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Ethiopian team in Kenya to track, help compatriots Thousands of Ethiopians

Thousands of Ethiopians  reported to have fled to Kenya after security forces killed 9 civilians in Moyale town

By Addis Getachew and Munira Abdelmenan Awel – ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia

Ethiopia’s Oromia state said it has dispatched a team to Kenya to track thousands of its compatriots, who are reported to have fled after Ethiopian security forces killed nine civilians and injured 12 others in Moyale town, which borders Kenya.

On Tuesday, the command post set up to oversee the implementation of Feb. 19 State of Emergency said a unit of soldiers acted on incorrect information and killed the civilians “mistakenly” — a claim the mayor of the town contested, saying there were no armed people in the town.

The soldiers involved in the killing were put under custody and an inquiry has been launched, according to the command post.

The Oromia state’s communication bureau told Anadolu Agency that a team was dispatched to track and help the people who fled the area to Kenya.

The Kenyan Red Cross Society in a statement issued on Monday said it had received at least 2,000 Ethiopian asylum seekers following their displacement from Ethiopia.

“The asylum seekers began streaming in on Saturday [and] majority of them [are] women and children,” it said.

It said family kits were immediately released including tarpaulins, kitchen sets, mosquito nets, bar soaps, thermal blankets and jerrycans.

The government of Mersabit county in Kenya has also provided food to the displaced persons, the Kenyan Red Cross Society noted.

The killings in Ethiopia happened as the executive committee of the ruling coalition Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front was about to meet to elect the new prime minister after the incumbent submitted his resignation on Feb. 15.

Ethiopia is broiled in a political turmoil and over the past two years fierce anti-government movements have been witnessed in Oromia and Amhara regions — the first and the second most populous regions respectively accounting for more than 60 percent of Ethiopia’s 100 million population.