21,000 Eritreans Repatriated by UNHCR since End of July
Some 21,000 of the 90,000 Eritreans who fled into eastern Sudan to escape recent fighting with Ethiopia have been voluntarily repatriated since July 25th, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said in Geneva Thursday.
Some 12,000 of the returnees were from the Shagareb camp, about 70 kilometers from the border, said UNHCR spokeswoman Delphine Marie.
Thousands of others came from the Lafa and Gulsa camps.
More than 200 trucks under UNHCR supervision made the trips to Eritrea and back to Sudan, Marie said.
The Eritreans were taken to cities deemed safe, such as Guluj, Tesseney, Gergef and Tebeldia, and will be housed in transition camps until they can return to their homes, mostly located in areas still under Ethiopian control.
Elsewhere, those who were displaced within the country by the fighting have begun to return to safe zones in southwestern Eritrea.
By mid-July, some 25,000 had already returned to Tesseney and Guluj, with new arrivals from occupied zones noted every day.
War broke out in May 1998 between the two Horn of African countries over a border dispute. The two sides signed a cease-fire deal on June 18th in Algiers - GENEVA (AFP)
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