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Sudan confirms recent increase of Ethiopian refugees

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Ethiopian refugees, fleeing clashes in the country's northern Tigray region, cross the border into Hamdayet, Sudan, over the Sitet River. (UNHCR photo/Hazim Elhag)January 6, 2021 (GADAREF) - The head of the emergency room for the housing of Ethiopian refugees in eastern Sudan confirmed on Wednesday the recent increase in the number of Ethiopians seeking refuge and protection in Sudan.

Mogaddam al-Fateh told the Sudan Tribune that the Ethiopian refugees continue to flee the restive northern region of Ethiopia as hundreds cross into Sudan every day.

"More than 5,000 refugees from the Tigray region seek to cross into Sudan through the Dima border area which is one kilometre away from the Hamdayet reception centre," al-Fateh said on Wednesday.

According to the Sudanese humanitarian official, since the beginning of January, the refugees cross the border during the night when the federal army and police forces leave Dima area before their return in the morning.

The Sudan Tribune recently reported the deployment of Ethiopian troops on the border area to prevent the influx of refugees from crossing the Setit river to the Sudanese bank. However, the Ethiopian embassy in Khartoum, on Wednesday, denied this report.

"The Embassy of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia expresses its dissatisfaction with the inaccurate news report published on the Sudan Tribune website on January 4, 2021, which erroneously claims the deployment of more Ethiopian troops to the border areas to prevent people from crossing into Sudan," reads the statement.

The Ethiopian diplomatic mission in Khartoum asserted that the situation is calm now in the Tigray after the successful law enforcement operation against the TPLF fighters in the region.

The statement also dismissed the recent waves of refugees in eastern Sudan.

The refugees who recently arrived in the Sudanese reception centres told the Sudan Tribune correspondent about continued clashes between the federal army and the TPLF fighters in several areas in the northern region of Ethiopia.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) which is working in the eastern Sudan refugees camps confirmed the increase of refugees’ influx during the past days.

"Following (the) major conflict in the Tigray region of Ethiopia, over 60,000 refugees have fled over the border to Eastern Sudan; with thousands having arrived over the weekend," said the IRC which is working in Um Rakuba and Altindeba camps.

The aid group further called on the warring parties in Tigray region to "agree to an immediate ceasefire and ensure civilians, including refugees and aid workers, are protected and able to access and deliver life-saving services".

(ST)

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The Sudan Tribune editorial team.


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