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Over 300 Eritrean refugees cross to Sudan during one week

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June 14, 2009 (NAIROBI) — Over three hundred of Eritrean refugees have arrived in Sudan in the past weeks seeking political asylum, an opposition party said on Saturday.

Some "336 Eritrean refugees arrived in Shegerab refugee camp, in Eastern Sudan between May 30 and June 7, 2009,” reported Nharnet, an Eritrean opposition website.

The new arrivals would be seeking political asylum in Sudan, sources from the opposition Eritrean People’s Party told the website.

Among the 336 there are some 99 women, and 83 children the report said.

The new arrivals added to the 10202 Eritrean refugees who arrived to refugee camps in Sudan’s Sudan’s desert east since January 2009.

Sudan, which is a hosting country for Eritrean refugees since the long separatist conflict with Ethiopia, saw their number increased considerably since last year.

The Eritrean opposition attributes this visible movement of displacement to the political repression, the compulsory mass conscription and the bad economic situation in the country

Also, waves of Eritrean refugees were driven into Sudan due to the compulsory military service and the penalties for not doing the services and the penalties that are imposed on family members.

Military service lasts a minimum 18 months but authorities can extend it to as much as 10 years, with wages less than $25 a month. Around 10 percent of Eritrea’s population is said to be in the army.

(ST)

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