Thousands of Ethiopian civilians have fled into neighboring Sudan to escape escalating conflict in their country’s northern region, with many more expected to follow, according to Sudanese officials and the United Nations (UN).
More than 7,000 refugees from the Ethiopian region of Tigray have entered Sudan, fleeing fighting between government and regional forces, said UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi on Wednesday.
“There are also many displaced people in Tigray, and 96,000 Eritrean refugees,” he said in a tweet. “If hostilities continue, the humanitarian impact will worsen.”
As of Tuesday night, more than 1,800 people from the Ethiopian region of Tigray had crossed the border and were traveling to the Sudanese state of Kassala, while hundreds more had arrived in the border area of Al-Luqdi, the Sudanese commissioner for refugees, Abdalla Suleman, told CNN.
The movement comes after Ethiopia’s federal government announced that it was “at war” with the ruling party of the Tigray region, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). The federal army has since stepped up its military offensive, carrying out air strikes as part of Prime Minister and Nobel laureate Abiy Ahmed’s “law enforcement operation,” which has led to clashes across the area.