Ethiopia 5000 Ethiopian refugees flee to Kenya after botched security operation against Oromo Liberation Front left several civilians dead

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Some of those fleeing had moved with their livestock, compounding pressure on struggling relief agencies, the Red Cross added.

play Ethiopia soldiers. (Ethiopia Observer)

Kenya is battling with an upsurge of about 5,000 Ethiopians who are seeking refuge in the country following a botched security operation targeting militants that lead to several civilians getting killed.

The refugees made up of mostly women and children, including "pregnant and lactating mothers, chronically ill persons, those abled differently and the elderly” begun arriving in Kenya on March 10, according to the Kenyan Red Cross.

play A file photo of Moyale town. (VOA News)


In a statement Tuesday, the Kenyan Red Cross Society said "the population of refugees from Ethiopia continues to increase" and was now estimated at 5,000.

Some of those fleeing had moved with their livestock, compounding pressure on struggling relief agencies, the Red Cross added.

Terrified refugees say they run for their lives and remain fearful.

“I have 13 children,” one woman who had taken refuge in Kenya told the VOA in the same report.

“The soldiers would even enter your home and shoot you before you have a chance to ask why. So we escaped. I ran out without even locking the door of my home. I am spending the night where I can, but I have nothing to feed my children.”

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play Red Cross Secretary General Abbas Gullet. (the star)


Ethiopian state media reported Sunday that soldiers had been deployed to an area near the town of Moyale in Oromia, a region that borders Kenya, in pursuit of Oromo Liberation Front fighters who had crossed into the country from Kenya.

But faulty intelligence led soldiers to launch an attack that killed nine civilians and injured 12 others, the Ethiopian News Agency said.


play Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) rebels walk from their training camp in southern Ethiopia, near the border town of Moyale, July 19, 2009. (Reuters)

The Oromo Liberation Front is a secessionist group which the Ethiopian government describes as terrorist.

Outbreaks of violence have continued in Oromia province even after Ethiopia declared a six-month, nationwide state of emergency last month following the resignation of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.

A state official in the Oromia region told Reuters on condition of anonymity that tens of thousands of people have also been internally displaced.

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