Clashes resumed between Sudanese army troops and Ethiopian forces in El Fashaga, east of the Atbara River, in El Gedaref on Tuesday morning, one day after a visit by the Chairman of the Sovereignty Council Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan.
At least 20 members of the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) have already died in clashes with Ethiopian forces and militiamen, who ambushed them in the border area of El Fashaga El Soghra in El Gedaref, the SAF said in a statement on Sunday. The SAF also asserts that it inflicted “heavy losses of life” on Ethiopian troops and militiamen who attacked them.
On Monday, the Chairman of the Sovereignty Council, Commander-in-Chief of the Sudan Armed Forces, Lt Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan, visited the forces stationed in the Barakat Noreen area, in the border town El Fashagaa in El Gedaref. He renewed his assurances that “El Fashaga is Sudanese land” and pledged “not to concede one inch of Sudanese territory”.
El Burhan affirmed that “the Sudanese people stand by their armed forces and support them to extend their control over the entire national territory”. He encouraged that public in the area to continue with their agricultural activities and daily lives, pledging the determination of the armed forces to protect them from any threats, and the army’s commitment to securing their farms.
Yesterday, Sudanese military sources reported the arrival of Ethiopian military reinforcements in Khor Humur.
Ethiopian government spokesperson Legesse Tulu has denied that Ethiopian army forces attacked the Sudanese army in the border area between the two countries last week.
Over the past two days, operations began to transport 668 of the 2,390 Ethiopian refugees who recently arrived from war-torn Tigray to the Basunda border area in El Gedaref, to the new Babakri camp in the state.
The authorities reported that 1,409 other refugees now present in other border areas will also be relocated to the Babakri camp in the next few days.
The 1,600 kilometre border between Sudan and Ethiopia was drawn in colonial times. It has never been clearly demarcated since Sudan became independent. The lack of clear border markers has made it easy for Ethiopian militants to occupy fertile farmlands in eastern El Gedaref.
In El Fashaga locality, Ethiopian farmers have been cultivating crops for decades. The lands are protected by Ethiopian gunmen.
The border area has been the source of frequent clashes over the last two years. Reportedly, 700,000 acres of Sudanese agricultural land has been illegally appropriated by Ethiopian farmers since the 1960s.