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Secret land deal with Sudan causes anger in Ethiopia

Residents and community leaders in western Ethiopia say thousands of people in several border regions have been displaced by Sudanese troops in recent weeks, following what they describe as a secret, illegal deal between the governments in Addis Ababa and Khartoum. Critics say the secret deal to demarcate the border gives Sudan the right to occupy areas Ethiopians historically consider sacrosanct. VOA Correspondent Alisha Ryu has details from our East Africa Bureau in Nairobi.

A former regional official in the southwestern Gambella region, Omod Oman Obono, tells VOA that as many as 2,000 people have been displaced there in recent weeks in on-going clashes between residents and Sudanese soldiers.

Omod says troops from Sudan have built military camps in Gambella and in other areas north to protect territory handed over to Khartoum by the Ethiopian government sometime last year. He says Sudanese soldiers in Gambella are chasing away local people and inviting people on the Sudanese side of the border to settle in Ethiopian villages.

Last month in the Gondar region of western Ethiopia, the Sudanese army reportedly set fire to two dozen Ethiopian farms and imprisoned 34 people. Residents say 28 are still being held in Sudan.

The deal to demarcate the 1,600-kilometer-long border was not announced. But rumors that a deal had been struck began to spread early last month after high-level officials in Khartoum confirmed that farmers in eastern Sudan were reclaiming disputed lands from Ethiopia. On May 21, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi publicly denied that any Ethiopian had been displaced as a result of what he termed the acquisition of a portion of Ethiopian land by Sudan.

The news of a boundary settlement shocked many Ethiopians, who consider the ceded Ethiopian land to be historically and culturally theirs. The existing border between the two countries was drawn up more than a century ago when Sudan was under British colonial rule.

A U.S.-based advocacy group called the Ethiopia and Sudan Border Issue Committee accuses Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of illegally ceding territory without the consent of the Ethiopian people.

Ethiopia and Sudan Border Issue Committee chairman Fiseha Abebe tells VOA that his group will try to nullify the boundary settlement through the courts. He warns that Ethiopians will never accept what Mr. Meles has done.

“He did not even mention what he was doing until we exposed him,” said
Abebe. “In some places, they have given up about 50 miles inside Ethiopia and in other places, about 30 miles. There is going to be a big backlash. This is going to be impossible for any Ethiopian to accept this type of situation.”

The Ethiopian government has not said why it decided to demarcate the border with Sudan at this time.

Both governments in Ethiopia and Sudan are embroiled in complicated domestic and regional conflicts, stretching from Sudan’s western Darfur region to Somalia.

By Alisha Ryu, VOA
Listen the report here

13 thoughts on “Secret land deal with Sudan causes anger in Ethiopia

  1. Melese men yadreg ande bemenilik yashofal ande bandera cherkenew yelal ande endcherk bemeter meret yeshetal yekerew endebariya ye ethiopian hizeb meshet new gen men yadreg ena kaltenesan beselamawi menged bech eyale yechawetebenal bel yager hizb zim belen analazn enenesa ena woyanen beulbet wedeziya enebelew tenes

  2. So, why did Meles have more than 100,000 killed in the war with Eritrea over Badme and other disputed lands? Here you give land to the Sudan and there you fight over a piece of land. What is going on?

  3. Ere, I can’t believe this. How come we the Diaspora and even in Ethiopia are just sitting and watching while this is going on? Espeically people in the Diaspora, we have the power to get this guy out of power, we are not even going out and doing mass protest, telling our representative. What is going on with us?

  4. Woyane could haven’t given this land to sudanes, if it had been in Tigray region. They have resisted to hand over Bademe to Erteria, although the international court descided in favour of Erteria. They show disrespect to the international justice only for the sake of not to loss the Tigreans support. The only people they respect and fear is the tigrean since it is the only region that voted for them in 2005 election. This is the real time the Ethiopian people to unit and destroy this mercenery group.
    Get up stand up … Don’t give up your right!!!!

