April 17, 2020
Last week, the Ethiopian government announced that it is closing the Eritrean refugee camp in Tigray, Hitsats, which was operational for more than seven years.
According to a report by AFP last week, Hitsats refugee camp was home to well over 13,000 Eritrean refugees. The government intended to close it sometime in March but was delayed because of the outbreak of Coronavirus disease in the country.
Following the closure, Eritrean refugees are to be relocated to other camps in the country, or they can work and live freely.
The Ethiopian government’s decision to close the camp has something to do, in part, funding cuts from the refugee agency said AFP report, which cited Eyob Awoke, deputy director-general of Ethiopia’s Agency for Refugee and Returnee Affairs.
Eritrean refugees do not seem to subscribe to arguments. They think that the Eritrean government is behind Ethiopia’s decision to close the camp.
“We are not clear why we are needed to leave the camp where we lived for years and years. There is an Eritrean government hand behind the action,” DW Amharic service cited what it called Eritrean refugees.
If there is an Eritrean government behind the decision, as the refugees claim, what is the motive in doing so? It is unclear.