Tigray region, Ethiopia
The Ethiopian Ministry of Defense claimed a total of 113 alleged terrorists infiltrated from Eritrea via the Tigray region in northern EthiopiaGetty

Ethiopian security forces claim to have killed dozens of "Eritrean mercenaries" as they foiled a planned terror attack allegedly backed by neighbouring Eritrea. The Ethiopian Ministry of Defense said members of the Ginbot 7 opposition movement – which Ethiopia classified as a terrorist organisation – tried to deploy dozens of its armed fighters into Ethiopia.

It is believed a total of 113 alleged terrorists managed to infiltrate from Eritrea via the Tigray region, in northern Ethiopia. However, Ethiopian forces killed 15 of them, while 73 were captured, officials told the Sudan Tribune. Weapons and military equipment were also seized.

The ministry added the "terrorist plot by Eritrea and the other destructive forces" aimed to destabilise development in Ethiopia.

The Eritrean embassy in London has not responded to a request for comment on the allegations.

Ethiopia Oromo Oromia
A prayer session at Biftu Bole Lutheran Church for protesters who died in Bishoftu during Irreecha, the thanksgiving festival for the Oromo peopleTiksa Negeri/Reuters

Ethiopia and Eritrea relations

This is not the first time Ethiopia has accused its neighbour of trying to destabilise the country. Addis Ababa has repeatedly blamed Eritrea for anti-government protests that have rocked Oromia, Ethiopia's largest state, since November 2015.

Ethiopia's response to the protests, labelled as the biggest anti-government unrest the country has witnessed in recent history, has resulted in the death of more than 500 people since November 2015, a figure the government later confirmed.

Among other things, protesters called for the release of political prisoners, and demonstrated against perceived disenfranchisement and lack of inclusion in the political process as the government is dominated by the Tigray minority.

Asmara has denied any allegation of involvement in the unrest.

Tensions between Ethiopia and Eritrea have been running high since protests started in November. The two nations fought a civil war (1998-2000) due to border disputes.

The conflict erupted just a few years after Eritrea had ended its 30-year to gain independence from Ethiopia.