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Sudanese farmers angry at Ethiopian land grab

May 26, 2017 at 2:25 pm

Image of Ethiopian farmland on 16 March 2015 []

Ethiopians are still controlling more than 500,000 acres of land on the Sudanese side of the border in the area of El Gedaref, according to Sudanese farmers angry that an agreement to return the agricultural land has not been honoured.

The allegations have been made in a statement issued by farmers from the El Fashaga area in Eastern Sudan who claimed that Ethiopians have not returned sections of agricultural land upon which five residential villages have been partly-constructed.

Attempts to resolve the issues have been ongoing since 2013 when a joint Sudanese-Ethiopian Committee agreed to end disputes between farmers from the two sides of the border over the ownership of agricultural land.

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In a statement last week, the Governor of El Gedaref state, Mirghani Saleh claimed a small area at El Gedeima, not exceeding 15,000 acres, had been returned from Ethiopian farmers.

However, Sudanese farmers and the area’s local Member of Parliament, speaking to media outlets, contradicted the state governor’s claim. They are calling on the Sudanese government to resort to international arbitration and demarcation of the border and demanding compensation to be paid to the affected farmers.

El Fashaga land is owned by Sudan but the Sudanese government allowed Ethiopian farmers to cultivate it as part of a cooperation agreement. Violent disputes between the two sides resulted in the establishment of a technical committee which was tasked with redrawing the border.

However, despite the agreement made in 2013, rivalry over agricultural land and clashes at the border has continued with reports of Ethiopian gangs attacking Sudanese farmers and extorting them.