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Sudan closes Gallabat border crossing after Ethiopian militiamen’s attack

Gallabat - Metema border crossing (photo whirled-away)April 3, 2021 (GEDAREF) - Sudan closed a main border crossing with neighbouring Ethiopia on Saturday after an attack on the Sudanese customs officers by Ethiopian militiamen.

The strategic Gallabat-Metema crossing is used by traders and workers between the two countries but also serves as a transition point for Ethiopian goods imported or exported through Port Sudan on the Red Sea.

The closure was decided after an attack by the militiamen against the Sudanese customs officers in presence of the Ethiopian forces on Thursday.

Sudanese official told the Sudan Tribune that a meeting was held on Saturday between Sudanese and Ethiopian local security committees to discuss the situation.

The Ethiopian officials called to reopen the crossing and to discuss a solution for the security issue, pointing to the importance of the road for the landlocked country.

In turn, the Sudanese officials requested to arrest the militiamen who aggressed the customs officers and to try them in court.

Further, they said the attack on the two Sudanese officers was clearly planned as it took place in the presence of the Ethiopian officials.

Relations are strained between the two countries following the redeployment of the Sudanese forces in Al-Fashaga, a Sudanese border area Ethiopian farmers and their militias exploited during the past 20 years under the former regime.

The Ethiopian army-backed militiamen have continued border attacks on the Sudanese border despite statements by the Ethiopian officials about a negotiated solution and the presence of Ethiopian troops.

Notwithstanding the deteriorating relations, some 5000 Ethiopian workers cross the border to work in Sudan’s Gadaref state on daily basis.

(ST)