Sudan’s army pulled back amid tension on Ethio-Sudan border

The military situation in Ethiopian and Sudan border descalated after Sudan withdrew its forces, a military source informed HornAffairs.

Sudanese military soldiers had moved about 15 kilometers to Ethiopian side on Monday, according to the source at the Ethiopian National Defence Forces speaking on condition of anonymity.

The Sudanese soldiers movement took place in the territory between the Sudanese area “Asera” and the Ethiopian district of Abdurafe, the source described.

The area was recently placed under the patrol of the joint military force of the two countries.

Ethiopian National Defence Force units increased their presence as a precaution. “We improved our position quickly as the Sudanese movement was unclear”, the source narrated.

The Sudanese withdrew their forces on Wednesday morning, following a meeting on Tuesday between the army officers of both sides.

The Sudanese officers told their Ethiopian counterparts that the movement was intended to enhance their control of illegal trades and smugglers, according to HornAffairs’ source.

“They used to have military presence in most of that area until the agreement for joint patrol”, the Ethiopian military official told HornAffairs. “But their sudden movement without notification startled us”.

Map - Ethiopia-Sudan common border
Map – Ethiopia-Sudan common border

Ethiopia and Sudan announced earlier this year the start of a joint military patrol of the common border.

The border of the two countries have not been fully demarcated to date.

Ethiopian commercial farms exist on areas which the Sudanese deem as their territory, sometimes resulting in incidents that require the mediation of the military officers of both sides.

In 2015, Sudanese media claimed “armed men from Ethiopia” were assaulting Sudanese villages in Gadaref state of Sudan. Ethiopian sources accused Sudanese soldiers of attacking a commercial farm killing day laborers in Metema area, which is adjacent to Gedaref.

In 2016, HornAffairs reported that Sudanese soldiers detained farm workers twice in Omidela kebele, Guba woreda of Ethiopia, which is adjacent to Blue Nile state of Sudan.

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Daniel Berhane

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