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Ethiopia Denies Sudan Soldier Executions, Khartoum Insistent

FILE - Sudan's Sovereign Council Chief General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan addresses delegates after signing a declaration of principles between Sudanese transitional government and the SPLM in Juba, South Sudan, March 28, 2021.

The Ethiopian government said it "regrets the loss of life” after Sudan accused it of executing seven Sudanese soldiers and one civilian in a border dispute but blamed the violence on a local militia. The incident is the latest sign of deteriorating relations between the two countries.

A statement by Sudan’s foreign ministry accused Ethiopia’s army of capturing the eight inside Sudan on June 22. The Ethiopian government said it would investigate the matter soon in a statement released Monday night.

Ethiopia referred to the killings as “a skirmish between the Sudanese army and a local militia" and said the incident was "deliberately concocted to undermine the deep-rooted relations between the people of Ethiopia and Sudan.”

Sudanese military leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan visited the contested al-Fashaga area on Monday and vowed to reclaim any land occupied by Ethiopian forces.

The killings violated “all laws and customs of war and international law,” said a statement released by the Sudan government. The foreign ministry said it will file an official complaint with the United Nations Security Council.

Sudanese political parties and civil society organizations condemned the killings and have called for justice.

Ethiopia says it has been misrepresented, stating that Sudanese forces "unjustly put the blame on Ethiopia" while Sudan's army "crossed into Ethiopian border provoking the incident.”

Following the incident, Sudan recalled its ambassador to Addis Ababa for consultations.

The two neighbors have engaged in border disputes for two years over agricultural land along the Sudan-Ethiopia border in the al-Fashaga area.

Sudan argues the land is rightfully theirs, according to a border agreement with Ethiopia in the early 1900s.

Some of the information in this report came from The Associated Press.