The Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) report that they recaptured territory in the Salam Bir and Mahaj areas in El Gedaref from the Ethiopian army and armed militia.
In video clips, soldiers from the armed forces said that they would continue their operations until all the occupied areas have been recaptured. At the same time, Ethiopian troops and militias launched a series of new attacks in which a local shepherd was injured.
Earlier this month, the SAF regained control of the area of Khor Yabis in El Fashaga locality in eastern El Gedaref after the area had been occupied by Ethiopian farmers and gunmen (called shifta in the region) for over 25 years.
The 1,600 kilometre border between Sudan and Ethiopia was drawn in colonial times. No clear demarcation of the border has been made since Sudan became independent in 1956. The lack of clear border markers has made it easy for Ethiopian militants to occupy fertile farmlands in eastern El Gedaref.
Ethiopian farmers have been cultivating crops for decades along the border. These lands are protected by Ethiopian gunmen. Farmers in El Fashaga, backed by the El Gedaref governor, demanded in July that these lands be returned to them.
Border demarcation talks
A delegation headed by the Ethiopian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Demeke Mekonnen arrived in Khartoum yesterday for border demarcation talks that will last for two days. The Security Affairs Adviser of the Ethiopian Prime Minister is part of the delegation.
During his address at the opening session of the meeting, Omar Manis, Minister of Cabinet Affairs and head of the Sudanese delegation, affirmed that there is “a strong political will” on both sides to demarcate the border between the two countries.
The Ethiopian Deputy PM stressed that the current border tensions should not disturb the deep-rooted relations between the two countries. He also warned that any escalation “could damage these relations and disrupt the daily activities of Sudanese and Ethiopian people”.
All border issues will be discussed through existing frameworks and mechanism, on the basis of previously signed documents. HMekonnen also proposed that a date would be set to begin the border demarcation field work.
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