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Sudan calls for ‘wisdom and restraint’ in Ethiopia’s Tigray conflict as refugees reach El Gedaref

November 10 - 2020 KHARTOUM / EL GEDAREF
The first Ethiopians fleeing the war in Tigray arrive in El Gedaref (Social media)
The first Ethiopians fleeing the war in Tigray arrive in El Gedaref (Social media)

Sudan has called on all warring parties in Ethiopia “to appeal to wisdom and restraint” to find a peaceful solution to the ongoing conflict in the Tigray Region. The first influx of refugees from the conflict reached El Gedaref yesterday evening, which included 30 members of the Ethiopian army.

At a meeting yesterday at the Republican Palace, headed by Lt Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan, the Security and Defence Council expressed grave concerns about the possible consequences of the conflict in Ethiopia.

There have been reports of violent clashes between the conflicting parties from early yesterday morning and all through the evening.

In a press statement after the meeting, Minister of Defence Maj Gen Yasin Ibrahim said that Sudan will continue its efforts to support and call for negotiations between the different parties in Ethiopia.

Ibrahim urged the international and regional community to take responsibility and carry out its duties towards the region to foster stability and increase the chance of peace in sister country Ethiopia.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said on Monday that his country is grateful for those who have expressed their concern about the recent tensions in the Tigray region.

Ahmed confirmed in a series of tweets that the military operations aim to impose the rule of law and ensure final peace and stability. He stressed that there is no reason to fear that Ethiopia will slide into chaos or civil war.

He added that Ethiopia will manage its process of law enforcement as a sovereign country with the capacity to manage its internal affairs.

Border closures and migration

The states of Kassala and El Gedaref both announced the closure of their respective borders with Ethiopia this week.

The central government also sent large military reinforcements in an attempt to secure the borders and prevent the infiltration of fighters, smuggling of weapons, and influx of refugees into Sudanese territory.

Yesterday evening, the first groups of people affected by the ongoing conflict in the Tigray region reached El Gedaref. The group, belonging to Amhara tribes, consisted of four families and 30 members of the Ethiopian federal army with their weapons.

The Sudan News Agency indicated that large numbers of other Ethiopians fled to El Kanabi near the agricultural area of El Fashaga El Kubra, using the El Gadima and El Alaw border crossings in El Gedaref.

Tigray rebels

The Tigray region has seen tensions rise as the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) rebelled against Ethiopia’s federal army and its leadership in Addis Ababa.

The TPLF held local elections in September but these were considered illegal by the government in Addis Ababa, which unleashed an ongoing stand-off between the rebel movement and the government.

On Wednesday, the Government of Ethiopia declared a State of Emergency for six months and the launch of a military operation in the opposition-controlled Tigray region, located at the borders of Eritrea and Sudan.

The Prime Minister’s office also ordered the army to take offensive measures against the TPLF on Wednesday and accused it of attacking the offices of the Defence Forces Northern Command stationed in Mekele, the capital of Tigray, with the aim of seizing artillery and military equipment there.

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