MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The Sudanese military arrested a senior Ethiopian militia leader fighting alongside the Tigray rebels against Ethiopian government troops, Sudan Tribune reported on Tuesday, citing sources.
According to the media outlet, the military intelligence arrested the militia commander in eastern Al Qadarif province. He was accompanied by dozens of militiamen along with his family members, who crossed into Sudan from Ethiopia’s northern province of Tigray.
Sources told the news outlet that the commander was in possession of about $90 million, large quantities of gold and two luxury cars.
“The militia leader owned about five thousand acres of agricultural land in the Al-Allaw area for decades. He used to cultivate it and sell its products to the western Tigray region,” sources said as quoted by the media outlet.
On Saturday, the Ethiopian National Defence Forces (ENDF) conducted an offensive against the northern region’s forces — the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) — and gained full control of Mekelle, which used to be the TPLF’s headquarters.
In September, the TPLF, in opposition to the Ethiopian government, asked Addis Ababa for permission to hold regional elections, which were earlier postponed over COVID-19.
After the request was rejected, the party organized elections on its own, which the federal government never recognized as legitimate.
On 4 November, the Ethiopian government launched a military operation in Tigray, after it accused the TLFP of an attack on a local military base to hijack weapons and arm anti-government militia. According to the UN Refugee Agency, the hostilities forced over 43,000 Ethiopians to flee to Sudan.