18 November 2013

Ethiopia: Saudi Arabia Repatriates 2,540 Ethiopians

Photo: Reinhardt Hartzenberg/GCIS
People of KwaZulu-Natal arrive at the Moses Mabhida Stadium for the provincial memorial service for the late former President Nelson Mandela.

The Ethiopian Government said on Monday that it received some 2,540 of its citizens from Saudi Arabia, recently declared illegal immigrants by the authorities.

Officials at the Ethiopian Foreign Affairs Ministry told journalists in Addis Ababa that an additional 240 persons, including 235 women, had arrived at the Ethiopian International Airport early hours of Monday from the Saudi Kingdom.

According to the newly established national task force for the return and support of refugees, the returnees are being reunited with their families.

An official of the task force said that about 235 women arrived in Ethiopia last night following the decision of the Saudi government to deport foreigners without legal status in that country.

The Foreign Affairs Minister, Tedros Adhanom, welcomed the returnees on arrival at the Addis Ababa Bole International Airport and urged them to settle down and embrace their country, where they would be more useful.

Mr. Adhanon urged them to draw lessons from what happened to the others and exploit every opportunity to prosper in their own homeland; and contribute in nation building.

The Ethiopian government on Thursday dispatched a high-level delegation to arrange for the immediate return of some 40,000 nationals facing deportation by the Saudi authorities for lack of resident permit and other relevant papers.

The Saudi security agents had on November 4 launched a crackdown on foreign nationals, who had no official permit to stay in the country after the expiration of the deadline given to them to regularise their residential permits.

Three Ethiopian nationals were allegedly killed during an encounter between the security agencies and the Ethiopians who had staged a protest against their planned deportation, according to the ministry's spokesman, Dino Mufti.

Meanwhile, the Ethiopian Police had on November 15 arrested more than 100 people protesting outside the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Addis Ababa over what they described as "harsh treatment of Ethiopians" in the Gulf Kingdom.

The police arrested many protesters, blocked roads to prevent an escalation of violence and even forced some journalists to delete photos on their cameras.

A senior member of the opposition Blue Party movement said that more than 100 people were detained after the protest, while a senior official of the Ethiopian Government said the protesters did not have a permit to hold the rally.


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