His town Engal lies along the arid frontier between Ethiopia and Eritrea, whose exact border has been a subject of debate for over a century and the cause of a deadly war between the two nations which ended last week. Residents of Alitena fear their minority Irob community could be split, with others in a nearby village officially falling in Eritrea "If brothers are divided, that will be a problem.
Background[ edit ] From untilEritrea had fought a long war of independence against Ethiopia. In as part of the United Nations-facilitated transition of power to the transitional government, it was agreed that the EPLF should set up an autonomous transitional government in Eritrea and that a referendum would be held in Eritrea to find out if Eritreans wanted to secede from Ethiopia.
The referendum was held and the vote was overwhelmingly in favour of independence. In April independence was achieved and the new state joined the United Nations. After federation and before independence, the line of the border had been of minor importance because it was only a demarcation line between federated provinces, and initially the two governments tacitly agreed that the border should remain as it had been immediately before independence.
However, upon independence the border became an international frontier, and the two governments could not agree on the line that the border should take along its entire length,  and they looked back to the colonial period treaties between Italy and Ethiopia for a basis in international law for the precise line of the frontier between the states.
Problems then arose because they could not agree on the interpretation of those agreements and treaties,  and it was not clear under international law how binding colonial treaties were on the two states.
However, because Badme was in the province of Tigray, the region from which many of the members of the Ethiopian government originated including Meles Zenawithe former Ethiopian prime ministerthe Ethiopian government came under political pressure from within the EPRDF as well as from the wider Ethiopian public to meet force with force.
The fighting quickly escalated to exchanges of artillery and tank fire, leading to four weeks of intense fighting. Ground troops fought on three fronts. On 5 Junethe Ethiopians launched air attacks on the airport in Asmara and the Eritreans retaliated by attacking the airport of Mekele.
These raids caused civilian casualties and deaths on both sides of the border. There was then a lull as both sides mobilized huge forces along their common border and dug extensive trenches. Eritrea refused, and instead demanded the demilitarization of all disputed areas along the common border, to be overseen by a neutral monitoring force, and direct talks.
Tension had been high since 6 Februarywhen Ethiopia claimed that Eritrea had violated the moratorium on air raids by bombing Adigrata claim it later withdrew.
They, too, know this. We know each other very well". The next day Ethiopian ground forces with air support captured Das. Eritrean forces evacuated Barentu and fighting continued in Maidema. The widespread use of trenches has resulted in comparisons of the conflict to the trench warfare of World War I.
The element of surprise in the attack involved the use of donkeys as pack animals as well as being a solely infantry affair, with tanks coming in afterwards only to secure the area. The Eritrean government began supporting the Oromo Liberation Front a rebel group seeking independence of Oromia from Ethiopia that was based in a part of Somalia controlled by Mohamed Farrah Aidid.
But according to a report by The Independentthere were no "human waves" because Ethiopia instead outmaneuvered and overpowered the Eritrean trenches. Ethiopia expelled 77, Eritreans and Ethiopians of Eritrean origin it deemed a security risk, thus compounding Eritrea's refugee problem.Border war with Ethiopia () After independence, the sovereignty over many areas along the 1,kilometer border between Eritrea and Ethiopia was never officially determined.
The war over claims to border towns was largely due to cultural and historical differences between the two states in the aftermath of Eritrea’s independence from Ethiopia.
The situation between Eritrea and Ethiopia Initial proceedings Union on the Ethiopian/Eritrean border dispute; a letter dated 10 June from .
Two border points between Ethiopia and Eritrea were officially re-opened Tuesday, 20 years after a territory dispute in led to their closures. Anup Shah, Conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea, Global Issues, Updated: December 20, Alternatively, copy/paste the following MLA citation format for . Incidents and disputes along the border between Eritrea and Ethiopia are not a new phenomenon and they were never about the boundary.
Like all colonial divides the boundary between Eritrea and Ethiopia is, at points, an arbitrary line that separated people who once lived together; people related by blood and intermarriage for whom .