Posted on Monday, 13 June 2016 14:43

Eritrea accuses Ethiopia of unleashing cross-border attack

By Mark Anderson

According to some estimates the 1998-2000 border war between Eritrea and Ethiopia claimed about 120,000 lives. STR/AP/SIPAEritrea claims Ethiopian forces crossed into its territory and "unleashed an attack" on Sunday, sparking fears the two countries could return to war.

Eritrea did not give further details about the attack, but said it took place in the Tsorona Central Front, which was one of the main areas of fighting during the 1998-2000 border war between the two countries.

This is gross violation of international law and a threat to regional peace and security

That conflict was one of the bloodiest in recent history, claiming as many as 120,000 lives, according to some estimates.

An eyewitness in Zalambessa, an Ethiopian town across the border from Eritrea, told Reuters that he heard the sound of shelling and saw Ethiopian military vehicles and troops moving towards Tsorona on on Sunday evening.

Ethiopia's Information minister, Getachew Reda has said he was not aware of any fighting.

"This is gross violation of international law and a threat to regional peace and security," Eritrea's Minister of Information, Yemane Ghebremeskel, told The Africa Report. "[The Ethiopian government] has been beating the drums of war almost intermittently in the past weeks."

Ominously, Ethiopia's Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn in January said his country was prepared to take "proportionate military action against Eritrea".

Tensions between the two countries have been running high since the border war broke out in 1998.

Politicians and observers have dubbed the current situation a "no war, no peace" stalemate, with tens of thousands of troops believed to be amassed on either side of the border.

The Algiers Agreement, which ended the war, said Ethiopian troops should leave Eritrean territory. Diplomats and observers have said that Ethiopia still occupies Eritrean land, a claim that Addis Ababa denies.

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