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UNHCR provides planes to transport Ethiopian refugees from Sudanese border

Ethiopian refugees arrived in Sudan's Gadaref state on 11 November 2020 (SUNA photo)November 11, 2020 - (KHARTOUM) - The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) announced will provide planes to transport Ethiopian refugees to new camps set up by the Sudanese government away from the border areas.

Thousands of Ethiopians fleeing the armed conflict in Tigray Region arrived in Sudan through several areas, from the conflict zones adjacent to the Sudanese states of Gedaref and Kassala. Also, armed elements sneaked into the Sudanese border areas, despite the deployment of troops along the border between the two countries.

For many from Tigray, Sudan is the only refuge, after the mobilization of Eritrean troops on the northern border of the region and statements from Tigray leaders accusing Eritrea of involvement in the military operations against them.

The director of the UNHCR office in the border city of Khashm al-Qirba, Mohamed Rafiq Nasri, announced the UN’s decision to provide special planes and vehicles to transport Ethiopian refugees from the No. 8 Village, Hamdayit and the border strip directly to a new camp set up in the Um Rakoba area of Gadaref state.

The camp is located at 76 km from the border in the south-east locality of Gallabat.

The UNHCR and its partners will visit the Um Rakoba Thursday to assess the needs for the new camp before to launch immediate construction of the needed facilities.

On Tuesday, Sudanese authorities in Gadaref announced the arrival of 6000,00 refugees and expressed that the increasing arrival of refugees, exceeds the capabilities of the refugee camp in the state.

Reports from the border areas also indicated the arrival of armed elements fleeing the fighting. Sudanese authorities said they have been disarmed and placed in a special place to prevent their presence among the civilian refugees or the use of Sudanese territory to launch attacks in conflict-areas inside Ethiopia.

Hamdok negotiation is the solution

In Khartoum, Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok discussed with Eritrean Foreign Minister Osman Saleh and Presidential Advisor Yemane Gebreab the ongoing conflict and its impact on the region.

Hamdok stressed the importance of regional security and the need to stop the conflict in Ethiopia as soon as possible. He also called for a negotiated solution, according to a statement issued by his office.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed rejected a proposal made by Hamdok in his capacity as head of IGAD to mediate between the parties to the conflict.

For his part, the former Sudanese ambassador to Ethiopia, Osman Alsayed said the Sudanese government should call for an urgent summit of IGAD countries to discuss the conflict in Ethiopia.

Alsayed who previously held the position of Director of External Security described the escalation of the conflict in the Tigray as a real threat to Sudanese national security.