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Ethiopia says 148 rebels from Eritrea surrender

ADDIS ABABA, Jan. 21 (Xinhua) — The Ethiopian government on Sunday said 148 rebels have surrendered to Ethiopian security forces in recent weeks.

The surrenders are said to be members of the outlawed rebel group Gambella People’s Liberation Front (GPLM), said Gat Luack, President of Gambella regional state.

He said the rebels had previously been based in neighboring Eritrea, but decided to return to Ethiopia to participate in the country’s peace and development activities.

The Ethiopian government alleges the rebel group is supported by its archrival country Eritrea, while Eritrea accuses Ethiopia of supporting Eritrean rebel groups and running an international campaign to isolate the Red Sea nation.

Since Eritrea’s independence from Ethiopia following a referendum in 1993, the two nations have been locked in a hostile border dispute, which resulted in a bloody border war between 1998 and 2000 that killed an estimated 70,000 people from both sides.

Since then, the common border between Eritrea and Ethiopia has had an uneasy calm punctuated with periodic armed standoffs.

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