The Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Tuesday it had repatriated 408 of its nationals from war-torn Yemen.
In a news release, the ministry said the 408 Ethiopians were repatriated in recent days in collaboration with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), Ethiopian Airlines and Ethiopia Department for Immigration and Nationality Affairs.
The ministry said the Ethiopian nationals had been serving prison sentences in Yemen and accused of unlawfully entering the country.
The Ethiopian nationals were using Yemen as a transit point to their final destination, Saudi Arabia.
Every year, thousands of Ethiopians looking for better economic opportunities abroad are estimated to be trafficked through Somalia, Djibouti and the Red Sea to reach the Arabian Peninsula.
Similarly, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Tuesday urged Yemen’s warring factions to end the war that devastated the Red Sea nation during the past four years period.
Ahmed, in his message to the warring factions in Yemen, said on Monday the war, which destroyed the country and its people, is devastating a country, which “once was the centre of civilisation” in the Red Sea region.
According to the UN recent report, “Yemen is the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.’’
More than 22 million people – three-quarters of the population – need humanitarian aid and protection as the conflict enters its fourth year, according to the AU.
“Think about what your country has come to from separation, fighting, and killing.
“Think of the common good rather than personal interests, and renounce sectarianism and fragmentation,” Ahmed urged the Yemenis.
Yemen, lying along the Red Sea coast, is a major part of thousands of Ethiopian migrants as they illegally cross Yemen’s border in search of better working condition in Gulf countries, mainly the region’s economic powerhouse Saudi Arabia.
The ongoing conflict in Yemen, which is still impacting the country in its fourth year, has not stemmed the flow of migrants to Yemen from Ethiopia as well as other African countries.
According to the IOM, the majority of Ethiopian and other African migrants are intent on reaching Yemen and the Gulf countries for work opportunities.
Many, however, upon arrival in Yemen are unable to continue the journey due to the security situation, which includes severely restricted land routes and closed borders, according to the UN Migration Agency.
As thousands still pursue the dangerous Red Sea crossing, the Ethiopian government, in partnership with IOM, has repatriated more than 668 Ethiopian migrants so far, who were stranded in the war-torn nation.