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Ethiopia, Eritrea in fresh border clashes

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The guns have been silent for over a decade now but on Sunday Ethiopian and Eritrean troops went haywire and clashed at several border locations, with the day-long fighting involving heavy artillery beginning at around 5am.

As a result, the Eritrean government accused the Ethiopian troops of carrying out attacks against their positions in a disputed border area.

Ethiopia ‘unleashed an attack against Eritrea’ in the Tsorona Central Front, Eritrea’s Information Ministry said in a statement.

Ethiopia and Eritrea have been in a stalemate situation since the end in 2000 of a border war in which tens of thousands of people were killed. Eritrea, a former province of its neighbor, fought a two-year war with Ethiopia, although its government has maintained war-time controls such as requiring national service and suspended enactment of a Constitution.

Also, the two neighboring countries do not have diplomatic relations.

Meanwhile, Ethiopian officials were not immediately available for comment on the clashes but in a recent interview Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said his forces will act against Eritrea if provoked.

In the interview, he called the Eritrean government an ‘arrogant and very stubborn regime’.

It remains unclear what sparked the latest clashes, although Ethiopia often accuses Eritrea of training and deploying armed groups that are banned in Ethiopia.

Further, Ethiopian officials say the incident could be an effort by the Eritrean government to distract attention from a June 8 United Nations report that said its leaders committed crimes against humanity, Getachew Reda, Ethiopia’s communications minister, said.

Eritrea’s Information Minister Yemane Gebremeskel didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment made.

 

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