Amhara Mass Media Agency( AMMA), the regional state media, confirmed that the skirmish involving Sudanese Border Security and Ethiopian farmers happened this morning in Metema district of the zone along Delelo Agricultural investment land. The source added that there were casualties on both sides but did not indicate the numbers.
ESAT, US based Ethiopian News outlet, cited sources from Metema region to report that an unprovoked attack by Sudanese soldiers left at least five Ethiopian farmers dead but did not report about casualties on the side of Sudanese forces.
Ethiopian soldiers are reportedly deployed to the border region where the skirmish happened and that a relative calm is restored.
Based on AMMA report the skirmish is over cultivable land that Ethiopian farmers used to farm. Head of West Gonder Zone, Zelalem Lijalem, is quoted as saying “The cause for the conflict along the Ethiopian and Sudan border is claim over the arable land.” What sparked the conflict is, says the report, that Sudanese soldiers restricted Ethiopian farmers not to plow land which they have been allegedly farming in the past. AMMA also cited Lijalem, the top government authority in the region, as saying that Ethiopian farmers used to farm for a long time and that they have explained the matter to Sudanese authorities.
Neither Sudanese government authorities nor the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia has not remarked about the latest conflict so far.
The two governments have a cordial relationship and have numerous bilateral agreements. Sudan also supported Ethiopian position in relation to the talk over the Grand Renaissance Dam.
However, there has been an outcry by Ethiopian farmers in the region for a long time now after the TPLF government allegedly handed over land that belongs to Ethiopia to Sudan. About three or so years ago, TPLF government, which used to be dominant in the Federal government while representing only five percent of the Ethiopian population, signed a joint-border security agreement with Sudan and arrangement was made to for a joint-force from the two countries to patrol border areas.
Residents in the Ethiopian side of the region where a skirmish happened this morning seem to believe that TPLF might have instigated the incident. The party was also implicated in numerous internal conflict in different parts of the country in what many believe is an attempt to create a crisis in a way to make the new reformist administration under Abiy Ahmed incapable to handle the situation in the country.
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