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Sudan reopens border with Eritrea

January 31, 2019 at 10:19 am

Illegal migrants from Eritrea arrive at the al-Laffa border crossing in Sudan’s eastern Kassala state on the Eritrea-Sudan border prior to being deported from Sudan back to their homeland on 2 May 2017. [ASHRAF SHAZLY/AFP/Getty Images]

Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir said today that his country was reopening its border with Eritrea, which has been shut for about a year.

Sudan closed the border in early January 2018, after Al-Bashir announced a six-month state of emergency in the regions of Kassala and North Kurdufan to help combat the trafficking of weapons and foodstuffs.

“I announce here, from Kassala, that we are opening the border with Eritrea because they are our brothers and our people. Politics will not divide us,” Al-Bashir said in televised remarks before scores of supporters in the town of Kassala, which is near the border in eastern Sudan.

READ: Ethiopia, Eritrea end 20-year war 

As Al-Bashir was speaking, the Sudanese Professionals’ Association, a union that has led calls for demonstrations against his rule, called for fresh protests across several Sudanese cities this afternoon.

Sudan has been rocked by near-daily anti-government protests since 19 December, in which rights groups say at least 45 people have been killed. The government puts the death toll at 30.

Al-Bashir struck a defiant tone in Kassala about the protests.

“Changing the government and changing the president will not be through WhatsApp nor Facebook, but will be through the ballot box,” he said. “This is our pledge and commitment before the Sudanese people…The decision is your right, the masses of the Sudanese people.”