World, Africa

Ethiopia: thousands of internally displaced repatriated

Since 2016, 2.8 million people have been displaced due to conflicts in parts of the country

Addis Getachew   | 10.05.2019
Ethiopia: thousands of internally displaced repatriated

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia 

Ethiopia said Thursday that 875,000 internally displaced people had been returned to their homes as of May 7.

The announcement was made at a press conference by Billene Seyoum, a spokeswoman at the prime minister’s office.

Seyoum said since 2016, 2.8 million people had been displaced due to conflicts in various parts of the country.

Over the past year alone, ethnic conflicts have caused the displacement of more than 1 million people, while the rest had been displaced since the eruption in 2016 of anti-government protests that led to the coming to power last April of reformist Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

The displacement figure “has to be seen through the lens of what the new administration inherited”, Billene said, pointing out that the cause of the displacements originated during the pre-reform period.

She said efforts are underway to sustainably rehabilitate displaced compatriots and several government agencies and humanitarian organizations are working together to achieve this.

“Sustainable rehabilitation is one of the key priorities of the government,” she added.

Ethiopia-Eritrea border closure

Following a thaw in relations between Eritrea and Ethiopia, the borders have been reopened at various points along the two countries’ long boundary.

But the last couple of months saw the closure of one border after another due to undisclosed reasons.

Asked about the issue, Billene said an Eritrean delegation was in Ethiopia and an Ethiopian delegation had gone to Eritrea to discuss the matter, and the results of the discussions would be known soon.

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