March 8, 2021 (KHARTOUM) – The Ethiopian government has recently supplied weapons and ammunition to a Sudanese rebel group to attack a border town in the Blue Nile State, said the official news agency SUNA on Sunday.
The attacks by the Ethiopian army-backed militiamen on the border area and the counter-attacks by the Sudanese forces undermined the good entente between the two countries when Addis Abbas in December 2020 claimed the ownership of al-Fashaga which lies within Sudan’s international boundaries.
“The Ethiopian government provided logistical support to Joseph Tuka’s forces in the Blue Nile State, including weapons, ammunition and combat equipment,” said SUNA.
The military support arrived in the Yabous area in southern Blue Nile state near the border with South Sudan on February 27, 2021, and was received by Commander Joseph Tuka and some of his commanders, further said the agency.
Tuka was appointed as the deputy leader of the SPLM-N al-Hilu on 8 August 2017, after the split of the SPLM-N into two factions one led by Abdel Aziz al-Hilu and the other by Malik Agar.
The SPLM-N al-Hilu recently renewed a unilateral cessation of hostilities in the rebel-controlled areas.
However, the official news agency said the purpose of the military support is to “use Tuka to occupy Kurmuk”, a border town in the Blue Nile State, “with the support of Ethiopian artillery to disperse the efforts of the Sudanese army on the eastern front”.
Several regional and international envoys were recently in the region to avert an armed conflict between the two countries that would be disastrous for the Horn of Africa region.
The SPLM-N al-Hilu which is part of a stalled peace process brokered by the South Sudanese government did not yet react to this accusation.
During the first days of the war in the Tigray Region in northern Ethiopia, Sudan arrested TPLF fighters and handed over some of them to the Ethiopian army.
If this accusation is verified that may give an indication about possible future Sudan’s support to the TPLF rebels who continue to fight the Ethiopian army in the parts of the border region.
This new escalation would also complicate further the difficult talks on the giant Ethiopian dam near the Sudanese border, which threatens Sudan-Egypt’s interests.