Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs (ARRA) disclosed that the TPLF terrorist group has fired heavy artillery into the refugee camp in Afar State and killed five Eritrean refugees and injured many others.
ARRA Branch Office Coordinator in Afar State Fasil Gashaw said that the terrorist group’s attack on the refugee camp that hosted about 34 thousand Eritrean refugees forced many of them to leave. After displacing the refugees, TPLF forces have been using the camp as a military garrison.
Condemning the attack he said that the act was against the international refugee law and all concerned bodies need to discharge their role in relocating the displaced refugees. The government is preparing a new refugee camp in the Serdo area of Afar State and within a week the refugees will be relocated, he said.
Jamila Hassan, a refugee who fled the camp having a two month old baby on her hand said that “TPLF forces fired heavy artillery into the camp at midnight killing and wounding many of them. I arrived in Semera a week ago and currently I don’t know the whereabouts of my remaining children and family.”
Another refugee, Mohamed Yasi said that following the attack by the terrorist group many of the refugees died while others were kidnapped by the group.
Condemning the act, UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Spokesperson Boris Cheshkirov said that an Eritrean refugee camp in Afar had come under attack by gunmen, who killed five camp residents and sent thousands fleeing to safety.
“We condemn the attack on the refugee camp and reiterate the call for cessation of hostilities to avoid further destruction and potential loss of life for refugees and Ethiopians alike, and so that much needed humanitarian assistance can reach them.”
The attack happened at the Barahle refugee camp, a camp for ethnic Afar Eritreans that opened in 2009 amid Eritrea’s then-ongoing war with Ethiopia. However, UNHCR was informed about the attack only after refugees fleeing it arrived in the Afar capital of Semera and other areas. In addition to the killings, the gunmen also looted the camp and stole both refugees’ belongings and abducted several women.
BY HAILE DEMEKE