Gunmen kill 5 Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia’s Afar region – UN

Gunmen kill 5 Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia’s Afar region – UN

On Feb. 3, gunmen assaulted a refugee camp in Ethiopia’s northern Afar region during fighting between rebellious Tigrayan and Afar forces in the area, killing at least five Eritreans, according to the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR).
Armed men stormed the camp, kidnapped several women, looted property, and occupied refugees’ homes, forcing thousands to escape, according to UNHCR.
“UNHCR is collaborating with Ethiopian authorities and partners to offer emergency assistance to hundreds of Eritrean refugees who fled the Barahle refugee camp and its surrounds in the Afar region after conflict erupted,” the agency said in a statement.
It did not specify who was responsible for the attack.
Reuters could not reach the spokespersons for the Tigrayan forces or the Afar regional forces for comment.
The conflict in northern Ethiopia has pitted the rulers of the northern region of Tigray against the Ethiopian central government and its allies – including forces from the regions of Amhara and Afar, and troops from the neighboring nation of Eritrea.
The 15-month-old war has killed thousands of civilians and displaced millions. About 150,000 Eritrean refugees live in Ethiopia. They have been killed, raped and imprisoned by belligerents on both sides of the conflict and cut off from aid for months at a time.
Fighting between Tigrayan and Afar forces has displaced at least 300,000 people since December and blocked food deliveries into neighbouring Tigray, where millions of people are dependent on aid.
Afar is of strategic importance because its territory contains the main road and railway linking Addis Ababa, landlocked Ethiopia’s capital, with the sea port of Djibouti.

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