Eritrea Accuses Ethiopia Over Border Clashes
Eritrea has accused its former ruler Ethiopia of staging attacks across a shared border, as tensions between the two countries continue to escalate.
The Eritrean government claims a clash between forces from either side of the border took place in Tserona front, about 75 km south of the Eritrean capital, Asmara. It says the attack took place shortly after midnight and was launched by Ethiopian troops – claims denied by Ethiopia.
The extent of the fighting that took place during the clash remains unclear. Ethiopia initially denied any knowledge of the incident and later accused Eritrea of initiating the battle. Meanwhile, a secretive Eritrea – often compared to North Korea – has simply said it will release further statements as the situation develops.
Last month Ethiopia claimed to have foiled a plot by Eritrean mercenaries to carry out a terrorist attack across the border. While, in February, a group of armed Eritreans crossed the border into Ethiopia and kidnapped about a dozen people before later releasing them.
Peace deal still not fully implemented
A peace deal has been in place between Eritrea and Ethiopia since 2000, following a two-year war between the countries. However, that peace deal was never fully implemented and border disputes have been common ever since. Eritrea’s military habits are a concern for both Ethiopia and the international community – not only for its secrecy but also the grave human rights violations believed to be taking place.
Eritrea became an independent state from Ethiopia in 1991 but tensions between the rivals date back as far as the 1960s. A long period of civil war in Ethiopia officially came to an end when Eritrea became its own state in 1991 but peace was never fully established.
Some experts have said Ethiopia has no reasons to start another war with its neighbour at this stage.
Eritrean journalist and activist Meron Estefanos (now living in Sweden) sees the threat of war as a distraction for her country’s government.
“There is no reason for Ethiopia to start a war right now,” she is quoted in the New York Times. “It just doesn’t add up when everything is going their way.”
“But, if there is a war, or the rumor of a war, it could be a way for the Eritrean government to get support and divert attention,” she adds.