Sudanese patrol shelled by Ethiopian forces. Ethiopia asks Sudan to pull troops out for border talks

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Sudanese patrol shelled by Ethiopian forces.

Tension has escalated between Sudan, Ethiopia along their borderline.

A Sudanese patrol came under shelling from Ethiopian forces on Sunday near the border with Ethiopia, according to local media.

Sudan Tribune news portal, citing a military source, said mortar shells were fired by Ethiopian forces at the patrol in the eastern Al-Gadaref province.

No injuries were reported and the Sudanese military has yet to issue an official statement.

The attack came amid rising tensions between Khartoum and Addis Ababa over their borderline.

Last week, Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok informed UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres that Sudanese forces were deployed within the country’s borders. Hamdok stressed that Khartoum was not seeking war with Addis Ababa.

Sudan accuses Ethiopia of supporting militias that attack Sudanese army forces in the border area, an accusation denied by Addis Ababa.

Ethiopia asks Sudan to pull troops out for border talks

Ethiopia on Tuesday reiterated its call for Sudan to pull back from disputed territories its troops have been in since late last year.

In late December, Sudanese soldiers reportedly moved up to 40 kilometers (25 miles) into Ethiopian-held territories, including the contested fertile agricultural region of Al-Fashaga, which Ethiopia called an act of blackmail by its western neighbor.

Ethiopia then launched a diplomatic effort to get Sudanese forces out of the territories to promote a return to the normal mechanisms of dialogue to resolve the century-long border dispute.

“Ethiopia is committed to a peaceful resolution of the border differences with Sudan,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Dina Mufti told a weekly news briefing.

Any possibility of mediation would require Sudan to pull its forces to positions prior to late December, when Ethiopia first signaled a breach of its borders, he added.

“We have had mechanisms, technical and political committees,” he said, adding that the two countries need to get back to those resolution mechanisms through dialogue.

Asked how long Ethiopia would maintain a diplomatic stance while Sudan remains in the contested territories, Dina said: “We will cross that river when we come to it.”

Sudanese military leaders have not shown any sign of heeding Ethiopia’s call, though, and reiterate they reclaimed their own territories.

The Horn of Africa nation decries how Sudan, otherwise considered a friendly neighbor, took the move when Ethiopia’s defense forces were busy dealing with the outlawed Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) after it stormed the federal army’s Northern Command last year, killing soldiers and looting military hardware

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