June 23, 2001
125 more Ethiopians, including 18 soldiers, have fled
to Kenya, police said yesterday.Most of them are students
from Addis Ababa University.
said tension was high in Moyale town over the presence
of the Ethiopians seeking political asylum in Kenya.
30 soldiers and 250 civilians have crossed the border
in the past two weeks.
first batch of seven military men fled to Kenya with
an arsenal of sophisticated weapons and were detained
by the police.
claim their lives are in danger in their country.
sources said the government is concerned about the influx
is feared that Ethiopian soldiers might invade a Kenya
Army camp and the Moyale police station where the deserters
are being detained.
authorities fear that Ethiopians might drag their war
into Kenya. One colonel and two majors from the Ethiopian
military recently crossed into Kenya in pursuit of the
deserters," a police source said.
asked the Government to repatriate the deserters. Their
request was turned down and they returned home furious.
It is feared Ethiopian solders might cross the border
and flush out the asylum seekers," he added.
source said the Ministry of Home Affairs was looking
for a solution to the crisis. Already, the United High
Commission for Refugees has been asked to relocate the
Ethiopians to Ifo refugee camp.
desertion followed student riots and the assassination
of the head of the Ethiopian National Security and Immigration
Authority, Mr Kinfe Gebre-Medhin.
university students went on the rampage demanding freedom
of expression and the removal of police officers from
authorities have been giving scanty information to the
Press since the refugee crisis started a fortnight ago.
District Commissioner, Mr J Gitonga, whose district
is at the centre of the crisis, said the Office of the
President was handling the matter and declined to give
senior UNHCR official said the refugees will be issued
with identity cards to validate their status.
Kenya is host to over 250,000 refugees from Sudan, Ethiopia,
Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo