July 7, 2008 (KHARTOUM) – A row has erupted between the Khartoum and Addis Ababa following the defection of an Ethiopian official to Sudan.
The governor of Asosa town in Western Ethiopia Ahmed Khalifa fled to the capital city of Damazin in the Blue Nile state for unknown reasons, according to the daily Al-Hayat published in London.
The newspaper said that Khalifa was accused by the Ethiopian authorities of offering concessions to Sudan on border issues. Sudan has turned down a request by its Eastern neighbor to hand over Khalifa.
The report quoting unidentified Sudanese officials said that Ethiopian forces have been chasing Bani Shangol armed opposition members inside Sudan near the towns of Kurmuk and Gaissan.
But Atem Garang, a senior southern official and deputy national parliament speaker said that Bani Shangol opposition movements are supported by Eritrea and denied any involvement by the Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS).
Some observers speaking to Al-Hayat expressed fears that Addis Ababa could retaliate to what it perceives as support to its dissident by arming Darfur rebels.
The Sudanese army today issued a statement accusing Ethiopian forces of attacking Hantoub Mountains and killing one policeman.
The Sudanese army spokesperson Osman Al-Agbash said the attack "represents another cycle of international conspiracy on our natural resources and economic gains".
Al-Agbash said Ethiopia violated an agreement that allows Sudanese troops to be stationed in the area. He further said a joint committee with Ethiopia will commence to discuss the incident.
The semi-autonomous South Sudan has long borderline with Ethiopia and the two sides have signed several agreements last month to promote transport, education and economic development in the border areas.