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Badme is located in Eritrea
Location in Eritrea [1] (but administered by Ethiopia)
Coordinates: 14°43′34″N 37°48′12″E / 14.72611°N 37.80333°E / 14.72611; 37.80333Coordinates: 14°43′34″N 37°48′12″E / 14.72611°N 37.80333°E / 14.72611; 37.80333
Country disputed
Ethiopia Ethiopia (de facto)
Eritrea Eritrea (de jure)
Region Ethiopia Tigray Region
Eritrea Gash-Barka
Population (2005)
 • Total 1,563
Climate BSh

Badme is a town that is the focus of a territorial dispute between Eritrea and Ethiopia. It is claimed by both Eritrea, which considers Badme to be a part of Gash-Barka Zone, and Ethiopia, which considers Badme part of the Semien Mi'irabawi Zone of the Tigray Region. This dispute was the basis of the Eritrean-Ethiopian War, which began in 1998. Currently the town is occupied by Ethiopia, despite an international court ruling in 2002 that the town fell within Eritrean territory.[2]

Disputed territory[edit]

The boundaries of Ethiopia and Eritrea follow a frontier defined by the Ethiopian-Italian Treaty of 1902, which ruled Eritrea as a colony at the time. However, the frontier near Badme was poorly defined in the treaty, and since Eritrea became a separate nation in 1993 each nation disputed where the boundary actually runs. The town of Badme was ceded[citation needed] by the TPLF (the predecessor of the EPRDF, Ethiopia's currently ruling party) to the EPLF (the predecessor of the PFDJ, Eritrea's ruling organization) in November 1977.[3][page needed]

In 2000, Eritrea and Ethiopia signed the Algiers Agreement which forwarded the border dispute to a Hague boundary commission. In the Agreement both parties agreed in advance to comply with the ruling of the Border Commission. In 2002, the commission ruled on where the boundary ran, placing Badme inside Eritrean territory.

Despite initially agreeing to abide by the terms of the Algiers Agreement, Ethiopia refused to withdraw to the border established by the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission and rejected its ruling. As a result, thousands of internally displaced people have remained in refugee camps and the threat of renewed war continues.

Other disputed areas along the Eritrean-Ethiopian border include Tsorona-Zalambessa and Bure.


Badme residents voted in Ethiopian elections ever since the Eritrean independence in 1991.[4][5][6]


The Central Statistical Agency of Ethiopia in 2005 reported that this town has an estimated total population of 1,563 of whom 834 are men and 729 are women.[7] The Ethiopian government considers Badme as one of four towns in Tahtay Adiyabo woreda.

According to the 1994 Ethiopian national census, its total population was 892 of whom 444 were males and 448 were females. Eritrean population figures have not yet been found.



  1. ^ CIA - The World Factbook - Eritrea
  2. ^ Frank Jacobs (March 27, 2012). "War Over a One-Horse Town". The New York Times. 
  3. ^ Kendie, Daniel (2005). The Five Dimensions of the Eritrean Conflict 1941-2004: Deciphering the Geo-Political Puzzle. Signature Book Printing. ISBN 1-932433-47-3. 
  4. ^ Abbink 2003, p. 223: "In various UN documents, Badme is also mentioned as an Ethiopian place and as a recipient of food aid. People of Badme voted in all Ethiopian elections after 1991. Another indication is that until the moment of the outbreak of war in May 1998, Eritrean currency (the naqfa, introduced a year earlier) was never in use in Badme, only the Ethiopian birr."
  5. ^ Jonathan Wilkenfeld, Kathleen Young & David Quinn 2007, p. 61.
  6. ^ Ethiopian general elections, January 2005 - Sudan Tribune
  7. ^ CSA 2005 National Statistics, Table B.4 Archived November 23, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.

External links[edit]