Sudanese Refugees Flee UN Camps In Ethiopia After Attacks

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Thousands of Sudanese refugees have fled from UN camps in northern Ethiopia following spates of violence.

Three refugees told the BBC that the number of those who fled Komer and Olala camps could be as high as 7,000.

The BBC has not independently verified the figure.

The UN’s refugee agency is yet to respond to the BBC about the reported incident. But it had previously said it was aware of refugees who left their camps over complaints of insecurity.

The camps are in Ethiopia’s restive north-western Amhara region where local militias have been battling the army since August last year.

The region is under an emergency decree and remains disconnected from the internet.

The refugees said the camps have been attacked by gunmen in recent weeks with armed robberies and kidnapping for ransom becoming increasingly common.

They have spent nights along the main road and near a police station in a nearby small town for lack of protection from the authorities, one refugee told the BBC on Wednesday.

During nights, gun fires were heard inside the camps before they left, one refugee said.

“If I stayed in my tent, maybe they would come and shoot me. I [could not] sleep well because I felt I was in danger” he said, adding “at night, you cannot stay in that place because it is very dangerous”.

Since the beginning of the war between the Sudanese army and rival Rapid Support Forces (RSF) last April, more than 1.5 million Sudanese nationals have fled the country.

About 33,000 have crossed into Ethiopia, according to the UN.

“We need somebody to come and help us,” a refugee from Komer camp located 70 km (43 miles) told the BBC.

“We came from a problem; [and] we are facing another problem.”