The Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) has so far received 2,000 Ethiopian asylum seekers in the northern border town of Moyale following their displacement in a shootout at the common frontier.
The Ethiopian government forces on Saturday “mistakenly” killed nine civilians near the Kenyan border town of Moyale after mistaking the Ethiopians for members of the banned Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) who were attempting to sneak into the country, reported Daily Nation, Kenya’s highest circulation newspaper.
The KRCS said the displaced persons are hosted in four centres.
“The KRCS immediately released family kits (tarpaulins, kitchen sets, Mosquito nets, bar soaps, thermal blankets and jerrycans), which were distributed among the displaced families,” the agency said in a statement.
The society said the asylum seekers began streaming in on Saturday night, most of whom were women and children.
Kenya’s Eastern Region police commander Moses Ombati said on Monday that security has been beefed up in the area with other government agencies being involved in screening the arriving Ethiopians.
“We are on the ground to ensure things are okay,” Ombati said.
Ombati noted that security has been reinforced on the side of Kenya in Moyale town to deal with the arriving refugees.
He said that they were accommodated at local schools with hopes that the situation will calm down.
They were provided with food and other services at local centres.
“We hope things can cool down before the situation worsens. Many people have arrived but we have sought help from other agencies to deal with it,” said Ombati.
The report said the five Ethiopian soldiers involved in the shootout have been arrested.
The fleeing civilians said a military unit had been deployed to Moyale to intercept anti-government elements belonging to the OLF.
According to Daily Nation, the Ethiopian military mistakenly opened fire and killed civilians, which prompted the exodus from the Ethiopian side.
Those who crossed the border to Kenya told Kenyan security agents that electricity had been cut off in the town which forced the residents to flee into Kenya in fear of more attacks.
Ethiopia is currently under a state of emergency due to protests after the resignation of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.