  5. ጎበዝ ምንድነው ጉዳዩ ምናልባት ጠብ ለመጫር ነው ከሱዳን; ከኤርትራ ጋር ከሶማሊያ ብሎም ምናልባት ወደፊት ከጂቡቲ ጋር:: ለምን ወደፊት ለኢትዮጵያ ሰላም እንዳይሆን ነው:: እነመለስ ከሄዱ በሁዓላ? ለምን? ኢትዮጵያ አቅም እንድታጥኣ ነው? ለምን አስፈልገ ለወደፊቱ ለኤርትራ ሰላም ይሆን? ወይስ ለምን?

  6. የመለስ አገዛዝ የትግራይ ህዝብ የማይጠቅመውን መንጋድ ሊያስጉዘው የተነሳ መልካም ያልሖነ አመራር የያዘ ይመስላል እና የትግራይ ህዝብን ከኢትዮጵያ ህዝብ ጋር ሊያቃርን የተነሳ መንግስት ለትግራይ አይጠቅማትም:: ምክንያቱም ትግራይ ብቻዋን መኖር አትችልም አንዲሁም ኦሮምያ:: ማንም ደልቶት እየኖረ ትግራይም ይሁን ኦሮምያ ወይም አማራ: ወይም የደቡብ ህዝብ ሌላው የማይበላው ከሌለ ዝም እንደማይል ከወደፊቱ መገንዘቡ ለኛ ይጠቅማል ስለዚህ ይህንን ሃሳብ የሚያራምዱ በኢትዮጵያ ዉስጥ ለወገናቸው የተቆረቆሩ ሳይሆኑ ለስልጣን ለገንዘብ እንዲሁም ከእውቀት ማነስ ወደፊት የሚመጣወን ትኩር ብሎ ባለማየት ወገናቸውን በጣም ሊጎዱ ስለሚችሉ ማንኛውም የኢትዮጵያ ጎሳ የሆነ ይህንን አይቶ እነዚህን መሪዎች የሚያራምዱት ፖለቲካ ለነርሱ የማይጠቅሙ እንደሆነ በሚገባ መረዳት ያስፈልገው ይመስለኛል:: ባጭሩ የሱዳን ኢትዮጵያ ድንበር ግጭት ለመፍጠር ሆን ተብሎ በነመለስ የተጠነሰሰ ለትግራይ ወይም ለኤርትራ ወደፊት ይጠቅማል ተብሎ የተጠነሰስ ጉዳይ ሳይሆን አይቀርም:: ነገር ግን ለትግራይ ህዝቦች እንዲሁም ለኤርትራ ህዝቦች ይሄ አይነት መልካም እውቀት የጎደለው አመራር አይጠቅማቸውም:: ወደፊት ለመሪዎቹ ሳይሆን ለኛ ለህዝቡ የ እግር እሳት ስለሚሆን የነዚህን መሪዎች አራዳ መሰል መልካም ያልሆነ አሰራር በሚገባ ማውገዝ ያስፈልጋል::

  7. My fellow brothers and sisters all I can say to all of you is: NOT YET..the YugoEthiopia that was conceived in the jungle of aiga is being delivered slowly but surely. The sad part is there are still people supporting this evilish mission with in Ethiopia for such a small proportion of the cake.

  8. i think it is the dooms day for tplf and its thingg which these guys dont understand is:there is nothing for ever.time is is their tomorow is somebody’s. “lehulum gize alew”

  9. When enemies of Ethiopia went into Arab regimes and made a committement to collaborate and work as one in attacking Ethiopia and Ethiopians, the Arab world was elated.

    Historically and naturally, enemies of Ethiopia were active in disrupting the unity of Ethiopia by using internal enemies as sharp spears to attack the very fabric of the society time over time again.

    Until recently Ethiopians kept chaising the enemies out of their land and country very successfully; however, and sadly, this is no longer seeming to continue chiefly because Ethiopians are now waiting for the last breathe and the last drop of tear to say goodbye to their motherland.

