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‘Ethiopian gunmen still occupy Sudanese farms in El Gedaref’: MP

December 16 - 2015 EL GEDAREF
El Gedaref (OCHA map of El Gedaref state)
El Gedaref (OCHA map of El Gedaref state)

The paramilitary Popular Defence Forces in El Gedaref claim to have expelled Ethiopian militias from the eastern part of the state. An MP from the area denied the claim. On Sunday, a woman was kidnapped in Wad El Helew.

Popular Defence Forces coordinator Ahmed Yousef told reporters in El Gedaref town on Tuesday that they managed to expel all Ethiopian militiamen and to restore the about 100,000 acres of farmland that were occupied by Ethiopians to their Sudanese owners.

However, Mubarak El Nur, MP for El Fashaga constituency, strongly denied the claims. He told Radio Dabanga that the Popular Defence Forces paramilitaries who were sent to the Sudanese-Ethiopian border “have done nothing to deter and expel the militias”.

He said that the militiamen are still killing, abducting, and robbing the inhabitants of El Fashaga, and appealed to the Ethiopian and Sudanese governments to intervene and “stop the crimes committed by those gangs”.

On Sunday, unknown assailants kidnapped a 28-year-old woman in the area of Wed El Helew at the Sudanese-Eritrean border.

Her cousin told Radio Dabanga that the kidnappers contacted him by phone, and demanded a ransom of SDG52,000 ($8,175) for her release. “We collected the amount immediately and sent it to the kidnappers, but they have not released her yet.”

Border demarcation

The increased violence against Sudanese living near the border in El Gedaref was discussed at the federal parliament in October.

MP El Nur said that the inhabitants of the border areas in El Gedaref have been demanding a re-demarcation of the Sudanese-Ethiopian border in the area for years. “The authorities never responded. They just leave the farmers in the locality prone to attacks by Ethiopian gunmen.”

The Interior Minister reported that 28 people were killed and injured “during recent attacks in El Fashaga, El Gureisha, and El Galabat localities”. Seven farmers were abducted, and 295 head of cattle were stolen. He demanded a speedy dispatch of army troops to El Gedaref to secure the area.

In July, large numbers of Ethiopian gunmen occupied farms in El Quresha locality. Three Sudanese farmers were killed and five were wounded In the ensuing shooting.

Residents of the locality criticised the Sudanese government for failing to complete the demarcation of the border with Ethiopia.

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