Ethiopia Repatriates 1,166 Citizens from Saudi Arabia

ADDIS ABABA – Additional 1,166 Ethiopian nationals who were living in difficult conditions in Saudi Arabia have been repatriated on Friday, authorities say.

The Ethiopians have come back home in three flights carried out on Friday, said the Ministry of Women and Social Affairs.

Nearly 170 women and 133 children were among the returnees.

The ministry said they are now receiving support in a shelter center authorities set up in Addis Ababa as part of the repatriation operation.

Authorities launched the operation almost two months ago with a target to repatriate at least 102,000 of its citizens detained in Saud’s detention centers and prisons.

To date, they have brought 29, 122 citizens back to their country.

The effort, which involves nine flights a week, will continue as per the schedule, said Birtukan Ayano, state minister of Foreign Affairs, during a meeting that assessed the operation so far.

The International Organization for Migration is providing support to the government in the repatriation effort which includes receiving, rehabilitating and sending returnees to their respective localities in dignity.

Apart from Saudi Arabia, officials said they are now preparing to begin a similar repatriation push to bring back Ethiopians living in difficult situations in various parts of Africa and the Middle east.

The government will remain committed to citizen-centered diplomacy, said Birtukan, stating plans are currently underway to repatriate Ethiopians from Tanzania, Sudan, Djibouti, Somalia, Yemen, and Oman.