Home South African ‘No decision yet’ to evacuate South Africans from conflict-ridden Ethiopia

‘No decision yet’ to evacuate South Africans from conflict-ridden Ethiopia

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South Africa has not reached a decision to evacuate its citizens from conflict-ridden Ethiopia, says the Department of International Relations and Co-operation.

Members of Amhara region militias ride on their truck as they head to face the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), in Sanja, Amhara region near a border with Tigray, Ethiopia. File picture: Reuters/Tiksa Negeri

SOUTH Africa has not reached a decision to evacuate citizens from conflict-ridden Ethiopia.

South Africa’s spokesperson for the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) Clayson Monyela told African News Agency (ANA) on Wednesday that there was “no decision yet on the evacuation of our nationals” from Ethiopia.

This is despite South Africa’s “deep concern about the expansion and intensification of military clashes in northern Ethiopia”.

Dirco has advised South Africans to ensure they have adequate travel insurance and called for non-essential travellers to postpone their trips until the security situation has improved.

South Africans who are unable to postpone their travels to Ethiopia have been asked to inform the South African embassy in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa of their presence.

“This is to ensure we can locate them should they find themselves in distress and consular services are required,” Dirco said.

On Tuesday, Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema safely evacuated 31 Zambians from Ethiopia as the armed conflict intensified, becoming the first African country to do so.

“Fellow Zambians, on my orders, we have today safely evacuated our fellow citizens from Ethiopia. We thank the Ethiopian authorities for their co-operation and everyone involved in this operation. We pray that the conflict in Ethiopia is resolved as soon as possible,” Hichilema said, according to local news publication Lusaka Times on Tuesday.

“The life of every Zambian matters wherever they are,” Hichilema added on Twitter following the arrival of the 31 Zambians.

Countries such as the US and the UK have urged their citizens not to travel to Ethiopia.

On Tuesday, the UK government called for British nationals to leave while commercial flights were still available.

“Consular support is severely limited across Ethiopia. In the event of deterioration in the political or security situation, the British embassy may be limited in the assistance that it can provide. Do not rely on the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) being able to evacuate you in an emergency,” FCDO said.

In November last year, a military offensive was launched against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) after the Ethiopian federal government accused the TPLF of attacking a federal military base in Ethiopia’s northern region of Tigray.

Millions have been displaced and are suffering from famine-like conditions in Ethiopia after more than a year of armed conflict.

A joint investigation released by the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and the UN Human Rights Office in late October documented sexual and gender-based violence, unlawful killings, torture, forced displacement of civilians and violations against refugees between November 3, 2020, and June 28, 2021.

– African News Agency (ANA)

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