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Ethiopia and Sudan at daggers drawn for control of a border area – Afrique Media


#It is a standoff that threatens to degenerate, in the wake of the ongoing conflict in the #Ethiopian province of #Tigray. #At stake: the #Al-Fashaga triangle, or 250 km2 of fertile land wedged between the #Setit and #Atbara rivers, at the heart of a historic dispute between #Sudan and #Ethiopia. #On #Monday, #December 28, the #Sudanese general staff claimed to have regained control over almost all of this area in the face of militiamen affiliated with the #Ethiopian federal forces. #On the other side of this porous border, made up of thousands of hectares of sesame and sorghum fields, #Ethiopia is showing its teeth. “ #Our forces are on constant alert, ready to defend our sovereignty #Dina #Mufti, a spokeswoman for the #Ethiopian #Ministry of #Foreign #Affairs, warned the next day. “#If #Sudan does not put an end to its offensive on our territories, #Ethiopia will be forced to counterattack”, he threatened.

The #Al-Fashaga triangle represents a crucial economic and food issue for the local populations. #In the absence of clear markings, the area has long been the scene of trafficking, smuggling but also clashes. #For #Sudan, #Al-Fashaga is an integral part of its territory according to the demarcation established under #British colonization at the beginning of the last century.

#But #Ethiopia maintained a de facto military presence there for nearly twenty-five years, notably through militias pejoratively nicknamed “#Shifta” by the #Sudanese (bandits, in #French), who controlled and exploited hundreds of hectares, ensuring their control by raids or kidnappings threatening #Sudanese farmers.

#Off the radar

#Since the start of the offensive in #Tigray, launched on #November 4 by #Ethiopian #Prime #Minister #Abiy #Ahmed, more than 50,000 #Ethiopians have found refuge in neighboring #Sudan, fleeing the fighting in their region across the fields. #At the same time, #Khartoum was deploying a garrison of 6,000 troops at the border to prevent the conflict from spilling over into its territory, according to the official version. #As #Amhara militias – one of #Ethiopia’s main ethnic groups, #Abiy #Ahmed’s ally in the war in #Tigray – rushed in the wake of the federal army to fight dissidents from the #Popular #Front for the #Liberation of #Tigray (TPLF ), the #Sudanese army took the opportunity to send its troops to reconquer this territory. #According to a senior #Sudanese army officer who wished to remain anonymous, “#From the start, the objective was to take back all the #Sudanese territories that the regime of #Omar #Al-Bashir had abandoned to the #Ethiopians”.

The campaign took place off radar, with the exception of a few communications from the #Sudanese general staff announcing a rapid advance of troops. #But the operation gradually met with increased resistance from the #Ethiopian militias. #On #December 15, the tension escalated when a patrol of #Sudanese soldiers was ambushed, killing four, including an officer, and injuring around 20.

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The #Sudanese army immediately promised retaliation. A state of alert was declared in the region and significant reinforcements were dispatched from #Khartoum: convoys of infantry, artillery and armored vehicles as well as #Rapid #Support #Forces, paramilitary units of the #Sudanese army. . The head of the #Sovereignty #Council, #General #Abdel #Fattah #Al-Burhane, visited his troops in person in the #Al-Fashaga triangle.

#Facade agreement

#Sudanese #Prime #Minister #Abdallah #Hamdok has publicly expressed support for the soldiers targeted. #His #Ethiopian counterpart, #Abiy #Ahmed, adopted a conciliatory tone, believing that “such incidents will not break the ties between the two countries”, blaming the militias “ unidentified ».

#In a vain attempt at appeasement, an #Ethiopian delegation traveled to #Khartoum on #December 22 to discuss a new delimitation of the border. #But no agreement was reached, although both sides assured that the dialogue was ” friendly and brotherly ».

A frontage agreement that hardly translates into the field. The fighting continued a few days ago in the #Salamber area, according to several residents of the region. A team from #Doctors #Without #Borders (MSF) also claimed to have heard explosions a few kilometers south of the #Setit #River. #Humanitarian organizations, hard at work in refugee camps near the border, are preparing to receive wounded if the conflict escalates.

#Source: The #World





[ source link ]
https://www.afriquemedia.tv/afrique/l-ethiopie-et-le-soudan-a-couteaux-tires-pour-le-controle-d-une-zone-frontaliere

##Ethiopia ##Sudan #daggers #drawn #control #border #area ##Afrique ##Media

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