Eritrea’s government accused Ethiopian troops of carrying out attacks against Eritrean positions in a disputed border area.
Ethiopia “unleashed an attack against Eritrea” Sunday in the Tsorona Central Front, Eritrea’s Information Ministry said in a statement late Sunday.
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. The two neighboring countries do not have diplomatic relations.
Ethiopian officials were not immediately available for comment. But Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn recently told the Associated Press that his forces will act against Eritrea if Ethiopia is provoked.
In that 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.
Relatives of people who live in the affected area said their families are fleeing following heavy shelling at dawn on Sunday.
“My father lives in the area and told me by phone of heavy shelling in the area. One heavy artillery shell has landed very close to a school and this has scared many,” said Yared Tewolde.