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Thousands Of Ethiopian Refugees Flee To Sudan Amid Clashes

Ethiopia bombs Tigray arms depots, thousands flee fighting

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Ishita Chakraborty
A computer engineer who has a passion for writing, a hodophile, social activist, youth activist for PETA India, and a linguaphile. A journalist covering Social issues & United Nations initiatives for transcontinental times.

ETHIOPIA: Thousands of people fled the violence in Northern Ethiopia on Wednesday. According to the reports, around 7,000 Ethiopian refugees have arrived at Ethiopia’s border with Sudan. More than 10,000 Ethiopians had already fled across the border.

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At least 550 fighters were killed in a week of clashes with forces loyal to the Tigray region’s rebellious ruling party. Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s federal troops battled local forces in Tigray on Wednesday.

Conflicts in Ethiopia

Ahmed, a former soldier who once fought alongside Tigrayans against Eritrea, took office in 2018 after a Tigrayan-led government had dominated politics. However, his efforts to ease a repressive political climate uncorked ethnic clashes killed thousands of people in the last two years.

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With outsiders barred and communications down, it was hard to know how Ahmed’s week-long offensive against regional rulers the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) was progressing. The state media have spoken of hundreds of death in the mountainous state of more than 5 million people. Federal warplanes have been pounding arms as soldiers fight on the ground. The federal troops have claimed that they have taken down an airport whereas the Tigrayans alleges that they downed a jet.

Meanwhile, there are fears of civil war and knock-ons around the East African region. In 2018, Ethiopia reached a peace agreement with Eritrea for which Ahmed won the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize. Meanwhile, Ahmed’s government also has troops deployed in Somalia helping to combat Islamist insurgency.

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The United Nations, African Union, and others want a ceasefire, but diplomats believe Ahmed is intent on crushing the Tigrayan leaders. “We won’t rest till this junta is brought to justice,” he tweeted late on Tuesday. The International Rescue Committee charity said there was only one month’s worth of fuel left for water pumps serving refugees in Tigray.

The Addis Ababa mayor’s office also announced demonstrations in the coming days. It also urged residents to donate blood and money to show support for soldiers in Tigray.

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