Source: Reuters [Government Statement below]
ADDIS ABABA/GENEVA (Reuters) – Ethiopia’s government said on Friday it was returning Eritrean refugees to camps in the northern Tigray region, a move that the United Nations refugee agency said was “absolutely unacceptable”.
The refugees are being taken from the capital Addis Ababa back to two camps they had fled from during a month of fighting between the military and a rebellious regional force because it is now safe and stable in Tigray, the government said in a statement.
“A large number of misinformed refugees are moving out in an irregular manner,” the statement said. “The government is safely returning those refugees to their respective camps.”
United Nations officials have expressed concern about reports of continued clashes in the region.
“We have not been informed by the government or any other authorities or other partners about a planned relocation,” Babar Baloch, spokesman for the United Nations refugee agency, said at a news conference in Geneva. He called the reports “alarming” and said, “Any planned relocation would be absolutely unacceptable.”
There are 96,000 Eritrean refugees registered in Ethiopia. Most live in Tigray, which borders Eritrea.