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Sudan says Eritrean refugees increasing considerably

January 17, 2008 (KHARTOUM) — The number of Eritrean refugees in eastern Sudan has increased considerably, an official from the ruling party in eastern Sudan said.

Recently an Eritrean opposition group, Democratic Movement for the Liberation of Eritrean Kunama (DMLEK), told Sudan Tribune, that some 5,000 Eritreans have fled to Sudan between November and December 2007.

Idris Ali Mohamed, the director of organizations at the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) in the state of Kassala, said that the movement of Eritrean and Somali refugees into Sudanese territory has become a problem to the state after their numbers have increased considerably.

He explained that the state receives on a daily basis between 50 to 70 Eritrean and Somali refugees at a monthly rate of 1,600, and that they are mostly young, between the ages of 18 to 20 years old, the pro-NCP, SMC reported.

According to Idris, the increase in the number of Eritrean refugees is largely due to the drought that struck the region, and to the warning signs of a war between Ethiopia and Eritrea.

However 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.

Idris noted that the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees and the competent bodies are working to reconcile their food, legal and medical situation to ensure their safety from within the camp in the state of Kassala.

Last December an opposition website accused Eritrea of abducting 4000 refugees from refugees’ centres in Sudan. The refugees are lured by the Eritrean government agents who promise them better jobs in Khartoum and other Sudanese business cities, the opposition alleged.

(ST)