Ethiopia ready to ‘receive’ refugees fleeing Tigray

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Kalkidan Yibeltal BBC News, Addis Ababa

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has said that his country is ready to “receive and reintegrate” thousands of refugees fleeing the northern state of Tigray where federal troops are fighting local forces.

He vowed to “protect their property” and “guarantee their peace upon return”, according to a tweet.

The UN estimates that around 20,000 people have crossed from Tigray into neighbouring Sudan over the last 10 days.

Ethiopia’s government has rejected calls for mediation saying they would incentivize impunity, but the humanitarian crisis is worsening.

Prime Minister Abiy has promised to enable humanitarian support by the military, but it’s not clear how that can be achieved amid an escalating conflict.

Ethiopians who fled the ongoing fighting in Tigray region prepare to cross the Setit River on the Sudan-Ethiopia border
Refugees crossing the Setit River on the Sudan-Ethiopia borderImage caption: Refugees crossing the Setit River on the Sudan-Ethiopia border

Meanwhile the Ethiopian Army says it has taken control of the strategic town of Alamata.

On the other hand the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) has accused the government of conducting airstrikes in the state’s capital, Mekelle.

Both claims are difficult to independently verify as the government maintains a communications blackout in the area.