The Ethiopian National Defence Forces (ENDF) expressed its capacity to drive out Sudanese incursion which was being dealt with peaceful terms and denied the presence of its army in a recent skirmish during which seven Sudanese soldiers and a civilian were reported to be killed last week.
The Sudanese foreign ministry accused the Ethiopian army of executing seven Sudanese soldiers and a civilian on June 22 whom it said were captured in the Sudanese territory and taken into Ethiopian territory where they were killed and their bodies displayed in public.
Sudan called its ambassador in Addis Ababa to Khartoum yesterday after the accusation. The Sudanese military also vowed there would be an appropriate response.
The Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs disclosed afterward that “the incident took place within Ethiopian territory after incursions by a Sudanese regular army unit supported by elements of the terrorist TPLF”. The ministry expressed its regrets for the loss of lives.
Stating its belief that the incident was deliberately concocted to undermine the deep-rooted relations between the peoples of the two countries, the Ethiopian government urged Sudan to restrain itself from any escalation of the incident and defuse the tension.
In a press briefing the ENDF gave today, it denied the allegation that the Ethiopian army executed Sudanese soldiers in a conflict at the border and labeled it “groundless”.
“Sudanese soldiers together with forces of Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and defected members of ENDF conducted an attack on local militia crossing the Ethiopian border. Casualties are sustained by both parties. However, reversing the actual reality, the Sudanese government stood as an accuser of our army, which wasn’t present at the place,” said Colonel Adane Getnet, PR Directorate Director of the ENDF.
ENDF defied the blame that its forces executed Sudanese captives reminding the army’s reputation of military discipline in various peacekeeping missions. Moreover, the PR Director noted that in spite of Sudan’s repeated provocations the army so far maintained its government’s position of resolving the border dispute in negotiation concerning the areas occupied by Sudan following the war in Tigray.
“If our government ordered us to take measures, we would like to make it clear that we have an integrated capacity to drive out the [Sudanese] forces from our areas which are occupied by force and defend our sovereignty. In such conditions, we would act as a regular and modern army in an apparent and declared way, not hidden as chieftains as said by the Sudanese in their statement,” added Colonel Adane.
In December 2021, just after the Tigray conflict broke out, the Sudanese army reportedly advanced to the west of Ethiopia’s Gondar, a region near the border, while residents and government officials claimed some members of the military looted cattle and burned farmlands belonging to Ethiopian farmers. There have been positive signs recently about resuming negotiations between Ethiopia and Sudan to solve a number of disputes between the two countries.
Ethiopia’s readiness was also announced this month to resume African Union-led negotiations that aim at resolving the dispute around the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) with Egypt and Sudan.