EPAAfrican migrants pass through Yemen
NOS Nieuws•vandaag, 20:40
Reports that Saudi border guards killed hundreds of migrants are being investigated, Ethiopia said. That is what the authorities of the African country say in response to allegations from Human Rights Watch.
A report published yesterday speaks of systematic attacks on Ethiopian migrants in particular on the border between Yemen and Saudi Arabia. Survivors say they were fired at by Saudi border guards with bullets and explosives. Men, women and children were shot at close range, dozens of eyewitnesses say.
It is important to “restrain from unnecessary speculation until the investigation is complete,” the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs says on Facebook. The matter is being investigated in cooperation with the Saudi authorities. “Despite the tragedy, the two countries maintain an excellent relationship,” the statement read.
The UN has previously questioned Saudi Arabia over the many reports of shelling of migrants in the border area with Yemen. Riyadh then denied the allegations. The regime has not publicly commented on the human rights organization’s report, but an anonymous official called the HRW report to AP news agency “unsubstantiated and not based on reliable sources”.
About 750,000 Ethiopian migrants live in Saudi Arabia. The rich country has great appeal for crisis-hit Ethiopia. As a result of the civil war in the northern Tigray region, tens of thousands of people have been displaced.
An estimated 450,000 of Saudi Arabia’s Ethiopians have entered the country illegally, the UN migration organization IOM reports. In cooperation with the Ethiopian authorities, thousands of them have been sent back to their country of origin in recent years.