1,000 refugees flee Ethiopia camp over security: UNFri, 03 May 2024 16:20:04 GMT

About 1,000 refugees have fled a UN-run camp in northern Ethiopia after reports of armed robbery, shootings and alleged abductions, the United Nations said on Friday.The UN’s refugee agency UNHCR said the refugees, from war-torn Sudan and also Eritrea, left the Awlala settlement in the Amhara region earlier this week “primarily because they did not feel safe”.”This follows several reports of security incidents, including crime, theft, armed robbery, shooting and alleged abductions,” a UNHCR spokesperson told AFP in Nairobi, adding that the refugees also wanted services there to be improved.The Awlala camp lies about 70 kilometres (40 miles) from the Metema border crossing into Sudan, which descended into a brutal conflict between rival generals in April last year.The UNHCR spokesperson said teams from the agency and the Ethiopian authorities tried to encourage the refugees to return to Awlala but that they refused and remain by the roadside about 1.5 kilometres away.”Local authorities are providing for their security, while UNHCR and its partner World Vision have deployed a mobile health clinic to the area to provide any needed medical support,” the spokesperson said, adding that UN teams were continuing discussions with the group to try to reach a resolution.An estimated 1.8 million people have fled Sudan since the war began in April last year, with more than 53,000 crossing the border into Ethiopia, according to UNHCR figures as of May 1.