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News: As Ethiopia continues repatriating nationals from Saudi, local police apprehend 90 trying to illegally cross border

Irregular migrants apprehended by the local police in Bati Woreda. Picture: Bati Woreda Communication. Faces blurred by AS

By Alemitu Homa @alemituhoma

Addis Abeba – The communications bureau of Bati Woreda, located in Oromo Special Zone of Amhara regional state, says the local police has apprehended more than 90 migrants trying to leave the country through the border in Afar region last week. Bati Woreda which neighbors the Afar state, has become a crossing hub for the irregular migrants opting to leave the country through Djibouti to Middle East countries. 

On 07 April, Bati town communications bureau reported that 22 people, 10 men and 12 women, who were trying to cross the border illegally had been arrested while traveling on a minivan that tried to run through a checkpoint. The group was later taken into police custody. According to the local police, the travelers, originally from south Wollo, Shewa Robit and Borana Woredas in Amhara state, were assembled by human traffickers to flee the country.     

On Saturday 09 April, another group of 74 people who were trying to cross the border illegally were arrested . This second group had 50 men and 24 women irregular migrants, according to the bureau. They were traveling by FSR truck when members of the national defense forces apprehended them. 

This comes weeks after the Ethiopian government started repatriation of Ethiopian nationals languishing in detention facilities and prisons in the Kingdom Saudi Arabia. Reports show that there are more than 100,000 Ethiopian nationals languishing in these detention facilities and prisons in the Kingdom, where the Saudi government started a crackdown including those with legal status as highlighted in a previous report.

A research conducted in Wollo, northeastern Ethiopia, showed that the area has emerged as one of the most important points of origin for migrants traveling to the Middle East through Djibouti Previously, migration was “step migration”, initiated in rural areas from which migrants would travel to the capital Addis Abeba and then to the Middle Eastern countries. However, the trend has now shifted to direct migration from rural areas such as Wollo. 

Addis Standard’s multiple attempts to contact the Bati Woreda communications bureau and police to get further information were not successful. AS

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