Today, Tuesday, November 30, 2021, clashes resumed between Sudanese and Ethiopian forces in the Al-Fashqa border area, while Addis Ababa accused the Tigray Front of targeting Sudanese territory.

The conflict on the border with Ethiopia goes back more than 120 years, when Britain completed its occupation of Sudan and began demarcating its borders with its neighbors.

Since the fifties of the last century, the Sudanese side has accused what it describes as Ethiopian militias of repeated attacks on the Sudanese area of ​​Al-Fashqa bordering the border, with the aim of evacuating the border strip of Sudanese farmers, which the Ethiopian side denies.

Al-Fashqa peninsula area

Al-Fashqa area is isolated from the rest of Sudan, as the area is a peninsula interspersed with the Islam, Atbara and Setit rivers, and inhabited by hundreds of Ethiopian farmers, although it is located within the territory of Sudan.

The area of ​​Al-Fashqa is about two million acres, and it extends at a distance of 168 kilometers with the Ethiopian border out of the total border distance of the Sudanese state of Gedaref with Ethiopia, which is about 265 kilometers.

Al-Fashqa includes the most fertile agricultural lands in Sudan, and is divided into 3 regions: the Greater Fashqa (bordered by the Setit River in the north, Bahr Islam in the south, and the Atbara River in the west), the Lesser one (bordered to the north by Bahr Islam, to the west by the Atbara River, and to the east by the border with Ethiopia) and the southern region.

Most of Ethiopia's exports of sunflower, sesame and corn crops are produced from about one million acres in the Sudanese lands of Al-Fashqa.

chronology

- In 1891, the Ethiopian Emperor Menelik II sent a letter to the European heads of state in which he defined the borders of his empire up to Karakouj on the Blue Nile in central Sudan.

1902: The signing of the border treaty demarcating the Ethiopian-Sudanese border between the government of Ethiopia and the British colonial administration in Sudan.

The treaty provided for the establishment of a commission to demarcate the common border.

1903: The British representative (Major Gwen) unilaterally demarcates the border without the presence of the Ethiopian representative or authorization from the Ethiopian government.

As a result, the demarcation of (Major Gwen) remained a subject of controversy and contention, especially for the areas north of Jebel Djelish.

- 1957: 7 Ethiopian farmers cultivated 3800 acres in Al-Fashqa, and between 1964 and 1967, the number increased to 27 farmers, and the area of ​​their farms increased to 33,000 acres.

1968: A Jew named "Kanafi" of the Falasha of the Amhara nationality led the first attack on Jabal Abu Tayr, and his militia took control of a large area in Al-Fashqa Al-Kubra, including Jabal Abu Tayr.

1969: A Sudanese police force expelled the "Kanafi" militia after a battle in which the people participated, and upon the recovery of Jabal Abu Birds, a printer and letters bearing the words "Jerusalem of Jerusalem" were seized.

The 1972 agreement..a friendly solution

1972: In order to resolve the border dispute, the government of Ethiopia and Sudan, through the foreign ministers of the two countries, agreed to start the process of re-demarcation from Jebel Dugish in the south.

It was also agreed to study the problem resulting from settlement and agriculture by the citizens of either country in the territory of the other country, with the aim of finding an amicable solution.

Two months after the signing of the memoranda, the Sudanese government sent a letter to the head of the Organization of African Unity, informing him that it had been agreed to organize the longest border between the two African countries.

The Organization of African Unity has informed Ethiopia that the Government of Sudan has ratified this agreement, in accordance with Article 102 of the Charter of the United Nations.

The framework of the 1972 agreement stipulated that finding an amicable solution to the problem resulting from agriculture and settlement is a prerequisite for redrawing the Gwyn line north of Jebel Djelish.

1974: Immediately after the signing of the Agreement of Understandings in 1972, both countries formed a joint border committee to redraw the borders of southern Jebel Dugish, but due to the change of government in 1974 in Ethiopia, the agreed re-demarcation project was not realized.

Between 1972 and 1991: The number of Ethiopian farmers increased to 52 farmers in an area of ​​84,500 feddans.

- After 1994: their number reached 1659 farmers in about one million acres by penetrating into the borders of Sudan at varying depths between nine and 24 kilometers.

- Since 1995, Ethiopian farmers - under the protection of armed militias - have exploited about two million acres of the highly fertile Al-Fashqa lands, and the Ethiopian authorities have built many villages there, and provided them with services and infrastructure, including paved roads.

2000: Ethiopia and Sudan decided to implement the understandings of 1972 and to establish a joint special committee tasked with finding an amicable solution to the problem arising in the northern Jebel Deglesh region.

Moreover, the two countries agreed to establish a special joint committee to redraw the border line between the two countries, and although the committee held 8 meetings, it did not complete its mission entrusted to it under the 1972 agreement and its terms of reference approved by the agreement.

2005.. Memorandum of Understanding

2005: While negotiations are ongoing, the two countries sign a Memorandum of Understanding to put in place a temporary solution to this problem until a final agreement is reached on the amicable solution that the two countries will agree upon.

