Border Demarcation with Sudan Causes Anger in Ethiopia – By Alisha Ryu, VOA, Nairobi

June 6th, 2008 Print Print Email Email

Residents and community leaders in western Ethiopia say thousands of people in several border regions have been displaced by Sudanese troops in recent weeks, following what they describe as a secret, illegal deal between the governments in Addis Ababa and Khartoum. Critics say the secret deal to demarcate the border gives Sudan the right to occupy areas Ethiopians historically consider sacrosanct. VOA Correspondent Alisha Ryu has details from our East Africa Bureau in Nairobi. (more…)

Residents and community leaders in western Ethiopia say thousands of people in several border regions have been displaced by Sudanese troops in recent weeks, following what they describe as a secret, illegal deal between the governments in Addis Ababa and Khartoum. Critics say the secret deal to demarcate the border gives Sudan the right to occupy areas Ethiopians historically consider sacrosanct. VOA Correspondent Alisha Ryu has details from our East Africa Bureau in Nairobi.

Ryu report – Listen (MP3) audio clip

A former regional official in the southwestern Gambella region, Omod Oman Obono, tells VOA that as many as 2,000 people have been displaced there in recent weeks in on-going clashes between residents and Sudanese soldiers.

Omod says troops from Sudan have built military camps in Gambella and in other areas north to protect territory handed over to Khartoum by the Ethiopian government sometime last year. He says Sudanese soldiers in Gambella are chasing away local people and inviting people on the Sudanese side of the border to settle in Ethiopian villages.

Last month in the Gondar region of western Ethiopia, the Sudanese army reportedly set fire to two dozen Ethiopian farms and imprisoned 34 people. Residents say 28 are still being held in Sudan.

The deal to demarcate the 1,600-kilometer-long border was not announced. But rumors that a deal had been struck began to spread early last month after high-level officials in Khartoum confirmed that farmers in eastern Sudan were reclaiming disputed lands from Ethiopia. On May 21, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi publicly denied that any Ethiopian had been displaced as a result of what he termed the acquisition of a portion of Ethiopian land by Sudan.

The news of a boundary settlement shocked many Ethiopians, who consider the ceded Ethiopian land to be historically and culturally theirs. The existing border between the two countries was drawn up more than a century ago when Sudan was under British colonial rule.

A U.S.-based advocacy group called the Ethiopia and Sudan Border Issue Committee accuses Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of illegally ceding territory without the consent of the Ethiopian people.

Ethiopia and Sudan Border Issue Committee chairman Fiseha Abebe tells VOA that his group will try to nullify the boundary settlement through the courts. He warns that Ethiopians will never accept what Mr. Meles has done.

“He did not even mention what he was doing until we exposed him,” said
Abebe. “In some places, they have given up about 50 miles inside Ethiopia and in other places, about 30 miles. There is going to be a big backlash. This is going to be impossible for any Ethiopian to accept this type of situation.”

The Ethiopian government has not said why it decided to demarcate the border with Sudan at this time.

Both governments in Ethiopia and Sudan are embroiled in complicated domestic and regional conflicts, stretching from Sudan’s western Darfur region to Somalia.

  1. | #1

    semonun betyopyanoce bekul bexam anegagre yehone negre guday benore yegza mertacen teqorso lesudan mesexetu new.ena gen bezum alsecenqeyem meknyatum megemrya weyanan kegse medre kaxefan behala sudanen kedbracen lay derswan maxefat ayqetnem.ahun yesudanen guday teten megmrya yehnen wesa gagracen enxefa.

  2. | #2

    Very,very bad dealing,this is what Melese Zenawi doing.So everybody has fight with Melese Zenawi.I changed my mind that I was trying to struggle in peacefullway.At this time there is no peace.Melesee has to go,we need our land…Our struggle must be in different ways,this is crimenal Melese and his cadres has to sue in world court,they are the enmey of Ethiopians,they Melse Zenawi and his comrades aree not Ethiopians,that is why they sold Ethiopianland..

  3. Temelkach
    | #3

    meles and all tplf thugs will pay the price.

    Abugida, please please REMOVE tplf flag from Abugida header. tplf ad for old classmate doesn’t deserve to have a space on OUR RESPECTED WEBsite

  4. gubena
    | #4

    this is not emotional writing. unknown enemy is piloting to sell Ethiopia, if we did not stop it from now on.TPLF did not come to improve the life of Ethiopian. it came with agenda to break apart.first crime separate the province of Eritrea on it is own application in the name of colonial advocation. second crime with out people choice giving the west Ethiopian land to foreigner, third pro communism style governing and killing all opposition supporter and make every one live in fear. they may joke now until it end their time.I am sure they will be drag to court like past government.particularly the army leaders because. they are watching all this things happen there is no any action taken on the corrupted officials.they work to their soul country or for individual person. the individuals are not spent single penny to support the low enforcements. you are paid by the tax payer people to protect the country . you forget your to bleed for your country.if you are loyal to woyane only. we have seen your video in Somalia war, the milshans are dragging you on the floor. because are week fighters. doing the some thing over and over with out finding the cause of the war. you have to fight for Ethiopian people not for woyane boss.you have to guard your country not individuals. you are responsible for this matter.

  5. Aselefu
    | #5

    Border demarcation has become the hottest issue these days. What do we know about the situation on the ground? Who said what? Is it responsible to quote annonymous Sudaneese officials as credible sources? Who would benefit from spreading disinformation? how come there is not a single picture that has emerged out of this vast region? Are there any regional leaders who would benefit from an annymosity between Sudan and Ethiopia? If there are concerned citizens of Ethiopia opposing the current regime, why not oppose based on the tangible evidence instead of resorting to spreading rumors and hate-mongering.

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