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World

Sudan says Ethiopia military aircraft entered its airspace

  • Ethiopia, for its part, said in mid-December that Sudanese military forces had "organised attacks... using heavy machine guns".
13 Jan 2021

KHARTOUM: Sudan said Wednesday an Ethiopian military aircraft entered its airspace in "a dangerous escalation" to a border dispute which saw deadly clashes in recent weeks.

Tensions have been running high between Khartoum and Addis Ababa over the Al-Fashaqa region, where Ethiopian farmers cultivate fertile land claimed by Sudan.

"In a dangerous and unjustified escalation, an Ethiopian military aircraft penetrated the Sudanese-Ethiopian borders," Sudan's foreign ministry said in a statement.

This "could have dangerous ramifications and cause more tension in the border region."

The ministry also warned Ethiopia against repeating "such hostilities".

An Ethiopian military spokesman, General Mohamed Tessema, told AFP he had no "tangible information" concerning Sudan's claim about the aircraft, but that the situation at the border was "normal" on Wednesday.

He referred AFP to the foreign ministry, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In December, Sudan accused Ethiopian "forces and militias" of ambushing Sudanese troops along the border, leaving four dead and more than 20 wounded.

Ethiopia, for its part, said in mid-December that Sudanese military forces had "organised attacks... using heavy machine guns".

On Tuesday, Addis Ababa claimed that Sudanese forces were pushing further into the border region and warned that while it "gives priority to peace", it has "its limit".

Khartoum on Tuesday accused Ethiopian armed men of killing six people including five women and a child on Monday in the area, calling it a "brutal aggression."

The two sides held border talks last month, and Sudan declared in late December that its army had restored control over all border territory that had been taken over by Ethiopian farmers.

Al-Fashaqa region -- which has seen sporadic clashes over the years -- borders Ethiopia's troubled Tigray region where deadly conflict erupted in November between Ethiopia's federal and Tigray's regional forces.

The fighting sent some 60,000 Ethiopian refugees into neighbouring Sudan.

The Sudanese-Ethiopian border dispute comes at a sensitive time between the two countries, who along with Egypt have recently hit another impasse in talks over the massive Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile River.