ADDS ETHIOPIAN GOVT STATEMENT
By Seleshi Tessema
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AA) - Heavy fighting between Ethiopian and Eritrean forces continued for the second day Monday at several locations along the border between the two countries, eyewitnesses told Anadolu Agency.
According to locals contacted by Anadolu Agency, border skirmishes escalated into a full-scale war Sunday and spread to several areas Monday in Tsorena and Zalambessa, some 800 kilometers (497 miles) north of the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.
An eyewitness on the Ethiopian side, who wished to stay anonymous due to safety concerns, said: “Civilians are evacuating from the areas, where Eritrean shells are landing.”
The Eritrean government confirmed in a statement Sunday that Ethiopia had allegedly launched a full-scale war along the border.
The Ethiopian government said that its forces had “successfully” repulsed an Eritrean attack launched on Sunday at dawn against Ethiopia.
“All forces mobilized to attack Ethiopia were crushed,” said the statement issued by the Ethiopian Government Affairs Office and broadcast by the state-owned television station Monday evening.
“The next move of the Ethiopian army will depend on the action of Eritrean forces,” it added.
Eritrea and Ethiopia fought a devastating war from 1998 to 2000 and remain deadlocked over the implementation of a UN-assisted Ethio-Eritrea Border Commission, which had awarded the disputed town of Badme to Eritrea in 2003.
Ethiopia had proposed comprehensive peace talks before demarcation but Eritrea opposed it and demanded unconditional handing over of the disputed border town.
The two countries have remained in a no war, no peace stalemate since 2003.
Last week, the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in Eritrea released a report accusing Eritrean officials of crimes against humanity.