Sudan accused Ethiopia of escalating and violating its airspace, and denied that its forces occupied Ethiopian military positions, while the head of the Sudanese Sovereignty Council, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, inspected his forces in the border strip that recently witnessed military confrontations.
The Sudanese Foreign Ministry said today, Wednesday, that an Ethiopian plane penetrated Sudanese airspace, and the ministry added – in a press statement – that this escalation could have serious consequences and increase tension in the border region.
The Sudanese Foreign Ministry had announced before that the areas of Layy and Kole in the locality of Quraysh (east of the country) near the border with Ethiopia yesterday, when it described an armed aggression left by the “Ethiopian gangs of the Shifta.”
The ministry confirmed – in a statement – the killing of 5 women and a child and the loss of two women, all of them Sudanese, who were busy in harvest operations, and appealed to the international community and regional organizations to condemn such acts, which it described as criminal, and demanded that they be stopped immediately, according to the statement.
At the end of last month, Sudan announced – after armed confrontations that lasted for about two weeks – that its forces had regained all the lands that were controlled by armed Ethiopian groups in the Faksha region in the state of Gadarif, an area located within Sudan’s international borders, and it was inhabited by Ethiopian farmers.
The tension exacerbated when Ethiopia accused the Sudanese forces of incursion into its territory, which Khartoum denied.
Hours before the issuance of a Sudanese statement about an Ethiopian air breach, the Ethiopian ambassador in Khartoum, Yibtalal Amero, demanded that the Sudanese forces withdraw to their previous positions so that the dispute between the two countries could be peacefully resolved.
The Ethiopian ambassador said during a meeting of the Sudanese Border Commission to discuss developments in the border region with Ethiopia; Sudan undertook sudden military actions after the Ethiopian forces were busy fighting in the Tigray region.
He added that it was not expected that the Sudanese forces would occupy 9 sites, especially in the context of what he described as the distinguished relations between the two countries, as he put it.
The Ethiopian ambassador added that the Sudanese forces carried out what he described as sudden military actions that obstructed diplomatic efforts, believing that this needed to be corrected, he said.
On Tuesday, Ethiopia warned Sudan of its impatience with the continued military build-up in the disputed border region, despite attempts to defuse tension through diplomatic efforts.
Sudanese Information Minister and government spokesman Faisal Mohamed Saleh responded by saying that Khartoum did not want a war with Ethiopia, but that its forces would respond to any aggression.
For his part, the head of the Sudan Border Commission, Moaz Tango, said today that Ethiopia is trying to force Sudan to the status quo, indicating that Addis Baba did not fulfill its obligations, did not abide by the line of discrimination, and did not increase Ethiopian farmers inside Sudan.
In a press conference in Khartoum, Tango added that the demand to reconsider the borders would benefit Sudan, and that areas that historically followed him will be restored.
In the midst of the escalating tension between Sudan and Ethiopia, a Sudanese military source confirmed to the island that the Commander-in-Chief of the Sudanese Army and the Chairman of the Transitional Sovereign Council, Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, inspected the Sudanese forces that redeployed in Gedaref State on the border with Ethiopia.
Al-Burhan visited the region after tensions occurred following the deployment of the Sudanese army in border areas that were controlled by groups of Ethiopian farmers backed by Ethiopian military militias.
In a related context, a Sudanese military source confirmed to Al Jazeera that a helicopter had fallen near Gadaref State and the rescue of its 3-member crew, explaining that the accident had nothing to do with the military actions there.
The helicopter, an “Apache”, crashed shortly after take-off from “Wad Zayed” airport in Gadarif.
The Sudanese News Agency said that the crew tried to land again, but the plane hit the ground and caught fire, indicating that the three who were on board survived.