Sudan says six soldiers were killed in fighting on the border with Ethiopia

Sudan says six soldiers were killed in fighting on the border with Ethiopia

Cairo (AFP) – The Sudanese armed forces said on Sunday that six of their forces were killed in battles in the border area with Ethiopia.

This came a day after the army claimed that the Ethiopian army and militia forces attacked the border area of ​​Al-Fashiqa, a disputed agricultural area that stretches between the two countries.

The fighting is the latest turmoil in Sudan after the generals toppled the country’s transitional civilian government in late October and arrested more than a hundred officials. Mass protests followed the coup, and the generals eventually returned to bring Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok back under military supervision amid international pressure. However, many of the country’s pro-democracy forces continue to demand that the military release its grip on power.

Sudan has been struggling with its transition to a democratic government since the military overthrow of former President Omar al-Bashir in 2019, following a mass uprising against his three decades of rule.

The decades-old dispute with Ethiopia centers on swathes of farmland that Sudan says lies within its borders, according to an agreement that defined the dividing line between the two countries in the early 20th century. The two countries held rounds of talks, the last of which was in Khartoum last December, to settle the dispute, but they made no progress.

Matters escalated late last year after Sudan deployed its forces in Fashaqa, expelling Ethiopian farmers and militias from the area. At least 84 Sudanese soldiers were killed in clashes with Ethiopian forces and militias from November last year through August, according to the military.

There was no immediate comment from the Ethiopian authorities on the Sudanese allegations about the attack, which occurred at the weekend. But Ethiopian officials have previously accused Sudan of exploiting the conflict that erupted a year ago between the central government and the northern region of Tigray. On Thursday, they severely restricted media coverage of the war in the country.

Sudan has also witnessed tribal violence in recent days in its south, raising fears of a return to all-out conflict there.

On Thursday, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said at least 43 people had been killed in sectarian violence in Darfur and nearly 4,300 had fled their homes as a result.

Bashir had waged a scorched-earth war to combat the insurgency in Darfur against ethnic minority rebels who blamed the government for economic and political marginalization. Government forces and Arab militias known as Janjaweed are accused of widespread atrocities in the conflict, which has killed more than 300,000 people and forced 2.7 million to flee.

In January, an escalation of tribal violence killed 470 people in Darfur, in one of the worst incidents since the fierce war there in the 2000s.

Meanwhile, the recently reinstated prime minister in Khartoum on Saturday announced the replacement of senior positions in the country’s police force, according to the Sudanese government news agency. The shooting came after security forces were accused of killing at least 40 protesters since the coup last month.

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