Both countries have repeatedly stated that they are not interested in going to war, and that Ethiopia wants to resolve the border issue through dialogue, but calls for a return to normalcy. Sudan has repeatedly stated that it will not withdraw its troops.
Senior Sudanese officials say their forces have taken control of several areas held by Ethiopian farmers along the border. As a result, large numbers of people were displaced and large amounts of property were destroyed.
The Sudanese Foreign Ministry said on Sunday that the Ethiopian army had crossed the border into Sudan, amid repeated allegations that Sudanese forces had invaded across the border.
According to some sources, tensions between the two sides have escalated in recent months, and it is feared that tensions will escalate into a full-blown conflict if the two countries do not resolve their differences through dialogue.
Meanwhile, over the past few weeks, the BBC has been talking to people living near the border to find out about the current situation in the disputed border area.
Getu Msoat, a resident of the western town of Armacho, told the BBC that the Ethiopian Defense Forces (EDF) had been deployed in the area following the Sudanese army’s raid on areas along the Ethiopian border.
Getu said the Ethiopian army was also stationed near the border, but that there was no fighting between the two sides.
“There is no fighting, there is no military activity. There is no shooting. There is no threat. The special forces and the defense are all in a cohesive environment,” he said.
According to Getu, the situation is calm following the incursion of the Sudanese army.
“[Sudanese forces] have taken what they took. But now it is safe. They say they have not crossed the Guang River. There is a vast desert called Abbott. It was a farm. They are on the farm,” he said.
Belete Damte, a resident of Shinfa Kebele in Metema Woreda, eight kilometers from the border between Ethiopia and Sudan, said; They say the Sudanese army is close to the border, although there are no major clashes in the area.
“Sudan and our region have not been separated from the border before, and on that basis, Sudan has deployed troops in areas bordering Ethiopia,” he said.
He said the army occasionally enters the area. He also said that they will conduct activities in the area to attract investors and explore the area.
“There are occasional clashes with Metema No. 4 Delelo area and West Armacho area. At the bottom, there are clashes with farmers once again in the area known as Nefs Gebeya area of Quara area,” Belete said.
He told the BBC that there was no Ethiopian Defense Forces activity in the area, but that “it was a local farmer who was guarding the gate; he was moving in key areas and the farmer was guarding his territory.”
Point out that there are occasional conflicts, “The Sudanese army has repeatedly infiltrated areas of Quara Nefs Market No. 4 and No. 2 and confiscated and burned the property of agricultural investors,” he said.
Ethiopia’s ambassador to Sudan, Yibeltal Aimro, told Ethiopian Television a few weeks ago that “Sudanese forces have violated the border and damaged property and lives.”
Residents near the border have told the BBC on several occasions that large quantities of agricultural produce and agricultural equipment have been destroyed. “The invasion of Sudan has caused an estimated one billion birr in damage,” he said.
He said he had heard that the Sudanese army was clearing roads and building infrastructure in addition to forcing settlements in areas under its control. He also said that he had heard that the Ethiopian Defense Forces were present at various locations along the border.
Despite repeated attempts to resolve the border dispute peacefully, no such move has been made public.
The ambassador accused Sudan of “violating the border agreement reached between the two countries in 1972”.
“If this does not happen, Ethiopia will exercise its legal right to self-defense,” he told national television.
In connection with this, senior Sudanese officials have stated on several occasions that the military action is aimed at restoring control of the country and that the areas under their control will not be subject to negotiations.
Lt. Gen. Abdul Fattah al-Burhan, president of Sudan’s so-called Transitional Council, told senior military officials last week that his country did not want to go to war with Ethiopia but would not give up land.
Lieutenant General al-Burhan also said he wanted the Sudanese army to reach an agreement on its territorial claims in a way that would respect its legal rights.
Ethiopia and Sudan share a 750-kilometer border and have been at loggerheads for years.
Conflicts have been reported at various times, especially in the fertile al-Fashka area.
Tensions at the border have been escalating for months, with civilians and soldiers injured and thousands displaced.
Talks between the two countries’ prime ministers and other high-ranking officials have eased tensions, but so far no solution has been found.