The government in Ethiopia said it has evacuated hundreds of its citizens from conflict-hit regions of South Sudan. According to a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, around 900 Ethiopians have been transported back home as fierce fighting between government forces and rebels led by former vice president Riek Machar continues in Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile states.
“The returnees were evacuated from Nasir town of Upper Nile state and transported to bordering Gambella region of Ethiopia, where they are being sheltered temporarily. Returnees are receiving the necessary support from the federal government and the Gambella state, until they are reunited with their families in different parts of the country,” the statement said, adding the Ethiopian air force evacuated more than 90 citizens from Heglig and more than 95 Ethiopians arrived in Addis from Malakal on Dec. 30th 2013. “300 Ethiopians have also been flown from Bor, the capital of Jonglei state, to Juba, South Sudan’s capital, on helicopters.”
An additional 800 Ethiopians have also been evacuated from Bentiu, the capital of Unity state, to Heglig. “To facilitate the evacuation, the Ethiopian government has established a joint task force drawn from Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, National Information and Security Service, Administration for the Refugee and Returnees Affairs as well as from the Federal Police and Disaster Prevention. The government is doing everything possible to ensure the safety of its citizens in South Sudan, where an estimated 15,000 of citizens live.”
However, the ministry didn’t disclose the number of Ethiopians currently living in South Sudan.
Caption: thousands of South Sudanese civilians have fled their villages since fighting erupted nearly two weeks ago