June 21, 2001
more Ethiopian soldiers have fled to Kenya, causing
tension in Moyale town.
colonel and two majors crossed the border yesterday
morning. Nine other officers arrived at the border town
on Wednesday night. The soldiers were accompanied by
some university students.
brings the total number of Ethiopian soldiers who have
crossed into Kenya to 20 in the last 10 days.
latest University of Addis Ababa students to cross over
week, three students, a soldier and two civil servants
sought asylum, claiming their lives were in danger.
military men fled to Kenya with an arsenal of sophisticated
weapons 10 days ago and were handed over to the Immigration
Department after a brief stop at the Garissa police
Kenya Army Commander, Lt Gen Lazarus Sumbeiywo, said
the Ethiopian deserters' case was being handled by the
Foreign Ministry and the United Nations High Commissioner
for Refugees (UNHCR).
desertion followed student riots and the assassination
of the head of the Ethiopian National Security and Immigration
Authority, Mr Kinfe Gebre-Medhin.
his part, Moyale District Commissioner J. Gitonga said
the Office of the President was handling the matter
and declined to give any more details.
have sent all the information you require to the Office
of the President, which is are handling this matter,"
he told the Nation by phone.
in the town said they feared Ethiopian military personnel
would invade the area as the students and soldiers were
still being held at the local police station.
were being made to transfer them to a safer location,
a military source added.
week, the assistant protection officer at the UN High
Commissioner for Refugees, Mr Sergio Calle Horeno, and
an assistant secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs,
Mr Andambi Arthur, had visited the Moyale police station
to interview the deserters and establish if they should
be granted a refugee status.
the Kenya Human Rights Commission asked the government
and the UNHCR to speed up the relocation of the escapees.
to KHRC officer Mikewa Ogada, the group fled for fear
of being massacred by the Ethiopian government.
Ogada alleged that the students and soldiers were congested
in a cell.