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Alert over escalating tensions on the Ethiopia-Sudan border

#Alert #escalating #tensions #EthiopiaSudan #border

Regional leaders on Wednesday sounded alarm about escalating tensions between Ethiopia and Sudan in a disputed border area and called for dialogue to contain the crisis.

The calls by the African Union and another regional grouping follow claims by Khartoum that the Ethiopian army executed seven Sudanese soldiers and a civilian in a clash in the troubled area of ​​Al-Fashaqa last week – claims denied by Addis Ababa .

Sudan announced Monday it would recall its ambassador to Addis Ababa over the incident in Al-Fashaqa, a fertile strip of land that has long fueled tensions between the two states.

AU Commission chief Moussa Faki Mahamat “follows with deep concern the escalating military tensions between the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the Republic of Sudan and deeply regrets the loss of life on their shared border,” the pan-African organization said in a statement.

“The Chairman appeals for the complete cessation of any military action, regardless of its origin, and calls for dialogue between the two brotherly countries to resolve any disputes.”

The AU’s concerns were echoed by another regional bloc, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), which also called on the two countries to “actively seek diplomatic means to find a lasting and sustainable solution to the matter.”

– ‘Perfidious Deed’ –

Sudan on Monday accused Ethiopia of capturing the soldiers in Al-Fashaqa on June 22 and announced it would recall its envoy and lodge a complaint with the UN Security Council and regional organizations.

The army, in power since a coup in October 2021, vowed the “perfidious act will not happen”.

And on Wednesday, the military released photos of the soldiers killed, along with their names and ranks.

But Addis Ababa, for its part, has claimed that Sudanese forces entered Ethiopian territory and that the casualties were the result of a skirmish with a local militia, denying their soldiers were in the area at the time.

The Ethiopian government said it opposed “misrepresentation of facts” and said the incident was “deliberately fabricated” to undermine ties.

The Sudan Tribune newspaper reported that the Sudanese army launched an attack on Ethiopian troops in the area of ​​Al-Fashaqa on Tuesday, but army spokesman Nabil Abdalla denied this.

“We have not attacked anyone and we will not and we do not plan to. But we will not allow armed forces from another country to cross our international border. It is our right to deal with it,” he told AFP Khartoum.

The report was also denied by the Ethiopian side, with an official statement on condition of anonymity: “This is not true, just unconfirmed and misinformation.”

On Monday, Sudanese military leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan visited Al-Fashaqa, where he instructed soldiers “not to allow any new movements or encroachments on Sudanese land and against its citizens.”

Khartoum and Addis Ababa have been at odds over Al-Fashaqa for years.

The region, which lies near Ethiopia’s war-torn northern Tigray region, has long been farmed by Ethiopian farmers but is claimed by Sudan.

The dispute has sparked sporadic clashes between the two sides, some fatal.

The rift is fueling greater tensions over land and water between the neighbors, particularly fueled by Ethiopia’s mega-dam on the Blue Nile.

Sudan and Egypt, both downstream countries, have opposed the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and pushed for an agreement to fill the reservoir and operate the dam.

Tensions escalated further after fighting erupted in Tigray in November 2020 and tens of thousands of refugees fled to Sudan.

Sudan has been wracked by economic and political turmoil since Burhan led the military coup that upended the transition to civilian rule after President Omar al-Bashir was ousted in 2019.

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#Alert #escalating #tensions #EthiopiaSudan #border

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