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ETHIOPIA-SOMALIA: Ethiopia denies looting Somali border town

NAIROBI, 10 March 1999 (IRIN) - Ethiopia today denied press reports that its troops engaged in massive looting of private property in the Somali border town of Balanballe. A statement from the Ethiopian embassy in Nairobi termed the Ethiopian force “a disciplined outfit” which has no track record of “looting property or any misconduct anywhere, anytime.” The statement said it respects the territorial integrity of Somalia despite the absence of a central government. Press reports had alleged that Ethiopian troops in pursuit of Muslim fundamentalists from the Al-Itihad Al-Islam group crossed over to the Somalia side where they kidnapped one person and stole medicine and other property.

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