Zalambesa is the site of one of several contested portions of the 1,000-mile long border between the two Horn of Africa neighbors whose governments suffered more than 80,000 dead in a bloody two-year war that ended in 2000. A UN line of demarcation remains in dispute after UN peacekeepers pulled out more than a year ago.
VOA reporter Girmay Gebru traveled to the contested border area today to seek confirmation of claims made by the Eritrean government that forces of the Tigray People's Liberation Front attacked Eritrean military positions on Friday. Eritrean officials claimed they killed 10 Ethiopian troops and captured two. The Ethiopian government says the report is a fabrication.
Several residents told Girmay they heard gunfire from the border area. However, Ethiopian military sources in the town told Girmay that Ethiopian troops were not involved in any such attacks.
In Zalambesa, Girmay also talked to Ibrahim Harun, who identified himself as the chairman of a guerilla group called the Red Sea Afar Democratic Organization. Harun claims that on Friday armed RSADO members exchanged gunfire with Eritrean troops along the Zalembesa front and suffered some casualties.