El Gedaref — At least 20 members of the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) have died during a clash with Ethiopian forces and militiamen, who reportedly ambushed them in the border area of El Fashaga El Soghra in El Gedaref. The SAF said in a statement that it inflicted "heavy losses of life" on Ethiopian troops and militiamen who attacked them.
In the statement yesterday, the SAF confirmed that a number of army officers and soldiers were killed during the clashes in the Barakat Noreen area. Sudanese forces responded to shelling and crossed the Atbara river, when they fell into the ambush.
The 1,600 kilometre border between Sudan and Ethiopia was drawn in colonial times. It has never been clearly demarcated since Sudan became independent. The lack of clear border markers has made it easy for Ethiopian militants to occupy fertile farmlands in eastern El Gedaref.
In El Fashaga locality, Ethiopian farmers have been cultivating crops for decades. The lands are protected by Ethiopian gunmen.
The border area has been the source of frequent clashes over the last two years. Reportedly, 700,000 acres of Sudanese agricultural land has been illegally appropriated by Ethiopian farmers since the 1960s.
Sudan's paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) reported the killing of three of its operatives, including a Caption, on Friday, as a result of violent clashes with what the RSF described as "unruly gangs that are active in smuggling and human trafficking in the Shafar Leit area in Sudan's Northern State , where Sudan borders Egypt and Libya.