There are longstanding bonds between many Sudanese and the Tigray

A soldier walks past girls looking on in the village of Dukouli within the Quraysha locality, located in the Fashaqa al-Sughra agricultural region of Sudan’s eastern Gedaref state on March 16, 2021. –  (Photo by ASHRAF SHAZLY / AFP) (Photo by ASHRAF SHAZLY/AFP via Getty Images)Photo taken from Egyptian Al-Monitor which reported that Ethiopia falsely blamed Tigray forces for the attack on Sudanese forces now escalating into conflict between Ethiopian, Eritrean, and Sudanese forces.

This week I had a 2 hour discussion with a Tigray diaspora who grew up in Sudan during the Derg Regime with many connections still present there. This person just spent almost 2 months visiting Sudan especially the two main refugee camps holding more than 70,000 people mostly from Western Tigray. I will not identify this person because he/she still has relatives in the occupied region.

Some refugees are still coming in sometimes at 30 a day sometimes none. At first at the beginning of the war some where able to bring trucks or cars but now its only on foot. Over many years the Tigray have traded with the Sudanese and some older Tigrayans have stayed living in Eastern Sudan along the border. These Tigrayans who grew up in Sudan most if not all speak Arabic which is not too different then Tigrayan for many words.

This diaspora was friends with many prominent local Sudanese and one high ranking officer in the military who expressed concern for the welfare of the Tigrayans and a sense of kinship for a neighbor different then for Ethiopians in general right now. They are also upset about the failure to come to agreement on the use of the Nile with Ethiopia and feel that the Tigray have been mistreated.

Author: Professor Tony Magana

Professor Tony Magana is Head of the Department of Neurosurgery, School of Medicine, College of Health Sciences at Mekelle University in Mekelle, Ethiopia. He directs a neurosurgery residency and training program as well as neuroscience research.

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