Tensions have been simmering between the two countries for decades over the disputed Al-Fashqa region, which falls on the Sudanese side of their disputed border. On Wednesday, the situation escalated further after Sudanese accused Ethiopian military planes of violating Sudan’s airspace.
On a visit on Wednesday to the eastern state of Gedaref, where Al-Fashqa is located, the President of the Transitional Sovereign Council (TSC) and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Sudan, Lieutenant General Abdul-Fattah Al-Burhan turned to soldiers stationed at the border.
“We are all steadfast with you here until our right is proved by force, by good faith or by any other method. This is our country and we have the legitimate right to defend and protect it by all available means,”
A video posted to TSC’s Facebook page of Burhan’s remarks showed him telling them that Sudan would not return from military confrontation.
“How long must we be patient? Everything has a limit, and this situation has exceeded its limits. This is our country, and we are all willing to die here for this country until the last man stands.”
“How long will Ethiopia continue to solve the problem using diplomacy? Well, there is nothing that has no border. Everything has a border,” Mufti said.
The Ethiopian government has not responded to CNN’s request for comment. An Ethiopian military spokesman told the AFP news agency he had no “tangible information” about Sudan’s charges and the situation at the border was “normal” on Wednesday.
More than 80 civilians were killed in an attack along the border on Tuesday, a spokesman for the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) told CNN.
“The information we received shows that over 80 civilians were massacred in the Benishangul-Gumuz Metekel zone in an attack early in the morning,” said Aaron Maasho.
The EHRC, which describes itself as an “independent national” institution, is still gathering details and did not say who may have committed the attack.
“These types of unfortunate incidents have been going on for far too long. There is no option but for federal and regional authorities to increase security presence in the area and strengthen coordination among themselves – a call made by the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission over and over again,” Maasho added.
The Ethiopian government has been conducting a military campaign in its Tigray region bordering Sudan since November. Civil society groups in Sudan told CNN that they feared the escalating tension between the two countries would only serve to further break the region.