Sudan’s eastern al-Qadarif state closed its border on November 6 with Ethiopia amid military operation in the Tigray region, citing “security tensions.”
Ethiopia’s federal government has announced a six-month state of emergency in Tigray, which gives it broad security powers. Internet and communications lines have been blacked out in the region, according to local reporters.
Clashes are ongoing between the Ethiopian army and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the region’s ruling party.
Sudan’s army has deployed reinforcements at the border to bloc any potential infiltration of Tigray fighters into the other regions.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has ordered the army to the attack in a retaliation, while Addis Ababa has accused the TPLF of attacking a military camp in the region. Abiy has underlined that the federal military operations in the north have “clear, limited and achievable objectives”, while the United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres said he was “deeply alarmed”.
“The stability of Ethiopia is important for the entire Horn of Africa region. I call for an immediate de-escalation of tensions and a peaceful resolution to the dispute,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a message on Twitter on November 6.
The International Crisis Group estimates the TPLF’s paramilitary force and local militia have some 250,000 troops.
Howevere the TPLF felt increasingly marginalised and withdrew last year from the governing coalition.
In September,refusing to postpone elections due to COVID-19 pandemic, the Tigray region voted in a local election that Ethiopia’s federal government called illegal. The federal government later moved to divert funding from the TPLF executive to local governments, angering the regional leadership.