Barely a fortnight after the Sudanese military issued out a response to the Sunday killings of their soldiers and a civilian by the Ethiopian militia, Sudan is reported to have shelled the disputed border region of al-Fashaqa.
The reported attack on Ethiopia comes amid a response presser by the Sudanese military in which it indicated its commitment to make an appropriate response for Ethiopia’s provocative actions. However Addis Ababa has denied the allegations from Sudan of its troops capturing and executing seven Sudanese soldiers and a civilian. But it has also counter-accused Sudanese soldiers of encroaching into its territory.
Ethiopian officials have indicated that the mass firings by the Sudanese army at the al-Fashaqa emanate from the Sudanese government’s mistaken belief that the Ethiopian army has a hand in the sombre events that took place over the weekend. On Tuesday, Sudan said that it had fired heavy artillery and recaptured several of its territories that were being held by the Ethiopian army. "Sudan's army fired long-distance artillery from Monday morning until Tuesday afternoon, but nobody was injured", confirmed Assefa Ashege, a senior security official in Ethiopia's Amhara region.
The latest developments come as the squabbles over al-Fashaq where the north-west of Ethiopia's Amhara region meets Sudan's breadbasket Gedaref state transmogrify into a heated military exchange. For the past decades the Gadaref State has been settled by Ethiopian farmers until the quarrel over the shared boarder intensively reignited in recent years owing to a diplomatic spat over Ethiopia's construction of a hydropower dam.
Military planes according to the BBC could be seen circling the contested area as the Sudanese assault continued, a move that can be explained under the “appropriate response” conveyed in the Sudanese military statement. The row between the two countries has widened the diplomatic rift in Eastern Africa along the River Nile as Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo are also embroiled in a nasty boarder conflict. On the other end South Sudan and Uganda have also been accusing each other of facilitating rebel attacks and harbouring insurgents in refugee camps of either country.
The incessant fall-outs have also culminated into a spill-over effect leading to civilian participation in denouncing each other despite the belligerent states sharing a relatable history. In the DRC, the Congolese people are reported to be engaging in a xenophobic spree, intimidating or threatening every Rwandan nationality that they encounter. According to Aljazeera, in Kinshasa some Rwandans can no longer go out to shop or send their children to school in fear of being attacked by machete wielding Congolesi.
Meanwhile, the African Union has expressed deep concern over the volatile situation in the East African region and has called upon the responsible leaders to exercise restraint in their approach. The African Union Commission through the Chairperson Mousa Faki Mahamat urged Sudan and Ethiopia to explore more peaceful avenues such as dialogue rather than armed raids and military exchanges.
In the meantime following the alleged capture of Sudanese soldiers by Ethiopia, Khartoum has since removed its emissary to Addis Ababa and has vowed to lodge a complaint to the United Nations Security Council and other vital regional organisations. The attacks on Ethiopia therefore come as a surprise given the earlier indication by Sudan to make an ‘appropriate response’ to Ethiopia’s provocation. Perhaps the recent strikes are the appropriate response that Sudan military intimated.