The United Nations on Sunday confirmed that about 120 former peacekeepers from Ethiopia, where several regions including northern Tigray are hard-hit by inter-ethnic conflict, have sought asylum in Sudan.
The personnel were to be repatriated as part of the phased withdrawal of the U.N. peacekeeping mission, UNAMID, from western Sudan’s Darfur region after its mandate ended December 31.
The U.N. refugee agency, UNHCR, also confirmed the former peacekeepers have applied for asylum in Sudan.
They “will be taken to a location where they can safely undertake their refugee status to be determined for protection purposes”.
It was not immediately clear if all the former peacekeepers seeking asylum are of Ethiopia’s Tigray origin.
The Ethiopia-Tigray conflict broke out last November between Ethiopia’s federal forces and leaders of the region’s ruling party, killing thousands.
The fighting sent about 60,000 refugees fleeing into neighboring Sudan, a nation struggling with economy its and a rocky transition since the April 2019 ouster of former President Omar al-Bashir.
According to the U.N, the fighting killed some 300,000 people and displaced 2.5 million.