Sudan Government has summoned the Ethiopian ambassador in Khartoum, amid deepening tensions, claiming that the neighbouring country’s army had kidnapped and executed seven of its soldiers and a civilian.
Ethiopia has said that Sudan took advantage of the deadly conflict in its northern Tigray region to enter Ethiopian territory and seize it. It has called for Sudan’s military troops to return to positions they held before November 2020.
The Sudanese foreign ministry said the individuals had been seized on Sudanese territory on June 22, 2022, and were killed after being taken to Ethiopia – claims which
Ethiopia’s Ministry of Defense dismissed as “baseless”.
Colonel Getnet Adane, Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) Public Relations Director, said ENDF members were not present at the scene and the Sudanese army that entered the Ethiopian territory clashed with local militias. He added that the army is ready to work with a committee comprising representatives of the two countries’ armed forces to investigate the attack.
Relations between the two countries have worsened over the years, amid a long-running border dispute over a strip of fertile agricultural land in the al-Fashaqa area. Sudan insists the area belongs to it, according to an agreement that demarcated the boundary more than a century ago. There have been sporadic clashes over the past two years after Sudan said it had reclaimed the area.
Although on Monday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Addis Ababa issued a statement expressing regret for the incident but said Ethiopia has been misrepresented.
It said, “The Government of Ethiopia categorically rejects the misrepresentation of these facts by the Sudanese defence forces that unjustly put the blame on Ethiopia, while it was the Sudanese army unit that crossed (over) the Ethiopian border, provoking the incident.”
It went on to urge restraint and de-escalation on the part of Sudan.
Border clashes between Ethiopia and Sudan have been ongoing for years, especially in the vicinity of the al-Fashqa region. A high-profile dispute over the building of the Great Renaissance Dam, which Sudan says could limit its access to water, has also strained tensions between the two countries in recent years.
The Sudanese military had said of the alleged executions, “This treacherous act will not pass without a response.”