Sudan says Ethiopian military aircraft crossed border

By Reuters 13 January 2021

KHARTOUM, Jan 13 (Reuters) - An Ethiopian military aircraft crossed the Sudanese-Ethiopian border in a "dangerous and unjustified escalation", Sudan's Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.

There has been tension for decades over where the border lies between Ethiopia and Sudan. Al-Fashqa is on the Sudanese side of the disputed frontier demarcated at the start of the 20th century, though it has long been settled by Ethiopian farmers. Clashes erupted late last year between forces from both sides.

The latest incident “could have dangerous consequences, and cause more tension in the border area”, Khartoum’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement, without saying when the alleged intrusion occurred.

The ministry called on Ethiopia not to repeat “such hostilities in the future given their dangerous repercussions on the future of bilateral relations between the two countries and on security and stability in the Horn of Africa”.

Spokespeople for Ethiopia’s Foreign Ministry, the prime minister’s office and the military did not immediately answer phone calls and text messages requesting comment.

Ethiopia warned Sudan on Tuesday that it was running out of patience with its neighbour’s continued military build-up in the disputed border area despite attempts to defuse tensions with diplomacy.

In response, Sudan’s information minister and government spokesman Faisal Mohamed Saleh said Khartoum did not want war with Ethiopia but its forces would respond to any aggression.

Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, head of Sudan’s ruling sovereign council, visited eastern al-Qadarif state near the border with Ethiopia on Wednesday, a council statement said. Al-Fashqa is part of al-Qadarif.

“He emphasized the ability of the armed forces to protect the territory and preserve the country’s security and gains,” the statement said.

Sudan’s Foreign Ministry on Tuesday also condemned what it called an attack by Ethiopian “gangs” in al-Fashqa on Monday, five km (three miles) from the border. Five women and a child were killed, and two other women who had been harvesting crops were missing, the ministry said.

Burhan also visited a border village on Wednesday and offered condolences to families of those who were killed by “gangs with the cooperation of Ethiopian forces”, the sovereign council statement said.

Sudan said on Dec. 31 that it had taken control of all Sudanese territory in the area. Ethiopia says Sudan took advantage of its forces being distracted by the Tigray conflict to occupy Ethiopian land and loot properties. (Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz; Writing by Mahmoud Mourad; Editing by Mark Heinrich)


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