At least 20 Sudan troops dead after clash on Ethiopia border

At least 20 Sudanese troops have reportedly died following clashes with Ethiopian forces on the countries’ shared border.  

Sudanese soldiers fell into an ambush on Saturday after traveling across the Atbara river and being bombarded, Bloomberg reported, citing Alrasheed Ali, a member of the border commission of Sudan’s southeastern Gadaref state.

Sudanese forces are now accumulating on the riverbank and “the situation is very tense,” Ali told Bloomberg by phone on Sunday. He did not, however, reveal any information about fatalities among Ethiopians.

Sudan’s army released a statement on Saturday reporting that it delivered “heavy losses of life” against Ethiopian troops and militias who assaulted them, according to Bloomberg. The Sudanese army also said it saw fatalities, but did not disclose how many.

The deadly clashes occurred after more than a year of conflict in al-Fashqa, an area that touches both Sudan and Ethiopia and produces cotton and sorghum, according to Bloomberg. The patch of land is seen as a potentially explosive area amid simmering conflict between the countries. 

Sudan and Ethiopia are already fighting over the latter’s intention to fill and run a large hydroelectric dam on the main side stream of the Nile River, according to Bloomberg.

Both countries are also experiencing internal conflicts.

The government in Ethiopia is still battling Tigray rebels in fighting that has caused thousands of deaths and forced thousands more from their homes. Sudan’s military ousted the prime minister in a coup last month, upsetting efforts to organize democratic elections. 

Earlier this month, however, a deal was brokered in the country to reinstate the ousted prime minister amid mounting international pressure. 

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned about growing extremism and authoritarianism in Africa during a speech on Nov. 19, noting that the continent is struggling amid coups, police brutality and violence.

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