Ethiopia Blocks Refugees from Fleeing to Sudan

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Ethiopian forces are blocking people from fleeing the Tigray region and crossing the border into Sudan, according to Sudanese forces.

Sudan has been preparing for as many as 100,000 refugees, but Ethiopia’s government is preventing them from leaving the region — urging the ethnic Tigrayans to return home instead.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed stated that no civilians were killed during his invasion and subsequent takeover of the northern Ethiopian city of Mekelle. It has been widely reported that refugees were fleeing violence from Tigrayan rebels. Still, according to The Washington Post, many of the refugees have said it was Ethiopian forces they were desperately trying to escape.

“The world is silent. They are not doing anything for us. They are silent,” said one refugee, Geren Hawas. “Until now they didn’t do anything. It has been a month and they didn’t do anything. The world has its laws. People are dying from hunger, by guns, they are dying. Why are they being silent?”

The news comes days after the United Nations and the Ethiopian government signed an agreement to allow “unimpeded” humanitarian access for federal government control areas.

More than 45,000 people have fled Tigray since November 4 following Abiy’s order for military operations against leaders of Tigray’s ruling part. Abiy accused the Tigray People’s Liberation Front of attacking federal military camps in Tigray and attempting to destabilize the country.

Despite Abiy’s claims of victory over the weekend, TPLF leaders maintain that the fighting continues: “The war is a people’s war and will not end easily,” TPLF spokesman Gebre Gebretsadkan said on Tigray TV.

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