised by the Contingent in Mekelle, in which a total of 25 people were treated.

On 1 December, World AIDS Day was observed. In Sector West, banners and brochures on HIV prevention measures were distributed in Barentu and HIV/AIDS awareness lectures were conducted. In sub-Sector East, a medical camp was conducted in Assab, treating 83 members of the local community.


The Route Clearance Team (RCT) of the MACC continued to verify mine threats in riverbeds and minefields, and on roadways in Sector Centre. The Integrated Demining Capacity (IDC) teams also deployed to Egri Mekel minefield in the Tserona area (Sector Centre), within the TSZ. The teams cleared 26,065 square metres of land, and 20.1 kilometres of road in the area. The teams discovered twelve unexploded ordnance (UXO) items.

The MACC's Mine Risk Education (MRE) Teams One and Two deployed to Sector West (Sub zone of Lalay-Gash), and Sector Centre (Sub zone of Tserona), respectively. The teams conducted MRE activities for 562 local people from different age groups and gender, affected by mines and explosive remnants of war.


On 1 December, UNMEE Civilian staff members joined the UN fraternity in Addis Ababa to mark World AIDS Day, at a function in which several presentations were made on what the UN is currently doing in the area of HIV/AIDS action and awareness. In Eritrea, at the invitation of the Eritrean Ministry of Health, the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General, Lebohang K. Moleko, the Force Commander, Major General Mohammed Taisir Masadeh and Senior Managers attended the national World AIDS Day ceremony in Dekemhare. Members of the Asmara-based UN Country Team also attended the function.

For further enquires please contact: Musi Khumalo, Deputy Chief of Public Information, UNMEE Headquarters Asmara, Telephone: 291-1-150411 Ext 6017 or our tie-line in New York: 00-1-212-963-3779-Ext 6017 or UNMEE Headquarters Addis Ababa, Telephone: 251-1-372-6895 extension 7059/7076 UNMEE Website: http://www.unmeeonline.org