ADDIS ABABA – More than 1800 Ethiopians have returned from Saudi Arabia as the government resumes its repatriation operation today.
The repatriation push to bring back tens of thousands of Ethiopian nationals detained in Saudi Arabia began on Wednesday.
After a one day pause, a total of 1173 Ethiopians have arrived at Addis Ababa Bole International today, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that chairs the committee leading the ongoing reparation push.
Four flights have been involved in bringing the Ethiopians from the city of Jeddah today, its spokesperson office said on Friday afternoon.
The latest arrivals have brought the total of arrivals since the start of the repatriation push to 2, 736. About 936 of them were brought back on Wednesday.
A majority of them are women and children.
Almost all of them are currently staying at makeshift shuttering centers established to host the returnees. Seven makeshift centers are prepared to host the returnees.
Senior government officials including state Minister of foreign affairs Birtukan Ayano have paid a visit to returnees at the centers.
“They expressed delight to see the returnees in their homeland,” said the foreign ministry.
The returnees also thanked the government for repatriating them at this critical time and called for an expedited repatriation process for the remaining Ethiopians detained in Saudi Arabia, its added.
Many Ethiopians are languishing in Saudi Arabia’s detention centers, reports say, for alleged illegal entry. Prior to the launch of the repatriation operation, authorities estimated their total to be close to 102, 000.