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Improved security in Ethiopia explains decrease of refugees influx into Sudan: diplomat


Ethiopians refugees are seen at the Setit River on the Sudan-Ethiopia border in Hamdayet in eastern Kassala state, on November 14, 2020 (UNHCR photo)
November 28, 2020 (KHARTOUM) - The Ethiopian Ambassador to Sudan Yibeltal Aemro said the sharp decrease in refugee flows into eastern Sudan confirms that life has returned to normal in Tigray region.

Amero sent a written to Sudan Tribune on Friday in response to an article published on Thursday about the sudden decline of the refugee’s number crossing into Sudan after the control of the border area by the Ethiopian forces which prevent them from reaching the refugee camps.

The article also mentioned a report by the AFP correspondent about the situation in the border area of the Ethiopian side. He said that the government despatched Ahmarah officials and militiamen are now controlling the border area of Humera.

Ambassador Aemro, hover, denied the presence of the government forces near the Sudanese border saying they are deployed around Mekele city, 300km from Humera, where they are fighting the recalcitrant Tigray forces.

"The decline in the number of people who are crossing the border is because of return to normalcy in most parts of Tigray not because of the ban by the government forces," he said an email he sent to Sudan Tribune.

The Ethiopian diplomat went further to say that elements of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) who fled to the refugee camps in eastern Sudan seek to manipulate the international media.

"One also should understand the fact that the criminal elements within the TPLF, including those who crossed the border with the civilians, are deliberately trying to misinform the international community on the matter," he stressed.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, Friday was at Eastern Sudan’s Ethiopian border to inspect the humanitarian situation of the refugees.

"Most of them want to return home, but only if fighting ends and they can feel safe and secure. Meanwhile, we are stepping up efforts to address their basic needs," said Grandi in a tweet posted after the visit.

UNHCR head said that over 43,00 refugees are now in Sudan.

In a statement on Tuesday, the UN chief Antonio Guterres called for the "free and safe movement of people searching for safety and assistance, regardless of their ethnic identity, across both national and international borders".

Yaqoub Adam Yaqoub, the director of the reception centre in Hamdayet told the Sudan Tribune on Friday that they are facing a severe shortage of shelter and housing equipment. He also complained of poor services despite the cold weather.

Yacoub added that more than 75% of the people fleeing the violence in the Tigray region are now in the centre.

He attributed the delayed transfer of refugees to the Um Rakuba camp, 70 kilometres inside Gadaref State to the severe fuel crisis and the shortage of vehicles.

For its part, the UNHCR said they helped to relocate nearly 10,000 refugees to Um Rakuba, as work continues to put up shelters and improve services.


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