Ethiopia kills seven Sudanese soldiers, civilians in the border area

Cairo-Ethiopia has killed seven Sudanese soldiers and one civilian in the border area, with recent signs that relations between East African countries are deteriorating.

A Sudanese military statement late Sunday described the killing as a “cowardly act” and said Khartoum would retaliate.

The statement stated that the killing violated “all laws and customs of war and international humanitarian law.” Ethiopia is said to have exhibited the body outdoors. It did not provide further details, including how private farmers were involved.

Sudanese media outlet Monte Carlo posted online a graphic photo allegedly showing the bodies of seven dead people in military uniform lying still while a group of people were watching. The body is said to belong to a dead soldier.

Sudan’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement Monday that eight people were taken to Ethiopia after soldiers were taken prisoner in areas within Sudan on June 22.

The ministry said it had recalled the Sudanese ambassador from Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, and summoned Khartoum’s special envoy to Ethiopia to protest the killings. It also said it would complain to the United Nations.

The Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has confirmed the killing, which it described as a “tragic incident.” In a statement, Sudanese troops invaded Ethiopia with the support of rebels in the Tigray region, suggesting that they were killed at that time.

“Therefore, the Ethiopian government wants the Sudanese government to take steps that could curb the escalation of the case and exacerbate the situation,” the statement said in detail.

The relationship between the two neighbors has deteriorated in recent years in the long-term border conflict over the vast agricultural land of the Alpha Shaka region. Sudan claims that the land is within the border, according to an agreement that bounds the territories in the early 1900s.

Sporadic clashes have occurred in the last two years after Sudan has cultivated most of its territory and called on Ethiopia to withdraw its troops from at least two points within Sudan.

In November, Sudan said six troops had been killed in an attack by Ethiopian troops and militias in the area. The two countries recently held talks in Khartoum in December 2020 to resolve the dispute over Alpha Shaka, but no progress was made.

Next, Ethiopia says Sudan entered Ethiopia’s territory using a deadly conflict in the northern Tigray region of Ethiopia. Sudanese troops returned to their pre-Tigray fighting position in November 2020 and called on Ethiopian federal troops to fight regional fighters.

The controversial Dam Ethiopia, built on the Blue Nile, a major tributary of the Nile, is another controversial issue between Ethiopia and Sudan, and between Ethiopia and Egypt. Both Sudan and Egypt are downstream.

The long-standing debate is now focused on how quickly Ethiopia should fill and replenish the reservoir, and how much water should be released downstream in the event of a multi-year drought.

Egypt, which relies on the Nile for more than 90% of its water, fears catastrophic consequences if the dam is operated without consideration of its need. Ethiopia states that a $ 5 billion dam on the Blue Nile River is essential, and the majority of its people claim that it is short of electricity.

Sudan wants Ethiopia to coordinate and share data on dam operations to avoid floods and protect its own power dam in the Blue Nile.

Egypt and Sudan have stated that they want a legally binding agreement to regulate the filling and operation of the dam, but the three countries have failed to reach a compromise in years of negotiations.

Sammy Maddy

Associated Press


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