Wednesday, November 19, 2014
6,200 Eritreans cross into Ethiopia in 37 days: UNHCR
Over 6,200 Eritreans have crossed into Ethiopia over the past 37 days, an official with the UN refugee agency said Monday.
"More than 5,000 Eritrean asylum seekers crossed into the Ethiopian territory in October alone," spokesperson for the UNHCR office in Ethiopia Kisut Gebregziabher told Anadolu Agency.
"In the first week of November, more than 1,200 Eritreans have arrived in Ethiopia," he added.
Among those who managed to cross into Ethiopia, he said, were some 78 children.
According to a UNHCR report last July, there are a total of 629,000 refugees and asylum seekers in Ethiopia.
Some 99,000 of them are Eritreans. Most of them fled their country due to oppression and forced military service, Gebregziabher told AA earlier.
Eritrea and Ethiopia used to be a single country, but a 1993 referendum saw Eritreans vote for independence.
Tension between Addis Ababa and Asmara and has persisted since a bloody two-year border war, in which tens of thousands were killed, ended in 2000.
There are four refugee camps in northern Ethiopia's Tigray Regional State that cater to Eritrean refugees: Shimelba (set up in 2004), May Ayni (2008), Adiharush (2010) and Hitsats (2013).