General Abdel Fattah al-Burhane, the de facto ruler of Sudan since his putsch and who has been engaged in armed conflict with paramilitaries for the past five months, visited his neighbor Eritrea on Monday September 11, his office announced.
The general met Eritrean President Isaias Afwerkie to discuss “the future of bilateral relations and their strengthening”, his office added in a statement. Eritrea, which borders Sudan to the southeast, is one of the very few neighboring countries not to have taken in some of the million Sudanese refugees fleeing the war, the border having been closed by Khartoum in 2019.
In early September, however, General Burhane announced from Kassala, the state bordering Eritrea, the reopening of the border crossings, a sign of openness but also of a return to security control of a demarcation line long known for its porosity.
Recently, a Sudanese security official stated on condition of anonymity that arms and drug trafficking in Sudan took place mainly south of Toukar, a town close to Eritrea, where traffickers took advantage of “a weak security presence” along the border. Asmara, for its part, denounced “lies”.
The Eritrean president had taken part in a meeting (in Cairo in mid-July) of the Heads of State of Sudan’s neighboring countries, denouncing “a war launched for no reason at all”.
Clashes between the Army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), led by General Mohamed Hamdane Daglo, have claimed around 7,500 lives since April 15, according to a widely underestimated death toll.