    1600 square kilometer of Ethiopia has been given away to the Sudan and many more shocking plans are in the making; finally, there won’t be mother Ethiopia as a country.

    Ethiopians have been good to their country for many centuries and have been able to keep the promise and the committement to keeping thier the very beloved country intact no matter what sort of sacrifices had to be made. There is nothing more precious thing than keeping in mind hte loved country,there is no more important than keeping Ehiopia in the loving heart of Ethiopians, and there is nothing more painful than losing a part of our country.

    The tplfwoyanae robbers have stuck to their words and continued to destory Ethiopia until nothing is left for millions of Ethiopians.

    To stop these robbers from further destroying the country, every single dedicated Ethiopians must take individual and personal actions and become the role model for the rest of the millions of Ethiopians. Amen.

  10. Land Issue????
    Well – I don’t know why everybody is surprised about it. You “Ethiopians” liked to be lied and at this point you do not know which is which. Over a million of you have left the country and Weyane has gotten it all. Remember – you cannot go out and party when he falsely declared he was awarded Badme but once you find out the truth – you did not even get upset by the lie. So – you can’t pick and choose when to like your gov. and oppose it only when you don’t like the fact.
    Bottom line is, if Meles sign with Sudan – then it belongs to Sudan. It is the same thing when his organization takes a loan on behalf of you all. Ethiopians collectively become in debt. So – you either fight and get rid of his junta or just shut up and eat you burger or pasta or shuro. I am just tired of part time politician who are good for nothing.
    I you are proud Ethiopians – then show it. If you support opposition then be involved, and if you want to make a difference – be ready to die for it. Power never comes in a silver plate rather it comes in silver bullet.
    It is also psossible that the government has a reason to give back a land too Sudan. Remember – Meles may have learned a lesson from Badme. Just because the people live in the land does not give them ownership. Ownership is defined by a deed and if there is a document signed by the British colonialist and the Ethiopian emperor – then it is a closed case.
    Why do you have to agree to this argument? Well – Ethiopian borders are defined with the deal made by the Ethiopian king and British, French and Italian colonizers. So – we have to accept the fact that there may be documents signed by the previous Ethiopian Emperors and if they exist as the government said it – then they are binding.
    I am also surprised to hear that so many Ethiopians said that they were not aware of it. In fact about a year ago, the Chinese government agrees to pay the cost to demarcate the border between Ethiopia and Sudan. Is there another Sudan I don’t know? So it is not new at all.
    China wants it to be demarcated and Meles has to perform. China needs to know how far they need to dig for oil and the border has to be demarcated today not tomorrow.
    Gambela issue? Well Gambela belongs to South Sudan and it became part of Ethiopia after WWII. This was done after an agreementt was made to swap a land. Surprisingly – north Sudan was given “Kessela” from Eritrean Territory and Ethiopia was given Gambela. Just for your information – Eritrean train was built by the Italian colonizers from Massawa up to Kessela – currently part of Sudan. Your stupid King Sellasie did all this by disregarding how Eritrean people would feel and for him giving Kessela was no big deal. Did any Ethiopian oppose then – besides Eritrean. Now South Sudan is going to be independent – and it needs it original territory and we will see how Eritrea government will handle “Kessela” it in the future. If Sudan claims the land currently occupied by Ethiopian to be Sudanese land based on colonial treaty and it should not be difficult for Eritrean government to claim Kessela back and i dont think the Sudanese will have a choice but to surrender. Please my Ethiopian brothers – understand the fact the Ethiopian map you learned in high school may not be the truth image of Ethiopia – so you better be prepared to a new reality and you better have a big bottle of water to drink every time you got new news.
    Learn from Yugoslavia!!!! Adios

  11. Thankyou sym. You enlighten my understanding about the Ethio-Sudan. There is a lot of complicated problems in the country called Ethiopia. The people of Ethiopia is not wel-informed about any historical and social evolutions of the country. We just whine and whine. Let’s read between lines and when we do so, open mindedly.
    The worst yet to come. Let’s get ready!

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