A Sudanese farmer was shot dead by Ethiopian gunmen yesterday in the border area of East El Galabat locality in El Gedaref. Hundreds of new refugees from the neighbouring Tigray region fled the civil war in Ethiopia and crossed the border into eastern Sudan.
Speaking to Radio Dabanga, listener El Jamri Saleh reported that farmer Saleh El Nayer was tilling his land near El Galabat town yesterday morning, when a group of about 20 Ethiopian gunmen (called shifta in the region) suddenly shot at him. “He was hit by three bullets, and died instantly.”
Army troops transferred El Nayer’s body to the El Galabat police station, and from there to El Gedaref town for an autopsy.
Saleh said that the people living near the border in East El Galabat locality blame the army force stationed in the town for being absent in the border areas.
Last week, Ethiopian gunmen killed a Sudanese herder.
At the beginning of December, the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) regained control of the area of Khor Yabis in El Fashaga locality in eastern El Gedaref after the area had been occupied by Ethiopian farmers and gunmen (called shifta in the region) for over 25 years.
Two weeks later, the Sudanese army stated that Ethiopian forces ambushed Sudanese troops, killing four and wounding 27. Last week, Sudanese army forces were redeployed at the Ethiopian border.
The 1,600 kilometre border between Sudan and Ethiopia was drawn in colonial times. No clear demarcation of the border has been made since Sudan became independent in 1956. The lack of clear border markers has made it easy for Ethiopian militants to occupy fertile farmlands in eastern El Gedaref.
Ethiopian militant farmers and gunmen have been cultivating crops for decades on Sudanese farms along the border. Farmers in El Fashaga, backed by the El Gedaref governor, demanded in July that their lands be returned to them.
Refugees from Tigray
263 refugees from Tigray in Ethiopia arrived in eastern Sudan on Monday. In total, 62,631 Ethiopian refugees have been registered in Sudan since the outbreak of the civil war in the neighbouring Tigray region.
241 of the new arrivals entered Sudan through the Hamdayet border crossing in Kassala, and 22 through Medina 8 in El Gedaref, according to the latest daily report of the Refugees Commission.
The report said that 331 refugees were transferred from the Hamdayet site to the newly established El Tuneideba camp in El Gedaref, as the Um Rakouba camp reached its maximum capacity of 25,000 people.
The Ethiopian army, that has taken control over most of the Tigray region, is reportedly trying to close the border with Sudan to prevent Tigray refugees to flee Ethiopia.
Source: Radio Dabanga