2020–21 Sudanese–Ethiopian clashes

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2020–21 Sudanese–Ethiopian clashes
Part of spillover of the Tigray War
The al-Fashaga Triangle.png
The disputed al-Fashaga Triangle in light green
Date15 December 2020 – present
Sudanese–Ethiopian border


  • Sudan claims to have recaptured entire border territory with Ethiopia[1][2]
  • Both Sudan and Ethiopia have sent military reinforcements to the border.[3][4]
 Sudan  Ethiopia

Template:Country data Amhara Amhara militias
Units involved
Sudan SAF
Ethiopia ENDF Template:Country data Tigray Tigray Region Militias
TPLF Rebel Militias
Casualties and losses
4 killed[5] 1 captured (Sudanese claim)[6] 45 captured[7]
At least 10 civilians killed (Sudanese claim)[8][9][10]

The 2020–21 Sudanese–Ethiopian clashes began in the Abu Tyour area along the Ethiopia-Sudan controversial border on 15 December 2020[11][12] between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Ethiopian National Defense Force.[13] On 11 January 2021, Ethiopia accused Sudanese forces[14] of pushing into a contested border area that has been the subject to lethal clashes in latest weeks. Sudan responded by condemning what it called Ethiopian aggression.

Background[edit source | edit]

In 1902 British-ruled Sudan and the Ethiopian Empire signed a treaty to properly demarcate the border, but it failed as some areas along the border were left unresolved.[15] In both the 1902 and a later 1907 treaty the international boundary runs to the east which means the land of al-Fashaga is Sudanese but Ethiopians had already settled the area and had already been cultivating there along with paying taxes to the Ethiopian government.[16]

After the Eritrean–Ethiopian War Ethiopia and Sudan began long-dormant talks to settle the exact location of their 744km-long (462 miles) border. With the most difficult area to agree on being the al-Fashaga region.[16]

In 2008 they reached a compromise. Ethiopia agreed to the al-Fashaga region being apart of Sudan but Ethiopians would still be allowed to continue living there undisturbed.[16]

Once the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) was removed from power in 2018 ethic Amhara leaders condemned the deal as a secret bargain and said they were not properly consulted when the deal was made.[16]

Clashes[edit source | edit]

On 15 December Ethiopian militias allegedly backed by the Ethiopian government ambushed several Sudanese military officers killing 4 of them. Later that day Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok said he was prepared to "repel" military aggression. Already dealing with a war in the north Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed tried to clam the situation by saying "Such incidents will not break the bond b/n our two countries as we always use dialogue to resolve issues"[15]

Things got hotter when Sudan started mobilising soldiers to the contested border and by New Year's day, it claimed to have recaptured all villages in the region. In response, Ethiopian military chief General Birhanu Jula said "Our military is engaged elsewhere, they took advantage of that. This should have been solved amicably. Sudan needs to choose dialogue, as there are third party actors who want to see our countries divided." (When he says third party actors he is talking about Egypt).[15]

On 28 December Sudan claimed to have captured the villages of Asmaro, Lebbaki, Pasha, Lamlam, Melkamo, Males, Ashkar, Arqa, Umm Pasha Teddy. In total it captured 11 settlements that Ethiopian militias were controlling. Sudan also claimed to have captured the town of Lilli from Amhara forces and militias. Lilli is home to Amhara army commanders, major traders and farmers. In total over a thousand Ethiopian farmers live there.[17]

On 3 January 2021 Sudan captured 45 TPLF fighters who crossed into Sudan.[7]

Reactions and Peace process[edit source | edit]

International[edit source | edit]

Intergovernmental organizations[edit source | edit]

Other[edit source | edit]

  • Rashid Abdi, a researcher and Horn of Africa analyst said "Ethiopia is reticent about the al-Fashaga crisis because it touches on Prime Minister Abiy’s grip on power and the interests of the Amhara [Ethiopian region bordering al-Fashaga], his only ethnic support base. Whereas in Sudan, a new conflict could complicate the political transition and sow divisions. The army can use war as excuse to reconsolidate power and edge out the civilians."[15]

References[edit source | edit]

  1. "Sudan declares full control of border territory settled by Ethiopians". Middle East Eye. Retrieved 2 January 2021.
  2. "Sudan takes control of borders with Ethiopia".
  3. "Ethiopia Moves Artillery to Sudanese Border After Deadly Clashes". Bloomberg.com. 28 January 2021. Retrieved 31 January 2021.
  4. "السودان ينشر تعزيزات عسكرية في الحدود الشرقية بعد اختطاف مليشيات إثيوبية لـ 3 تجار - سودان تربيون". www.sudantribune.net. Retrieved 31 January 2021.
  5. "4 Sudan soldiers die in clashes with Ethiopia militias along border". Middle East Monitor. 17 December 2020.
  6. "Situation Report EEPA HORN No. 47 - 07 January 2021" (PDF).
  7. 7.0 7.1 {"Situation Report EEPA HORN No. 45 - 4 January 2021" (PDF).
  8. "Sudan says Ethiopian military plane crossed its border". www.aljazeera.com. Retrieved 14 January 2021.
  9. "Situation Report EEPA HORN No. 46 - 5 January 2021" (PDF).
  10. "هجوم اثيوبي جديد يقود إلى استشهاد رعاة سودانيين بمحلية القلابات الشرقية". اخبار السودان (in Arabic). 18 January 2021. Retrieved 31 January 2021.
  11. "Sudan says troops killed by Ethiopian forces in cross-border attack". dailynewsegypt.com. Retrieved 17 January 2021.
  12. "Sudan: Ethiopian forces killed troops in cross-border attack". ABC News. Retrieved 29 December 2020.
  13. "Sudan Taking Control of Land on Border With Ethiopia".
  14. "Sudan condemns Ethiopia's militias aggression against Quraysha locality". dailynewsegypt.com. Retrieved 17 January 2021.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 15.4 15.5 Zelalem, Zecharias. "Rising tension as Ethiopia and Sudan deadlocked on border dispute". www.aljazeera.com. Retrieved 8 February 2021.
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 "Viewpoint: Why Ethiopia and Sudan have fallen out over al-Fashaga". BBC News. 3 January 2021. Retrieved 8 February 2021.
  17. "EEPA Situation Report 28 December" (PDF). EEPA.
  18. "Pekka Haavisto visit to Sudan". EEAS - European External Action Service - European Commission. Retrieved 8 February 2021.

Template:Ethiopia-stub Template:Sudan-stub

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