Officials in Djibouti say two of their soldiers were killed and at least 21 others wounded in a battle with Eritrean forces on their disputed border.

Djibouti military and diplomatic sources say the fighting began Tuesday in the northern Mount Gabla area. Sporadic fighting was reported Wednesday.

Officials in Djibouti say the fighting began after several Eritrean soldiers deserted, crossing the border into Djibouti and drawing gunfire from the Eritrean troops.

The Eritrean government has not confirmed or denied the incident. It did issue a statement saying it was surprised by Djibouti's recent anti-Eritrean campaigns and refused to be drawn into what it called Djibouti's "concocted animosity."

The two Horn of Africa nations have been locked in a standoff since mid-April, when Djibouti accused Eritrean troops of illegally crossing into its territory.

The countries clashed over their border in the 1990s.