UN Says 20,000 Refugees Missing After Ethiopian Camps Destroyed

By February 1, 2021,

Source: Bloomberg

As many as 20,000 refugees are missing after two camps in Ethiopia’s war-torn Tigray region were smashed, the United Nations said.

The refugees, most of whom are from neighboring Eritrea, fled from the Hitsats and Shimelba shelters which were destroyed in fighting that erupted in Tigray in November. In January, satellite images showed the destruction of two refugee camps sheltering thousands of Eritreans in the region.null

About 3,000 people made it to another camp in Mai-Aini, which the United Nations has access to, according to Filippo Grandi, the UN’s High Commissioner for Refugees. Many refugees “were caught in crossfire, abducted and forced to return to Eritrea under duress by Eritrean forces,” Grandi said, citing testimony presented to him at a visit to the camp while on a four-day trip for meetings with officials in Ethiopia.

Ethiopian federal troops entered Tigray in response to an alleged attack on Nov. 4 and toppled a dissident ruling party that’s set itself in opposition to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed since he came to power in April 2018. Though the government announced victory on Nov. 28, the region’s leader has vowed to continue with the conflict that has displaced hundreds of thousands, killed thousands and threatened to destabilize the Horn of Africa.

The situation in Tigray is extremely grave and urgent support is necessary to prevent the situation worsening, Grandi said. “Our main priority is to gain access to deliver aid and protection.”

Communications in the region remain impeded by a government shutdown of telecommunications networks. Relief agencies including the International Committee of the Red Cross have said they’re unable to access areas outside major towns and rural areas to deliver humanitarian aid.

The U.S. has called for an investigation into reports of looting, sexual violence and assaults in refugee camps as experts warned the window of opportunity to gather evidence is quickly closing.


  1. Allowing Eritrean forces to invade a sovereign state, rape all age women including high level religious nuns, shelling & terror, extrajudicial killings, massive looting, genocide.,is an insult to the world civilization. All types of crime against humanity have been practiced in Tigray by Eritrean forces. It is still an insult to z western democracy and modern civilization. The African dictators are watching this event pass unnoticed as they have to tried to block it in UN Security Council. This is a test and practice for this dictators either to learn a serious lesson never to practice war crime and genocide again or let them continue their anti democratic campaign.

  2. If the International Community had taken a bold action against DIA at the right time, he would not have been able to mess up the whole region.

    Signor Filippo Grandi is to be commended for his stance since the start of this EXCEPTIONALLY VIOLENT WAR AGAINST CIVILIANS.

    This war is characterised by clear WAR CRIMES and Genocide. One hopes that the International Community will hold Abiy Ahmed and DIA responsible for their actions.

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