- The joint field work committee between the two countries has identified 754 thousand acres seized by Ethiopian farmers, and the expansion continued to reach about 895,000 acres of highly fertile land.

The 2005 Memorandum of Understanding is a supplementary and temporary solution to the 1972 Agreement and is not a substitute for it.

March 2020: A Sudanese incursion into Al-Fashqa.

November 2020: The Sudanese army began to extend its control over the areas where it had not spread for nearly a quarter of a century, declaring a new and exciting position for the Ethiopian side.

- December 2020: Battles in the strategic Jabal Abu Toir overlooking the areas of Al-Fashqa Al-Sughra and Al-Fashqa Al-Kubra, which the Sudanese army recovered from the Ethiopian forces.

December 31, 2020: Khartoum said that the Sudanese army had imposed its control over Al-Fashqa, after it had been seized by "Ethiopian gangs" for a quarter of a century.

January 12, 2021: The Sudanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that "Ethiopian militias" attacked the "Qureisha" border area, which led to the killing of 5 women and a child, and the loss of two women.

January 13, 2021: The Ethiopian ambassador to Khartoum, Petal Amiru, accused the Sudanese army of seizing 9 camps inside the territory of Ethiopia since November 2020.

January 15, 2021: Member of the Sovereignty Council and its spokesman, Muhammad Al-Faki Suleiman, said - in a press conference - that 17 areas and 8 settlements within its eastern borders were protected by Ethiopian militias, and that the Sudanese army managed to recover about 90% of Al-Fashqa lands, and two areas remained. Only "tar" and "Khor Hamar".

January 18, 2021: The Sudanese Defense Minister, Lieutenant-General Ibrahim Yassin, appealed to Ethiopia to withdraw its forces from the remaining positions it still occupies on the eastern border.

April 8, 2021: Al-Fashqa visited the head of the Sovereign Council, Lieutenant-General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan - accompanied by officers of the Operations Authority and the Director of Military Intelligence - following reports of the Ethiopian army's build-up and its incursion into Sudanese territory.

- November 29, 2021: Al-Burhan inspects the forces stationed in the Barakat Noreen area in Al-Fashqa Al-Sughra in the state of Gedaref on the border with Ethiopia.

The Sovereignty Council said - in an official statement - that this visit comes after the Ethiopian attacks, which led to the killing of 6 soldiers from the south of the army, and the injury of more than 31 officers and soldiers.

Ethiopian Amharic ethnicity.. Shifta militias

The Ethiopian Amharic ethnicity firmly believes that the lands of these border areas belong to it historically, and the Amharic people do not see the right of anyone, whether Emperor Menelik II in 1902 or even Prime Minister Meles Zenawi in 1996, to relinquish Ethiopian sovereignty over them.

- The attacks of the Ethiopians on the villages of the border strip have not disappeared in any year, and they are always during the summer and in conjunction with the harvesting operations.

- These attacks have continued for about 60 years non-stop, which led to the killing of many farmers, workers, agents of agricultural projects and drivers, in addition to looting crops, livestock and machinery.

- 4 types of Ethiopian armed forces are active in Sudanese territory: the first of these is the Ethiopian opposition forces affiliated with the Tigray Liberation Front, which was active during the Ethiopian-Eritrean war by opening the Sudanese lands to it.

- Among the active forces in the region are the Ethiopian army itself, as well as unorganized groups that also serve the interests of the Ethiopian authorities by imposing a fait accompli policy.

As for the most active types of Ethiopian forces, they are what are known as “shifta gangs”, which are organized groups sponsored by the Ethiopian state, financed by large farmers there, and receive training and armament from the regular army, although they are irregular.

1950s: The Shivta militias arose as small ethnic gangs known as the Walgaits for the purpose of looting.

The mid-nineties: it turned into large and organized militias, mostly of the Amhara ethnic group, and owned machine guns, automatic weapons and artillery, and launched organized attacks on Sudanese territory, during which it was able to empty the entire (east) of the Atbara River from the Sudanese population.

It also removed villages and expelled citizens and farmers, and opened the way for Ethiopian farmers to seize those sites, and took over their protection along the borders of Gedaref State.

The formation in which the Shifta militias carry out their attacks is known locally in the state of Gedaref as "Al-Balabil" - a name derived from 3 Sudanese sisters who sing collectively - and one gang consists of 3 men, the first armed with a Kalashnikov rifle, the second with an axe, and the third with a stick.

- In recent years: these militias have been kidnapping citizens within the Sudanese borders in exchange for ransoms, and they have killed and executed many Sudanese citizens.

- The Ethiopian militias are recognized by the federal government in Addis Ababa, as the Ethiopian border committees are always represented by the leaders of the Amhara militias.

- These militias target the Lahouyin, Bani Amer and Fallata tribes by kidnapping and stealing livestock because they are wealthy components and are able to pay the financial ransom.

- In the sixties of the last century, the police chief, Sayed Ahmed Hussein, was able to persuade the federal government in Khartoum to arm Sudanese farmers and shepherds in Al-Fashqa to confront the attacks of the Shifta.

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