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Ethiopian gunmen prevent harvest in eastern Sudan

October 12 - 2020 EL FASHAGA
El Fashaga locality in El Gedaref (OCHA)
El Fashaga locality in El Gedaref (OCHA)

The Lands Committee of El Fashaga in eastern Sudan’s El Gedaref reported in a statement yesterday that Ethiopian gunmen are again wreaking havoc at the El Gedaref-Ethiopian border.

Last week, a group of gunmen from neighbouring Ethiopia (called shifta in the region) prevented farmers from the villages of Jemeiza and Um Disa in East El Galabat from harvesting their sesame crops.

The committee condemned the repeated attacks on villages at the El Gedaref-Ethiopian border, and called on the authorities to intervene.

“The Ethiopian militiamen are still controlling Sudanese agricultural lands,” the statement reads. “They launch sporadic attacks during the harvest season on areas not under their full control in order to steal the crops.”

El Gedaref Governor Suleiman Ali had a meeting with the Ethiopian consul in El Gedaref on Sunday. They discussed the security situation and its impact on trade, cross-border crimes, arms smuggling, human trafficking, and border control.

Two months ago, Ethiopian gunmen allegedly stole 9,000 cows, sheep and camels, committed murders and were involved in kidnapping in El Fashaga locality.

In May, Ethiopian gunmen, supported by the Ethiopian army, killed a Sudanese army captain.

The 1,600 kilometres 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 particular in El Fashaga locality, Ethiopian farmers have been cultivating crops for decades. The lands are protected by Ethiopian gunmen. Farmers in El Fashaga and the El Gedaref governor have demanded that these lands be returned.    

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