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Sudan reports new refugee waves from Ethiopia

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Ethiopians who fled the fighting in Tigray region are seen at the Setit River on the Sudan-Ethiopia border in Hamdait village in eastern Kassala state, Sudan November 14, 2020. (Reuters photo)
December 20, 2020 -(GADAREF) - The number of Ethiopian refugees who crossed into Sudan fleeing the restive Tigray region has reached near 55,000 people, Sudanese humanitarian authorities said on Sunday.

Ethiopian federal army retook control of the Tigray capital Mekelle last November, however, the TPLF fighters continue to clash with the federal army in different locations in the region, despite the official statements about the end of the military operations in Tigray.

"The Hamdayet (Border Reception) Center received 442 new refugees, while the Hashaba Center received 263 new deserters," read a daily report seen by Sudan Tribune issued by the Emergency Committee in the State of Gedaref, on Saturday.

A Sudan Tribune reporter who met with newcomers said that the recent wave of Ethiopian refugees arrived from Birkuta following the outbreak of armed clashes between the Amhara militiamen and Tigray fighters.

According to the refugees the TPLF forces seek to dislodge the FANO militiamen from the area and retake control of Birkuta, in northern Tigray.

Aid workers in the reception centres say concerned about the increase of refugees pointing they do not have the needful means to accommodate more refugees despite the efforts done by the international community and aid groups but they remain insufficient.

The Sudanese government, Kassala and Gadaref states exert efforts to provide clothing, food and clean drinking water to refugees, despite the pressing economic conditions in the country.

Another new refugee camp in Al-Tanideba area of Gadaref State has been prepared to receive 30,000 refugees who will be transferred from the border reception centres.

The Ethiopian ambassador to Sudan said his government in collaboration with the Sudanese authorities and the UNHCR will seek to convince the refugees to return to their areas of origin.

In a speech delivered at the IGAD meeting on Sunday, the head of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki on Sunday said the Tigray crisis has provoked large scale displacement.

"We encourage IGAD to support Ethiopia in addressing humanitarian dimensions. Particular attention should be paid to refugees and displaced people," he further said.

(ST)

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