AU, IGAD call for restraint in Ethiopia, Sudan military tensions

An outside view of the African Union's building during the 11th extraordinary Summit of the African Union to deliberate on the continent's reform agenda in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on November 17, 2018. (Photo by Minasse Wondimu Hailu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

The African Union (AU) and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) have appealed for restraint amid escalating military tension between Ethiopia and Sudan.

Tensions between the two nations flared up on Sunday after Sudan accused Ethiopia’s army of capturing and executing seven Sudanese soldiers and a civilian along the border. Ethiopia denied the accusations blaming the incident on a local militia.

Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat. /Getty Images

Ethiopia and Sudan have longstanding competing claims over the Al-Fashaqa border region, an area of fertile land settled by Ethiopian farmers that Sudan claims is within its boundary.

In separate statements, the AU and IGAD also urged both nations to avoid any further military action and actively seek diplomatic means to find a lasting and sustainable solution to the issue.

“The Chairperson expresses the conviction that the long-standing brotherly relations between Ethiopia and Sudan, and their enviable status as founding Member States of the OAU/AU, will mutually inspire both parties to immediately end all hostilities in the prevailing interest of regional stability and collective security,” AU Commission chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat said.

Mahamat added that the ongoing border skirmishes should not scuttle the diplomatic solutions being sought to resolve ongoing internal challenges in both countries.

On Monday, Sudan decided to file a formal complaint to the United Nations Security Council against Ethiopia, while the Sudanese foreign ministry decided to immediately recall its ambassador to Ethiopia for consultations and to summon the Ethiopian ambassador in Khartoum to inform him of Sudan’s condemnation.

(Story compiled with assistance from wire reports)