Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Spike in Eritreans fleeing into Ethiopia

Over 200 Eritrean refugees are crossing the heavily fortified and dangerous border into arch-foe Ethiopia daily, the United Nations said in a report noting a "spike" in those fleeing.
Tens of thousands have now run away from the autocratic Horn of Africa country, escaping open-ended conscription and the iron-grip rule of President Issaias Afeworki, with many continuing northwards to brave the often harrowing journey towards Europe.
"The number of daily refugee arrivals spiked since the first week of September," the October report from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) read.
"At present, more than 200 Eritreans cross the Ethiopian border each day."
Over 3,500 Eritreans have fled into northern Ethiopia in the past two months, taking the total to over 104,000 Eritrean refugees in the country.

No reason was given for the rise in numbers, but reports by rights groups say people are struggling under Asmara's repressive government.
Thousands also have fled northwards into Sudan, although the UN in July reported that Khartoum has forced some to return back.
Eritrea won independence from Ethiopia in 1991, but returned to war in 1998-2000 and they remain bitter enemies, with their troops still eyeing each other along the fortified frontier.
The two countries remain at odds over the flashpoint town of Badme, awarded to Eritrea by a UN-backed boundary commission but still controlled by Ethiopia.
Eritrea, about the size of England, has a population of some five million people.