Sudan’s armed forces have fired heavy artillery during clashes in a troubled eastern region bordering Ethiopia, an Ethiopian official said, the latest salvo in a long-running feud over their shared border.
On Tuesday, Sudan was able to capture Jabal Kala al Laban, an area near the border, following an artillery barrage and an air strike, according to a Sudanese military source who requested anonymity as they were not authorised to talk to the press.
Sudan’s army fired long-distance artillery from Monday morning until Tuesday afternoon, but nobody was injured, said Assefa Ashege, a senior security official in Ethiopia’s Amhara region.
Two local residents said the Sudanese army had gained control of Jabal Kala al Laban and had destroyed a military base there. It was unclear if the base belonged to the Ethiopian army or an allied forces.
A Sudanese military spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment. Ethiopia’s government spokesperson Legesse Tulu did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
UN calls for peace
On Monday, Ethiopia denied Sudan’s accusation that its army had captured and executed seven Sudanese soldiers and a civilian, and instead blamed the killings on a local militia.
Sudanese government sources said Sudan had filed a formal complaint with the United Nations Security Council over the killings.
Ethiopian military officials referred Reuters to a statement issued on Monday that described a previous border clash but did not comment on the reported shelling.
In a statement, Sudan’s military disputed what it said were reports of movements and the taking of prisoners.
UN is “concerned about the renewed clashes between Sudan and Ethiopia along their disputed border,” said UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric.
Secretary General Antonio Guterres “urges the two countries to take concrete steps to defuse tensions and to peacefully resolve their differences over the Al Fashaga border area,” he added.
Quarrel over Al Fashaga
Relations between Khartoum and Addis Ababa have soured over Al Fashaga area, which is close to Ethiopia.
Legally Sudanese, Al Fashaga territory has long been used by Ethiopian farmers according to an arrangement between the two countries.
Amid periodic clashes and attacks in the area since 2014, this arrangement was finally dissolved with the deployment of Sudanese troops in November 2020.
The rift over Al Fashaga feeds into wider tensions over land and water between the neighbours, particularly stoked by Ethiopia’s mega dam on the Blue Nile.
Sudan and Egypt, both downstream countries, have been opposed to the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and pushed for an agreement on the filling of its reservoir and the operation of the dam.