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Ethiopians Cross into Kenya after deadly Military Attack

Over 8,000 Ethiopians have crossed into neighboring Kenya to seek asylum after government troops killed at least nine civilians in the border town of Moyale, says the International Red Cross.

The Kenyan part of Moyale town is staring at a possible humanitarian crisis. The town straddles the porous Ethiopian-Kenyan border and the number of refugees fleeing a military operation in Ethiopia is rising by the hour. Education has been crippled in the Kenyan town as schools closed down to host the asylum seekers. Some people are nursing gunshot wounds and humanitarian agencies are calling for urgent assistance.

At Kenya’s Moyale Hospital, doctors have been overwhelmed by the number of people seeking treatment for gunshot wounds. Public health officer Sacha Tacho describes the situation: “We have another very sick patient in the ward, with a bullet in the neck, the bullet is still in the neck and we cannot remove it here in Moyale.”

Solomon Gubo, the Deputy Governor of Moyale County, says that they are helping the refugees to settle in, but it is proving to be a challenge especially due to the heavy rains and insufficient humanitarian assistance. “There is no housing, there is no food; that is the challenge we are facing as of now,” says Gubo.

A military operation that started almost one week ago triggered the sudden influx of people from Ethiopia. The government in Addis Ababa had announced the deployment of soldiers to the Moyale area, saying that they were pursuing fighters of the Oromo Liberation Front, which the government has banned as a terrorist group.

According to the government-run Ethiopian News Agency, some soldiers then launched an attack based on a faulty intelligence report. The forces reportedly killed at least nine people and injured 12. The government has said it has now disarmed five of the officers involved and declared that they would now face an investigation and military court.

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