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#ASDailyScoop: Ethiopia to resume repatriating nationals trapped in Saudi Arabia

Some of Ethiopian nationals kept in inhuman conditions inside Saudi detention facilities. Picture: Social Media

Addis Abeba – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) said the repatriation Ethiopian nations trapped in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will resume as of Wednesday 30 March.

The Ministry said the committee established to oversee the repatriation and rehabilitation of citizens from Saudi Arabia had a meeting on Monday 28 March chaired by Ambassador Birtukan Ayano, State Minister at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia. “The committee, comprising 16 institutions, revealed that about 100 thousand Ethiopians would be repatriated within the upcoming 7-11 months,” MoFA said.

Addis Standard has reported on the plight of thousands of Ethiopian nationals held in inhumane conditions in Saudi Arabia prisons for months.  Several reports into the conditions of Ethiopian detainees revealed that Saudi crackdown on irregular migrants has targeted many Ethiopians. Testimonies offered via multiple calls from detainees inside the conservative kingdom prisons show abuses inflicted on Ethiopians include on nursing mothers, infants, and pregnant women who were held against their will without sufficient food, medicine, and proper place to sleep.

There has been repeated pleas to the Ethiopian government to intervene, but detainees often accuse Embassy officials and officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of abandoning their responsibilities and ignoring their pleas.

In January this year, the Ministry said repatriation was interrupted due to other ‘top priorities’ that the government was supposed to address timely. “A delegation has been established to facilitate the repatriation and this team will soon leave for Saudi Arabia to bring the stranded back home,” Ambassador Dina Mufti, MoFA Spokesperson told local media.

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