Five people were killed and 20 injured when a bomb blast ripped through a cafe in an Ethiopian town near the border with Eritrea, a local official told state television on Sunday.
The attack occurred in Adi Haro, a northern settlement near the volatile frontier where both countries have maintained a heavy military presence due to an unresolved border row.
“The suspects targeted the cafe on Saturday afternoon, market-day, and five people have been killed and 20 others injured,” local administrator Mikelle Abraha told state television, adding that some of the injured were in serious condition.
“It was carried out by Eritrean agents who crossed the border to sabotage the upcoming elections,” he added.
Ethiopia holds elections on May 23, the first national polls since the 2005 general election was marred by violence.
Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has accused some of the opposition candidates of having links with Eritrea and local armed groups allegedly supported by Asmara.
Authorities have blamed Eritrea of organising past attacks in the capital by arming the separatist Oromo Liberation Front and the Ogaden National Liberation Front, while Asmara has accused Ethiopia of supporting its armed groups.
An Eritrean rebel group told AFP on Saturday it has killed 18 government soldiers and injured 20 more in predawn attacks in southern Eritrea.
Eritrean President Isaias Afeworki has often dismissed his country’s foreign-based opposition as “puppets” linked with its larger neighbour.
Some 80,000 people died in the 1998-2000 conflict, many in brutal World War I-style trench warfare.
A UN-backed boundary commission charged with demarcating the border handed the disputed town of Badme to Eritrea but Ethiopia has so far refused to implement the ruling.