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Ethiopia Detains Two Swedish Journalists After Attack on Rebels

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July 4 (Bloomberg) -- Ethiopian security forces detained two Swedish journalists for illegally entering the country after a raid on a rebel group in the eastern Somali region that killed 15, State Minister of Communications Shimeles Kemal said.

The fighting took place after members of the Ogaden National Liberation Front crossed the border from Somalia on June 27, Shimeles said in a phone interview from the Addis Ababa, the capital.

“It was a failed attempt to infiltrate from Somalia on the part of the ONLF,” he said today. “The rebels started shooting and in the ensuing fight 15 were killed and six captured, together with the Swedish journalists.”

The pair were treated for slight injuries and are being held by police in the regional capital, Jijiga, Shimeles said. The Swedish Foreign Ministry is waiting for official confirmation of the arrests, spokesman Kent Oberg said in a phone interview from Stockholm today.

Ethiopian security forces were tipped off by officials in Puntland, a semi-autonomous region of Somalia, about the entry of the journalists, the ONLF said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. The group has been fighting for self-determination for the Ogaden area of Somali region since 1984.

To contact the reporter on this story: William Davison in Addis Ababa via Johannesburg at pmrichardson@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin in Johannesburg at asguazzin@bloomberg.net.

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