April 9, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – A convoy carrying the governor of Sudan’s eastern state of Al-Qadarif across the shared borders with Ethiopia on Sunday was attacked by suspected members of the Ethiopian gang known as Shifta, Sudan Tribune has learned.
The attack took place as the convoy of the governor, Karam Allah Abbas, was crossing Um Dabalo area in Abu Sanda Sudanese locality bordering Ethiopia. Abbas was on his way to the neighboring Amhara Region of Ethiopia for a meeting with its governor when he stopped in Um Dabalo after spotting an Ethiopian farmer working in the area.
The governor started an argument with the Ethiopian farmer and told him that the land belongs to Sudan, at which point a group of armed Ethiopian men arrived at the scene and opened fire on the governor’s convoy.
Although no one was harmed in the fire, Abbas immediately cancelled his trip to the Amhara region and called in security reinforcements to escort his convoy back to Al-Qadarif.
Sources told Sudan Tribune that the incident had infuriated the governor who later threatened to sever his state’s ties with Ethiopia without referring to the central government in Khartoum.
The sources added that the governor had also threatened to lead a military campaign against the Shifta gangs and arm Sudanese tribes to fight them.
Sudan and Ethiopia agreed to demarcate their border, signed a number security agreements and also implementing a number of joint development projects for the population on the border zones.
However, Ethiopian opoosition groups criticized the demarcation saying that Prime Minister Zenawi conceded Ethiopian territory to the Sudan to compensate Khartoum for arresting rebels and banning their activities in the neighbouring country.
The governor of the Amhara Region Ato Ayalew Gobeze officially apologized to Abbas for the attack by the Shifta and promised to cooperate with Sudanese authorities in hunting down the perpetrators.
Meanwhile, local security authorities in Al-Qadarif announced on Monday that 12 suspects had been arrested in relation with the attack.
Al-Qadarif state government also announced that it intends to lodge an official complaint to the Ethiopian government against the attack.