News Alerts

06 Nov 2020 | 11:55 AM UTC

Sudan: Kassala State governor closes border with Ethiopia amid continuing clashes in Tigray Region November 6

Sudan News Alert

Kassala State governor closes border with Ethiopia amid continuing clashes in neighboring Tigray Region November 6; monitor developments

TIMEFRAME expected from 11/5/2020, 11:00 PM until 11/9/2020, 10:59 PM (Africa/Khartoum). COUNTRY/REGION Sudan

Event

The governor of Kassala State announced on Friday, November 6, that he had ordered the closure of the border with Ethiopia following clashes between the federal military and local security forces in the neighboring Tigray Region. Governor Fateh al-Rahman al-Amin stated that the border would remain closed until further notice to prevent armed groups crossing into Sudan from Ethiopia. However, arrangements are expected to be announced in the coming days for civilians attempting to flee the fighting in the Tigray Region.

Increased security measures and patrols are likely along the borders with Ethiopia and Eritrea in the medium term, with associated disruptions likely in border areas.

Context

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced that he had ordered a military offensive in the country's northern Tigray Region on Wednesday, November 4, after accusing security forces aligned with the regional Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) of attacking Ethiopian National Defense Forces' (ENDF) positions in the state. The operation prompted several days of clashes between federal and local security forces in several areas of the region, including the Dansheha, Humera, and Kekar close to the borders with Sudan and Eritrea. On Friday, much of the fighting was reported to be concentrated around Abdurafi, less than 5km (3 miles) from the Sudanese border.

The operation follows two years of escalating tensions between the TPLF and the federal government in Addis Ababa, which they had previously dominated before the appointment of Abiy as prime minister in 2018, amid claims that the region was being marginalized by his sweeping reforms program. However, tensions reached a high point in September when the TPLF staged their own regional elections in the Tigray region in defiance of a decision by the government to suspend national polls due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. The federal government subsequently declared the vote illegal and the upper house of Ethiopia's parliament voted to withhold budgetary subsidies to Tigray in early October. Amid the rising tensions, regional authorities also issued a statement on Tuesday, November 3, accusing Addis Ababa of planning a war in the Tigray region.

Advice

Those in Kassala State are advised to monitor developments in Ethiopia, avoid non-essential travel in the vicinity of the border, and heed any directives issued by local authorities.

 

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