Ethiopian forces killed troops in a cross-border attack

CAIRO (AP) – The Sudanese military said on Wednesday that a cross-border attack by Ethiopian forces and militias has left a causal link among the Sudanese forces, a development that could disrupt ties between the two neighbors.

The army said in a statement that the attack took place on Tuesday evening as troops returned from a sweep of the Abu Tyour area in Al-Qadarif province along the border with Ethiopia.

The statement did not say how many troops were killed or injured.

Separately, military officials said that at least four troops, including a major, were left dead and a dozen others wounded in the attack. They said the military had sent enforcement to the borders with Ethiopia. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.

There was no immediate response from Ethiopia.

Sudan sent more than 6,000 troops to the border at the start of the fighting in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, which the federal government pitted against regional authorities last month. Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed declared victory in the battle. However, clashes between the Ethiopian federal and regional forces have continued.

The fighting in Tigray has sent more than 52,000 Ethiopian refugees to Sudan, mainly in al-Qadarif. The influx of refugees adds to Sudan’s economic burden and security.

Tuesday’s attack on Sudanese forces came three days after Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok met the Ethiopian leader in Addis Ababa. The visit lasted a few hours, despite an announcement by Sudan that it would be a two-day visit. Hamdok said at a press conference that they had ended their talks earlier than expected and there was no reason to stay.

Hamdok said the two sides agreed to resume talks in Khartoum next week about the border between the two countries.

Sudan’s transitional government has engaged in talks with Ethiopia in recent months to encourage Ethiopian farmers to withdraw from the Sudanese border region of al-Fashqa, which they have been cultivating for years.

Former Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir’s government had tolerated the invasion of Ethiopian peasants, sometimes backed by militias. In May, at least one Sudanese army officer and one child were killed in an attack by an Ethiopian militia in al-Qadarif.