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Sudan, Ethiopia border ‘to be finalised this year’

January 18 - 2016 KHARTOUM
El Gedaref (OCHA map of El Gedaref state)
El Gedaref (OCHA map of El Gedaref state)

The joint technical committee tasked with redrawing the border between Sudan and Ethiopia plans to complete its work on the ground this year.

The head of the Sudanese technical committee, Abdallah El Sadig, said that the process of the 725 km border demarcation is “proceeding properly”, Sudan Tribune reported on Sunday.

Sudan’s FM Ibrahim Ghandour told Aljazeera TV on Saturday that Sudan and Ethiopia are cooperating to curb the activities of Ethiopian gangs in eastern Sudan's El Gedaref state.

He stressed that El Fashaga is Sudanese territory, saying the government allowed Ethiopia farmers to cultivate its land as part of a cooperation agreement between the two countries.

In particular the ownership of land in El Fashaga has led to violent disputes between Sudanese and Ethiopian farmers. The locality covers an area of about 250 square kilometres, including 600,000 feddan (252,000 hectares) of fertile land, irrigated by the Atbara, Seteit, and Baslam rivers that flow across the state.

Violence

Over the past few years, the violence between armed farmers in El Gedaref's border areas rapidly increased, with many reports of Ethiopian gangs attacking Sudanese farmers in the border areas, extorting them, and occupying their lands.

Radio Dabanga reported in November 2015 that more than 50 villages and a million acres of farmland in the eastern localities of El Gedaref state are occupied by Ethiopian militiamen.

In July last year, large numbers of Ethiopian gunmen occupied farms in the southern El Quresha locality too.

Delayed demarcation

Politicians from the area urged Khartoum more than once this year to expedite the border demarcation in El Gedaref state.

The current borders between Sudan and Ethiopia were drawn by the British and Italian colonisers in 1908. The two governments have agreed in the past to redraw the borders, and to promote joint projects between people from both sides for the benefit of local population.

The joint Sudanese-Ethiopian High Committee announced in December 2013 that it reached an agreement to end disputes between farmers from two sides of the border over the ownership of agricultural land, particularly in El Fashaga locality.

In November 2014, the Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and President Omar Al Bashir instructed their Foreign Ministers to set up a date for resuming the border demarcation. The operation had stopped following the death of Ethiopia’s former PM, Meles Zenawi.

(Sources: Sudan Tribune, Radio Dabanga)


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