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Ethiopians Repatriated from Saudi Arabia Exceed 35,000

ADDIS ABABA – Nearly 3, 200 Ethiopian migrants have arrived in Addis Ababa this week, bringing the number of repatriates from Saudi Arabia close to 35, 500.

Authorities have continued to bring back Ethiopians, who were suffering from hostile conditions in Saudi Arabia detention centers, for a tenth consecutive week.

Nine flights from the Gulf nation to Addis Ababa have been carried in three days, with the recent three planes arriving on Friday.

These flights have helped to bring a total of 3, 176 Ethiopians back to their country, according to the Ministry of Women and Social affairs or MoWSA reports.

Most of the returnees, 2893, were male migrant workers who had been detained for illegal entry into the Gulf nation.

The remaining repatriates were 209 women with 74 children.

The returnees were taken to a shelter center where they are receiving care and support, said the ministry, before sending off to their respective localities.

Authorities started the ongoing repatriation push on March 30, 2022, with a target to repatriate at least 102,000 of its citizens who are held in Saud’s detention centers and prisons within eleven months.

So far, 35,497 Ethiopian nationals have come back to their country, said MoWSA. its officials said the operation, involving nine flights a week, will continue for the next six months.

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

The Ethiopian Embassy in Dar es Salaam in collaboration with the IOM has also facilitated the repatriation of 20 Ethiopians, aged between 11-17, from Tanzania, this week.

“The returnees were detained in prisons in Tanzania while trying to cross the country heading to South Africa,” said Ambassador Dina Mufti, spokesperson of the Foreign Ministry of Ethiopia. “Many Ethiopians are in Tanzanian detention centers being victims of Human Traffickers.”

The government is in talks with Tanzania and other partners to repatriate the remaining Ethiopians detained in Tanzania prisons, he added.