Ethiopia denies Sudan’s claim, which it said was a “ dangerous escalation ” in the border dispute between the two sides.
Sudan says an Ethiopian military plane has entered its airspace in “a dangerous escalation” towards a border dispute which has seen deadly clashes in recent weeks.
“In a dangerous and unwarranted escalation, an Ethiopian military plane has crossed the Sudanese-Ethiopian borders,” the Sudanese foreign ministry said in a statement on Wednesday, adding that the decision “could have dangerous ramifications and cause further tension in the border region ”.
The ministry also warned Ethiopia against repeating “such hostilities”.
Ethiopian army spokesman General Mohamed Tessema told AFP news agency he had no “tangible information” on Sudan’s allegations and the situation at the border was “normal” ” Wednesday.
Separately, a Sudanese military helicopter, loaded with arms and ammunition, crashed on Wednesday shortly after taking off from an airport in an eastern province bordering Ethiopia, according to the official Sudan news agency. (SUNA).
“A military helicopter crashed at Wad Zayed airport in Gedarif state… when the crew attempted to land the plane shortly after takeoff,” SUNA reported.
The report said the plane caught fire after hitting the ground, adding that “all three crew members survived.”
We condemn this act of penetration by an Ethiopian military plane into the Sudanese territories which leads to increased tension in the region and has an impact on the sustainability of bilateral diplomatic relations. https://t.co/3ItFKGAs5e
– Omer G. Ismail (@omerish) January 13, 2021
Tensions are high between the two countries in the Al-Fashaqa region, where Ethiopian farmers cultivate fertile land claimed by Sudan.
The Al-Fashaqa region – which has seen sporadic clashes over the years – borders Ethiopia’s troubled Tigray region, where a deadly conflict erupted in November between federal Ethiopian and regional Tigray forces.
In December of last year, Sudan accused Ethiopian “forces and militias” ambushed his troops along the border, killing four and injuring more than 20.
Ethiopia said Sudanese military forces “staged attacks … using heavy machine guns” in December last year.
Tuesday, Addis Ababa claims Sudanese forces were pushing further into the border region and warned that if they “give priority to peace” they have “their limit”.
In response, Information Minister and Government of Sudan spokesman Faisal Mohamed Saleh said Khartoum did not want war with Ethiopia but that its forces would respond to any aggression.
Khartoum also accused Ethiopian gunmen of killing five women and a child in the region on Monday, calling it “brutal aggression”.
The two sides held border talks last month, and Sudan said its army had restored control of all border territory that had been taken over by Ethiopian farmers.
The border dispute comes at a sensitive time between the two countries, which, along with Egypt, recently found themselves at another stalemate in negotiations over the massive Grand Ethiopian Renaissance dam on the Blue Nile.