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Ethiopian forces ambush Sudanese soldiers in El Gedaref

December 17 - 2020 EL FASHAGA
Shifta gunmen in Ethiopian border regions (file photo)
Shifta gunmen in Ethiopian border regions (file photo)

Four members of the Sudanese army were killed on Tuesday evening in an ambush by Ethiopian forces near Jebel Abu Tuyour in El Gedaref’s El Fashaga, close to the border with Ethiopia. Fighting also broke out in El Gureisha earlier this week.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) reported that an army force was ambushed on Sudanese territory by Ethiopian army and militia forces on its return from a patrol in the area adjacent to Jebel Abu Tuyour on Tuesday.

Four army members, including an officer, were killed while 12 others were wounded. The lost equipment has not been identified so far.

Fierce fighting also broke out in the areas of El Usra and Wad Arod in El Gedaref’s El Gureisha locality.

SAF troops are regularly patrolling the border area with Tigray, Ethiopia, to prevent parties involved in the conflict in Ethiopia from exploiting Sudanese lands or launching any kind of military operations there. The aim is to protect Sudanese lands from any threats, the statement said.

Sources from the region said that the clashes erupted on Tuesday after a Sudanese army force lost its way to the Abu Tuyour military site and was caught in an ambush by Ethiopian militiamen.

People from the region told Radio Dabanga that the fighting continued on Wednesday, resulting in the loss of a number of troops and over 10 injuries among the Sudanese army. Others were captured and taken hostage.

They also indicated that the Sudanese army was attacked more than once yesterday. Other sources reported that the army was able to control the situation in the region and increase its presence in El Fashaga.

Activists circulated a picture on social media of a sergeant in the Sudanese army being seized by Ethiopian gunmen wearing civilian clothes. They took him with them on a motorbike.

The Ethiopian ambassador to Sudan visited Kassala and El Gedaref on Tuesday and Wednesday to discuss the conditions of Ethiopian refugees that fled the war in Tigray, border security, and other issues with the governor of El Gedaref.

He also discussed the situation of the refugees and possibilities of voluntary return with the governor of Kassala, calling for continued cooperation between the two sides by forming a joint mechanism.

Shifta

Earlier this month, the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) regained control of the area of Khor Yabis in eastern El Gedaref after the area had been occupied by Ethiopian gunmen (called shifta in the region) for over 25 years.

The shifta regularly conduct violent cross-border raids to steal crops and livestock or kidnap people for ransom.

Last week, East El Galabat locality at the El Gedaref-Ethiopian border witnessed an attack by Ethiopian gunmen, which led to the death of a villager.

In November, people from the area of El Hamra in East El Galabat locality blocked a road in protest against the fatal shooting of a farmer by Ethiopian gunmen and in October, two eastern Sudanese farmers were killed and two other men abducted from their land by shifta in the same area.


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