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Botched Moyale operation raises Ethiopian asylum seekers in Kenya to 5,000

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About 5,000 Ethiopians have crossed into Kenya seeking refuge since March 10, the Kenyan Red Cross Society said, after several civilians were killed in what the Ethiopian military said was a botched security operation targeting militants.

Ethiopian state media reported on Sunday that soldiers had been deployed to an area near the town of Moyale in Oromia, a region that borders Kenya, in pursuit of Oromo Liberation Front fighters who had crossed into the country from Kenya.

But faulty intelligence led soldiers to launch an attack that killed nine civilians and injured 12 others, the Ethiopian News Agency said.

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In a statement on Tuesday, the Kenyan Red Cross Society said“the population of refugees from Ethiopia continues to increase” and was now estimated at 5,000.

Refugees from Ethiopia had begun to arrive in Kenya on March 10, it said, adding that they were mostly women and children, including“pregnant and lactating mothers, chronically ill persons, those abled differently and the elderly”.

Some of those fleeing had moved with their livestock, compounding pressure on struggling relief agencies, the Red Cross said.

The Oromo Liberation Front is a secessionist group which the Ethiopian government describes as terrorist.

Outbreaks of violence have continued in Oromia province even after Ethiopia declared a six-month, nationwide state of emergency last month following the resignation of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.

A state official in the Oromia region told Reuters on condition of anonymity that tens of thousands of people have also been internally displaced.

Ethiopia has said that five soldiers who took part in the attack near Moyale have been“disarmed” and are under investigation, while a high-level military delegation has been dispatched to the area to inquire further into the incident.

The town’s mayor was not immediately available to comment.

Desalegn said his unprecedented Feb. 15 resignation was intended to smooth the way for reforms, following years of violent unrest that threatened the ruling EPRDF coalition’s hold on Africa’s second most populous nation.

His successor as premier and EPRDF chairperson is expected to be named before the end of this month.

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PM Abiy reiterates Ethiopia’s decision over latest clampdown.

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Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has finally spoken on ongoing anti-corruption and rights abuse clampdown stating that there was not going to be any backing down let alone retreat.

A statement from the Abiy’s office issued in Amharic tasked citizens to rally behind the development as a means of ridding the country of lawlessness and criminal elements.

State-affiliated FBC reported that the statement titled, ‘Let’s Fight (the) Cancer,’ said the government was bent on bringing people behind injustices to book.



The statement said the underlying objective of recent arrests was to get rid of Ethiopia criminals. “… criminals do not care about ethnicity, country, or morality; they only care for themselves.

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“The key to justice is to create a system for innocent citizens to live in freedom and dignity while criminals are held accountable and punished in accordance with the law,” the statement read in part.

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Since early this week, authorities have announced the arrest of over sixty former military and intelligence officials arrested in connection with rights abuse in prisons and gross corruption in the military run business conglomerate, Metals and Engineering Corporation, MetEC.

A former head of MetEC, Kinfe Dagnew; and a former intelligence chiefs, Tekleberhan Woldearegay and Yared Zerihun have all been detained and put before courts in the capital, Addis Ababa.

Head of security at the state monopoly, Ethio Telecom, Gudeta Olana, has also been arrested as has head of the entity and brother of ex-MetEC boss, Essayas Dagnew.

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New Zealand denies refusing refugees with holiday visas entry.

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New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, on Friday, rejected allegations that the country’s government was blocking refugees who wished to travel into the country from Nauru on visitor visas.

Nauru’s president, Baron Waqa, also claimed in an interview with Australian media that he had also personally brokered a deal for New Zealand to accept 80 refugees currently located on the island.



“It’s incorrect to say that there is some kind of agreement for 80 specific individuals to take residence or visit,’’ Ardern told media at the East Asia Summit in Singapore.

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“The request did not ask about whether refugees could visit New Zealand on holiday visas,’’ he added.

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The country assessed all applications for visitor visas on a case-by-case basis. This applies regardless of a person’s country of origin or nationality.

The country is under pressure to transfer the remaining 30 children from the island.

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