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New attacks at the Ethiopian border in eastern Sudan

January 12 - 2021 EL FASHAGA / EL GEDAREF
Ethiopian soldier (US Navy)
Ethiopian soldier (US Navy)

Five women and a child were killed in an attack by Ethiopian gunmen on a village in eastern Sudan’s El Gedaref yesterday. In another attack by Ethiopian armed forces, aimed at Sudanese armed forces, civilians were killed too.

A listener told Radio Dabanga from El Fashaga that Ethiopian militiamen (known as shifta in the region) launched a new attack on El Fashaga El Sughra yesterday afternoon.

“Five women and a child from the village of Leya in El Gureisha locality were killed”, the witness said. He added that the Sudanese army repelled the attack.

Sources told the Sudan Tribune that the attack took place during the sorghum harvest at the border area, where the Sudanese army carried out patrols.

After incidents on Sunday, in which Sudanese army forces were able to repel an Ethiopian attack, Ethiopian forces reportedly set up an ambush by stationing snipers with automatic rifles on top of dense trees. The ambush was supposed to target Sudanese soldiers but killed civilians instead. 

There are fears that military confrontations are imminent as Sudanese and Ethiopian army forces are moving closer to the border areas between El Gedaref and the Ethiopian Amhara region.

Ethiopian forces are reportedly still stationed on Sudanese soil in the border areas at the Shay Beit settlement, near Taya.

Yesterday, Ethiopian warplanes carried out the first sorties of its kind in the border areas in the Amhara region, adjacent to Sundus in East El Galabat, El Gedaref, Sudan Tribune reported.

No clear demarcation

The Sudanese army regained control of lands in El Fashaga from Ethiopian gunmen in early December. The Ethiopians have been occupying and cultivating the fertile agricultural border lands for at least 25 years.

In response, Ethiopian forces have carried out attacks against Sudanese soldiers patrolling in the area. Four members of the Sudanese army were killed in an attack by Ethiopian armed and militia forces in December. 

Since Sudan’s independence in 1956, no clear demarcation of the 1,600-kilometer border with Ethiopia has been made. Border demarcation talks between Sudanese and Ethiopian government delegations in Khartoum concluded without an agreement on December 23. The Ethiopian delegation reportedly refused to recognise the 1903 border demarcation, saying that the British-Ethiopian treaty on the border was signed in colonial times.

Last week, a Sudanese delegation visited Eritrea to discuss regional security and bilateral relations, including the Ethiopian civil war in the Tigray region bordering both Sudan and Eritrea.

Yesterday, the wali (governor) of El Gedaref was briefed on the security situation in the border areas during an inspection visit. The wali expressed his full support of the army efforts in the area and lauded the sacrifices made by the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) to recapture the lands of the Sudanese in El Fashaga. “We will not abandon an inch of the homeland” he stated.

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