Another victim of Ethiopian attack found in eastern Sudan

The number of victims from the Ethiopian attack on the village of Leya, El Gureisha locality in El Gedaref, rose to seven, after a woman’s body was found yesterday in the area of Nahr El Atbrawi.

A committee formed by those affected by the conflict in El Fashaga said in a statement that the Ethiopian militia launched the attack on the village of Leya on Monday, killing five women and a child while they were harvesting corn. The body of the sixth woman was found in a different place from where the other bodies were found, the committee said.

Sources from El Gureisha said that Mousa Saleh was kidnapped by Ethiopian militias from the area of Abu Zafa, three kilometres south of the town of El Galabat, last Sunday. The militias reportedly demand a ransom of SDG 3.5 million in exchange for his release.

During his visit to the area on Monday, Suleiman Ali, wali (governor) of El Gedaref, confirmed that the government will shortly establish development projects in the border area.

The Sudanese Women’s Union condemned the assassination of the six women. It called on the government to extend its authority in the border areas and protect its citizens, especially women. They also denounced violations against women, warning that the “tragedies in the west of the country are moving to the east”. They demanded that the government reach a radical solution for the turmoil and the blocking of ports in the east.

A delegation headed by Sovereign Council member Mohamed El Faki has left for Saudi Arabia today to discuss recent clashes at the Sudanese-Ethiopian border.

A delegation consisting of Sovereign Council member Lt Gen Ibrahim Jaber, and the ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defence visited Chadian President Idris Deby yesterday for the same reason.

In a press statement following the visit, Jabir indicated that the Chadian President showed “broad understanding” for Sudan’s position.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) seeks to avoid escalation between Sudan and Ethiopia. In a statement, the UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs stressed the depth and strength of the relations between the UAE and both countries, as well as the need to stop any actions by Sudan or Ethiopia that would increase tensions.

Since November, the Sudanese army has been deployed in El Fashaga. In December, it claimed to have regained control of El Fashaga El Sughra and El Fashaga El Kubra from Ethiopian militias who have been occupying and cultivating the fertile Sudanese agricultural lands since 1995.

Nevertheless, attacks have been carried out by Ethiopian armed forces in the El Fashaga area.

According to the El Fashaga Lands Committee, about 90 per cent of the lands in the border area has been occupied by shifta for years.

The shifta regularly conduct violent cross-border raids to steal crops and livestock or kidnap people for ransom.

Ever since the Sudanese army has regained control of border areas in El Fashaga, there have been attacks by Ethiopian armed forces. Four members of the Sudanese army were killed in an attack by Ethiopian armed and militia forces in December.

Last month, border demarcation talks between Sudanese and Ethiopian government delegations in Khartoum concluded without an agreement. The negotiations reportedly failed because the Ethiopian delegation refused to recognise the 1903 border demarcation, saying that the British-Ethiopian treaty on the border was signed in colonial times.

Since Sudan’s independence in 1956, no clear demarcation of the 1,600-kilometer border with Ethiopia has been made. This has made it easy for Ethiopian militants to occupy fertile farmlands in eastern Sudan.

Last week, a Sudanese delegation visited Eritrea to discuss regional security and bilateral relations, including the Ethiopian civil war in the Tigray region bordering both Sudan and Eritrea.

Source: Radio Dabanga

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