Ethiopia’s Agency for Refugees and Returnees Affairs on Friday announced a decision to repatriate more than 60,000 refugees who fled conflict from the restive Tigray region of the country.Director General of the Agency, Tesfahun Gobezay said that his agency is closely working with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and UNHCR to repatriate 60,000 citizens that fled to Sudan from Tigray following the law enforcement operation in the region.
The Agency’s decision comes amid reports of new arrivals at the Sudanese-Ethiopian border. Some 800 people crossed from Ethiopia’s Tigray region into eastern Sudan in just the first few days of the New Year.
It is to be recalled that Agency Director General Tesfahun Gobezay, and a team of UNHCR Officials led by Ann Allen Encontre, Country Representative in Ethiopia paid a visit to Mai-Ani and Adi-Harush refugee camps 23rd of January 2021.
Latest arrivals tell of being caught in the conflict and being victims of various armed groups, facing perilous situations including looting of their houses, forceful recruitment of men and boys, sexual violence against women and girls. Refugees are arriving with little more than the clothes on their backs, fatigued and in weak conditions after sometimes days of travel. More than 30 per cent of them are estimated to be under 18 and 5 per cent over 60 years old.
In support of the government-led response in Sudan, UNHCR and Sudan’s Commission for Refugees (COR) continue to relocate the refugees from the arrival locations at the border to the designated refugee camps, further inland in Sudan’s Gedaref State.