The Ethiopian government supplied weapons and ammunition to forces of Commander Joseph Tuka in Sudan’s Blue Nile state to help them “occupy” the Sudanese Kurmuk town, Sudan’s official news agency SUNA reported on Sunday.
The Ethiopian logistics support was received by Commander Joseph Tuka, deputy head of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM–N) militant organisation, and leaders in his forces in Yabus town on 27 February, SUNA said.
Yabus lies near Sudan’s borders with Ethiopia and South Sudan.
“The Ethiopian government aims to use Commander Joseph Tuka to occupy the city of Kurmuk with the support of Ethiopian artillery,” SUNA said.
The agency added that the Ethiopian step “aims to disperse the efforts of the Sudanese army on the eastern front,” where tensions and clashes mounted between Ethiopia and Sudan over Addis Ababa’s claims of ownership on the fertile Al-Fashqa region.
Meanwhile, Saudi Asharq News cited an unnamed official in the SPLM-N denying that the movement has received assistance from Ethiopia.
The source added, according to the private news website, that the SPLM-N is committed to the ceasefire resolution announced by its leader, Abdel-Aziz Al-Hilu.
In August 2020, Sudan’s transitional government signed a historic peace agreement with the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF), a coalition of rebel groups from Darfur, the Blue Nile, and Southern Kordofan that included the SPLM-N. However, Al-Hilu was absent.
The agreement ended 17 years of war.
Tensions are also increasing between the two countries over Addis Ababa’s intrasigence in the negotiations over the disputed Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), which threatens Sudan’s Roseires Dam.