Sudan says Ethiopian refugee arrivals reach 36,000

Wednesday November 18 2020

Ethiopian refugees who fled fighting in Tigray province lay in a hut at the Um Rakuba camp in Sudan's eastern Gedaref province, on November 18, 2020. PHOTO/AFP

By Timothy Kalyegira

The number of Ethiopians to have fled to Sudan from the deadly Tigray conflict has reached 36,000, Sudan's refugee commission said Wednesday, as fighting rages across the border.

"The total number of refugees to have arrived in Sudan has reached 36,000," commission head Abdulla Soliman told AFP, adding a new camp would be built at Um Tinetba in Sudan's Gedaref state to cope with the influx.

Ethiopia's northern Tigray region has been rocked by bloody fighting since November 4, when Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced the launch of military operations there.

The move was a dramatic escalation of a long-running feud between Ethiopia's federal government and the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), which dominated Ethiopian politics for nearly three decades before Abiy took office in 2018.

The ongoing conflict has killed hundreds of people and forced thousands more to flee across Ethiopia's northern border with Sudan.

Soliman said teams of humanitarian workers had been dispatched to Gedaref to establish the new refugee camp.


He also said the commission was holding talks with Sudan's eastern states, such as Kassala, to seek plots of land on which to set up more camps.

"If the situation keeps getting worse, then we will have to open camps in Gezira and Sennar states," the commission chief added.