By Dawit Endeshaw
ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Sudan’s armed forces fired heavy artillery during clashes in a disputed eastern region bordering Ethiopia, an Ethiopian official said, the latest salvo in a long-running feud over their shared border.
On Tuesday Sudan was able to capture Jabal Kala al-Laban, an area near the contested border, following an artillery barrage and an air strike, according to a Sudanese military source who requested anonymity as they were not authorized to talk to the press.
On Monday, Ethiopia denied Sudan’s accusation that its army had captured and executed seven Sudanese soldiers and a civilian, instead blaming the killings on a local militia.
Sudanese government sources said Sudan had filed a formal complaint with the United Nations Security Council over the killings.
Sudan’s army fired long-distance artillery from Monday morning until Tuesday afternoon, but nobody was injured, said Assefa Ashege, a senior security official in Ethiopia’s Amhara region.
Two local residents said the Sudanese army had gained control of Jabal Kala al-Laban and had destroyed a military base there. It was unclear if the base belonged to the Ethiopian army or an allied militia.
A Sudanese military spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment. Ethiopia’s government spokesperson Legesse Tulu did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Ethiopian military officials referred Reuters to a statement issued on Monday that described a previous border clash, but did not comment on the reported shelling.
In a statement Sudan’s military disputed what it said were reports of movements and the taking of prisoners.
The quarrel over al-Fashqa, which lies within Sudan’s international boundaries but has been settled by Ethiopian farmers for decades, has escalated in recent years alongside a diplomatic spat over Ethiopia’s construction of a hydropower dam.
(Reporting by Dawit Endeshaw and Khartoum bureau; Writing by Hereward Holland; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)