Many Ethiopians, including soldiers, fled the escalating conflict in the restive Tigray region to neighbouring Sudan on Monday, Sudanese state media and residents said.
The flare-up in the northern region bordering Eritrea and Sudan has killed hundreds of people, Ethiopian sources on the government side said.
This was even as the prime minister, Abiy Ahmed sought on Monday to reassure the world his nation was not sliding into civil war.
The worsening conflict threatens to destabilise Africa’s second most populous nation, where ethnic conflict has already killed hundreds since Abiy took over in 2018.
Four Ethiopian families alongside 30 armed federal soldiers crossed the border to Sudan’s Al-Luqdi area in the eastern al-Qadarif state on Monday, Sudanese state news agency SUNA reported citing witnesses, adding that the soldiers belong to Amhara tribes.
Large numbers of other fleeing Ethiopians crossed the border to rural areas in al Fashqa region in al-Qadarif state, the agency added.
Local officials in the region are working with the Sudanese Commission of Refugees to prepare a camp to host the fleeing Ethiopian refugees, it said.
Residents living in Sudanese border areas confirmed the report to Reuters.
The local government in al-Qadarif state began closing its border with the Ethiopian regions of Tigray and Amhara on Thursday evening until further notice, in response to the conflict.
Sudan’s Security and Defence Council discussed the developments in Ethiopian on Monday and called all parties to seek a peaceful solution to the conflict, SUNA said.