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Pole to Pole

Day 70: Khartoum

Michael Palin - Pole to PoleNow the victory they always believed in has come and in two years' time there will be a United Nations sponsored referendum in Eritrea to decide whether it will become a new independent state. Hassan Kika thinks the result is a foregone conclusion.

I put our more mundane problem to him and we look at the map together. There is a way he can take us into Ethiopia. It would involve a six- or seven-hour drive on a good road to Gedaref, and from there on what he calls 'rough roads' south to the border crossing at Gallabat. He cautions that the rainy season has been much later this year and parts of the road could be washed away, but with his Landcruisers he doesn't anticipate a problem. I ask him if there is still any fighting across the border.

'No . . . no, I don't think so, no. The TPLF (the Tigrayan Forces who defeated Mengistu) was controlling all this part of Ethiopia. But there are some, you know, who doesn't want to join with them, so they have made their own band.' Bandits? He smiles, but not very convincingly.

'The people in the village will chase them out, you know.'
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Pole to Pole
  • Day: 70
  • Country/sea: Sudan
  • Place: Khartoum
  • Book page no: 152

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