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Eritrea accuses Ethiopia of attacking its territory

RUETERS: ADDIS ABABA | BY AARON MAASHO Eritrea's government has accused Ethiopia of launching an attack on its territory, but the extent of the assault was still unclear and there was no immediate response from Ethiopia. A


Eritrea’s government has accused Ethiopia of launching an attack on its territory, but the extent of the assault was still unclear and there was no immediate response from Ethiopia.

A resident on the Ethiopian side of the border reported hearing the sound of explosions on Sunday and saw Ethiopian troops moving in the area.

Eritrea, which won independence from Ethiopia in 1991, fought a bloody border war with its larger neighbor between 1998 and 2000. Tensions between the Horn of Africa nations persist.

“The TPLF regime has today, Sunday 12 June 2016, unleashed an attack against Eritrea on the Tsorona Central Front,” the Information Ministry said in a statement around midnight.

TPLF refers to Ethiopia’s Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front, one of the four parties making up the ruling coalition.

Tsorona Central Front is region of military command around the town of Tsorona, south of Eritrea’s capital Asmara and close to the border. The area saw intense fighting during the border war that killed about 70,000 people.

“The purpose and ramifications of this attack are not clear,” the Eritrean statement said.

A resident in the Ethiopian town of Zalambessa, across the border from Tsorona, told Reuters by telephone that he had heard the sound of shelling on Sunday and into the night.

“It did not stop until this morning around 9 a.m. (2.00 a.m. ET),” he said, asking not to be identified. He added that he had seen Ethiopian military vehicles and troops moving along the central stretch of the militarized border.

Eritrean Information Minister Yemane Ghebremeskel had no immediate additional comment when asked about casualties or other details of the attack. Ethiopian government officials were not immediately reachable for comment.

Charlotte King, senior Africa analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit, said it was unusual for Eritrea to comment on flare ups but said the release may have been prompted by U.N. criticism Eritrea has faced over its prolonged national service.

The U.N. accuses Eritrea of rights abuses for indefinite national service, where Eritreans can spend many years in low-paid work under conscription. Asmara says an ongoing threat from Ethiopia makes extended national service essential.

Eritrea’s “critics will argue that it is trying to divert international attention away from the alleged crimes against humanity, and justifying its need for an enormous military and compulsory conscription,” King said in a brief commentary.

Eritrea, which is under U.N. sanctions, says world powers have failed to push Ethiopia to accept an international arbitration ruling demarcating the boundary. Ethiopia’s government has said it wants talks on implementation.

Eritrea and Ethiopia routinely accuse each other of backing rebels trying to destabilize and topple the other’s government, a legacy from the two-year war.

(Writing by George Obulutsa and Edmund Blair; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Dominic Evans)

Review overview
  • k.tewolde June 13, 2016

    We know war and its ramifications first hand,for the tyrant and his cousins south of the border, it is their final fortress to shield their sins that is being exposed stark naked for the whole world to see.We cannot afford to let them elude us with their cannons and AK-47’s anymore,stay the course deleyti fithi, don’t underestimate the work you did so far,it is the pressure that you put on them that is making them squirm to take this desperate measure to put our young people in harms way one more time.Be proud and pat yourselves in the back for putting the tyrant on a defensive mode,it is an enormous accomplishment.We condemn the unnecessary bloodshed of our citizens.

    • Raki June 13, 2016

      k.tewolde, you think Eritrea is being raped by the Woyanes (DIA’s cousins from south of the border) as we speak/write; A man’s home was invaded by an intruder, and the intruder is now in the process of raping the man’s wife in one of the rooms inside the mans dwelling. I think it is being raped by the regime (your bandits shefatu tegadelti from evil-gedli) but I can understand you scapegoating the neighbor woyane as usual in order not to accuse your brother the bandit/shifta from the evil all-alien-loving gedli of raping poor Eritrea.
      But rape is rape and poor Eritrea and Eritreans are being raped and robbed in a broad day-light while you bark on with the same old lame excuses of woyane, woyane, CIA, CIA. Simply, as with old saying your crocodile cries and pleas remind us of “Bizeben Wube ziTsememes, Ziban Wube kibil yinebir”. And in your poor pathetic case it should be, “bizeben evil-ghedli ziTsememe footsoldier, ziban evil-gedli kibil yinebir”.

      • Sol June 13, 2016

        Our Gedli and egadelti were the most holly case and Ethiopians in general and Tegaru in particular our brothers and neighbors and we will remain the same for ever without any prejudice. If you are crazy with ethno-religious issues go to which fits you most because is a site for Eritrean justice seekers.

      • hp June 13, 2016

        How do you permit your self by saying shefatu…? If you would say shifta that belongs to Isayass I could agree with you.

    • T June 13, 2016

      Excellent analysis, yes dictators love wars to occupy their restless population.

      • AHMED SALEH !!! June 13, 2016

        Weyane don’t want settle the conflict and Issayas government too has
        advantage to put our people hostage of insecurity .
        Remember at BADME war time Weyane officials said we will choke them
        for long period . And both of them accomplished their survival agenda .

  • michael June 13, 2016

    It has to be done somthing by sombody .because the new generation of eritria are weak to do such a thing if I say it wrong for giving me but sambody have to do it .

  • Teqera June 13, 2016

    This is the main reason the Arab Abid fascist regime of Eritrea, as many people refer it this days, launched an attack against Ethiopia to divert world attention of its Slave economic and political order that was exposed by the UN Commission.
    The Abid regime in Eritrea will also use this to justify why it keeps many Eritrean in the National Slave Service for decades.
    The Arab’s Abid regime “… is trying to divert international attention away from the alleged crimes against humanity, and justifying its need for an enormous military and compulsory conscription,” King said in a brief commentary.

    • AHMED SALEH !!! June 15, 2016

      If I compromise with your Abid fascist regime accusation can you
      agree with me to say Tigrai-tigrini power hungry evils are the worst
      enemy of Eritrean and Ethiopian people ?
      We had seen unnecessary killings from these two cousins in power .
      Be fair it is only suggestion nothing personal .

  • Negusse June 13, 2016

    Under any circumstances war can not serve to any one. Those who advocate for war are trumpet pushers sleeping inside their comfort zone. The heavy price is to both innocent people of Eritrea and Ethiopia.

  • AHMED SALEH !!! June 13, 2016

    Ethiopian government was warning Eritrea to stop or they will take
    military action for the last couple of months . I wonder what is
    the reason behind their choice to keep silent ?

  • Sami June 13, 2016

    Africa have about 1 billion people and with in it Eritrea account for around 6 million and this small nation take almost half the share on the Mediterranean migrant. What do you think? I think it sad and time for a change!!!!

  • Kidanemariam June 14, 2016

    We are one and the same people in terms of language,religion,culture,history and other psycho-social make ups. There was no one in the past,currently and ever in the future that can being benefited from war.War is distractive at any cost.War can defined as Wrong and Aggressive Route.

  • Amanuel June 14, 2016

    The aim if this skirmish is to divert our attenton from the coi findings and referals to icc. They want to change the title for the discussion desperately. They also want to justify the enslavement of 400000 young eritreans as necessity. The 3rd purpose is to rise the anger of adey amete (blind supporters) so that she can come to geneva for demonstration with the few ethiopian fox -the hopeless birhanu nega

  • JOJo June 18, 2016

    YOU GUYS ARE SICK. BOTH THEY ARE DOING THERE MISSION JUST POOR EAST AFRICAN CITIZEN PAY THE PRICES. Moreover, no one get any benefit from the war. Tell you the truth nobody happy about fighters in ethiopia or eritrea both mothers are still crying.