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Sudan pledges to keep its border open for Ethiopian refugees


Ethiopian women who fled the fighting in Tigray region gather in Hamdayet refugees center near Setit river on the Sudan Ethiopian border on 23 November 2020 (Reuters photo).jpgNovember 23, 2020 (GADAREF) - A high-ranking Sudanese military official stressed on Monday that his country will not close its borders to the influx of Ethiopians refugees fleeing the war in the Tigray region.

Humanitarian officials in the eastern Sudan border areas told Sudan Tribune reporter that the number of Ethiopians who crossed into the Sudanese border has reached over 45,000 refugees. They projected that the number will rise to 100,000 in the coming days.

On Sunday, Hamdayet border reception centre received 1,400 refugees, while the seventh batch was transferred from this camp to the Um Rakubah area, at some 20 km from the border raising the number of refugees in the new camp to 7,400 residents.

The Commander of the ground forces, Lt Gen Isam Mohamed-Hassan Karar, called on international and regional organizations to provide Ethiopian refugees with the needed humanitarian assistance. Also, he praised the efforts made by the second infantry division to support and transport the Ethiopian who reached the Sudanese territory.

"We will not close the borders to refugees, despite the great damage caused to agricultural areas," Karar told the Sudan Tribune on Monday.

"Whoever comes for help will find us in front of him," he stressed.

On 19 November, Babacar Cissé, UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator for Sudan told reporters in New York by telephone that Sudanese officials and civilians do what they can to support the refugees with food water and shelter despite the difficult conditions of their country.

On the same day, Nagy Thibor, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, hailed the support provided by Sudanese people and government to the Ethiopian refugees every time there was a humanitarian crisis.

"The Sudanese have provided just an incredibly welcoming and supportive refuge for the refugees coming out of Ethiopia. Whether they were escaping the emperor or the Marxist Derg or the TPLF government or now, it just a very long history of genuine cordiality and welcome from the people of Sudan for the people of Ethiopia".

In a speech delivered on Sunday to a ceremony marking the redeployment of the Eastern Region forces, the Sudanese army chief of staff Lt Gen Mohamed Osman al-Hussein considered what is happening in Ethiopia "an internal matter."

Nevertheless, "the armed forces are following up on what is happening in Ethiopia because it is adjacent to our borders and it is the responsibility of the eastern command to preserve the borders and prevent anyone who might threaten security," al-Hussein said.

On 22 November, the Ethiopian Prime Minister issued a 72-hour deadline for the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) to surrender. However, the Tigray leaders rejected his call.


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