Tue 8 Jul 2008, 8:18 GMT (Reuters) – Sudan’s army accused Ethiopian troops on Tuesday of attacking a military camp in northern Sudan and killing about 19 people. Ethiopian officials were not immediately able to comment on the attack which Sudan’s army spokesman said happened early on Monday in the Jabel Hantub area of Sennar state. more…
“They hit a camp belonging to the central reserve police and they killed about 19 people,” the army spokesman said. He did not know how many people were injured.
The central reserve police are a heavily armed military unit and are often deployed along border areas or to defend the capital Khartoum.
“This was an attack and we don’t know the reason — we have no problem with Ethiopia and there are no border disputes or tribal clashes in that area,” the army spokesman said.
Sudan signed a north-south peace deal in 2005 which ended Africa’s longest civil war and also improved relations with its east African neighbours.
One Sudanese security source and another government official said the attack may have been because Sudan had given refuge a few weeks earlier to local Ethiopian officials and refused to hand them over to Addis Ababa.
It was not clear why they had sought refuge in Sudan. Ethiopia is fighting rebels from the Oromo region which borders Sudan and who want greater autonomy for their areas.
The Sudan army spokesman said a joint Ethiopian-Sudanese committee had been formed to investigate the attack.
But Atem Garang, a senior southern official and deputy national parliament speaker said that Bani Shangol opposition movements are supported by Eritrea and denied any involvement by the Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS).
Some observers speaking to Al-Hayat expressed fears that Addis Ababa could retaliate to what it perceives as support to its dissident by arming Darfur rebels.
The Sudanese army today issued a statement accusing Ethiopian forces of attacking Hantoub Mountains and killing one policeman.
The Sudanese army spokesperson Osman Al-Agbash said the attack “represents another cycle of international conspiracy on our natural resources and economic gains”.
Al-Agbash said Ethiopia violated an agreement that allows Sudanese troops to be stationed in the area. He further said a joint committee with Ethiopia will commence to discuss the incident.
The semi-autonomous South Sudan has long borderline with Ethiopia and the two sides have signed several agreements last month to promote transport, education and economic development in the border areas.