Concerns over the safety of Nigerians caught up in the Ethiopian civil war

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The civil war in Ethiopia is a security concern for Nigerians living in this East African country following the advice issued by some countries and organizations for their citizens and staff to leave the country amid the escalation of civil war.

As of this story, Nigerian authorities have yet to issue a travel advice or evacuation plan for Nigerians who may be trapped in the war-torn country, claiming they have not still received distress calls from Nigerians residing in the country.

Ethiopia is the second largest country in Africa with 118 million inhabitants and is home to the headquarters of the African Union where many Nigerians work.

The Ethiopian government on Thursday closed all secondary schools in the country due to the war against Tigrayan rebel forces.

The government also declared a state of emergency four weeks ago and ordered residents to prepare to defend the capital.

The UN has since evacuated the families of its international staff.

In November, the U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia, in a statement, warned U.S. citizens to leave the country.

He said: “The security situation in Ethiopia continues to deteriorate. The U.S. Embassy urges U.S. citizens in Ethiopia to leave now using the options available commercially.

“Although the embassy continues to process emergency passports and repatriation loans, and provide other emergency services, the embassy is unlikely to be able to assist U.S. citizens in Ethiopia from if trade options become unavailable. “

The embassy also said that U.S. citizens wishing to leave the country have several options for commercial flights to Bole International Airport and added that it will provide repatriation loans to citizens who cannot afford a ticket. commercial aircraft for the United States.

Likewise, the UK has also advised its citizens to leave Ethiopia “immediately when they still have the option of boarding commercial flights into the Horn of Africa country”.

The situation in Ethiopia “is deteriorating rapidly” and the fighting could draw closer to the capital, Addis Ababa, in the coming days, British Minister for Africa Vicky Ford said in a statement at the end of November.

However, the Nigerian government reportedly intends to issue advisories to Nigerians living in the war-torn country, while it is uncertain whether there are evacuation plans, as Nigerian ministry sources Foreign Affairs said they have yet to receive all distress calls from Nigerians living in the country.

Speaking to LEADERSHIP on the matter on Sunday, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Esther Sunsuwa said that although the country has not received any distress calls from Nigerians in the country, the Nigerian embassy in the country is monitoring the situation and will act accordingly. .

“For our part, we have not received any distress calls from Nigerians in Ethiopia. If the situation is so alarming, our embassy is there and they know what to do. The embassy deals with the security issue of Nigerians.

“The ministry has not issued any advice, but a plan is underway. But I don’t know how long it can be or how long it will take because we have to work with our embassy which is there so that we can get it right, ”she said.

Also speaking on the matter, Nigerian Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) spokesperson Abdul Rahman Balogun said the situation may not have reached an alarming level as the commission failed to reach an alarming level. no evacuation calls from Nigerians in that country have yet been received.

He assured, however, that the commission and other government agencies would still assist Nigerians in troubled areas in the same way they recently did by evacuating thousands of Nigerians from troubled areas of the world.

“I don’t think it’s reached the level where countries are evacuating their people. I don’t think it has reached that level because the Ethiopian airline is still flying. It has not reached such an alarming stage, as no one has called for help – that they want to be evacuated from Ethiopia. When we had a similar incident in Ghana, the Nigerians called out to the Nigerian government to pull them out of there and the government responded quickly, ”he said.

Efforts to reach the Ethiopian Embassy in Nigeria for more information were unsuccessful.

War began in November 2020 between the Ethiopian government led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and rebels in northern Tigray, when Tigray forces were accused of attacking a military base to steal weapons.

Prime Minister Ahmed then launched a military campaign against Tigray forces, which left thousands dead and a frightening humanitarian crisis that the UN and its agencies are struggling to contain.

Both sides have reportedly committed human rights violations in the conflict, particularly in the Tigray region where much of the conflict took place.

Palpable tension gripped the country when rebels from Tigray threatened the capital, Addis Ababa, forcing Prime Minister Ahmed to wage war at the front as the situation deteriorated further.

According to the United Nations, more than 400,000 people are at risk of starving to death in a war that has displaced more than two million people in one year.

Meanwhile, a French media outlet, France24, reports that another rebel group, the Oromo Liberation Army, which is linked to the Tigray Defense Forces, is fighting the government from the south and west of the country.

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