Aid activities restricted in Ethiopia refugee camps

A camp for displaced Somalis in Dolo Ado, Ethiopia. Photo by: Trond Viken / Utenriksdepartementet

 Aid agencies have restricted their operations in five Somali refugee camps in Ethiopia following an isolated security incident there last week.

U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees spokesperson Andrej Mahečić said three armed men open fired on an international aid group’s vehicle while traveling from the town of Dollo Ado to one of five refugee camps in the area. No one was hurt in the isolated incident but aid groups decided to restrict “all but essential activities and movements” in all five camps, Mahečić explained.

“These are temporary measures while the Ethiopian authorities conduct their investigation and additional steps are taken to increase security for humanitarian staff,” Mahečić said, adding that the UNHCR team continues to operate in the camp farthest from Ethiopia’s border with Somalia.

Mahečić did express concern over the state of security not only in Dollo Ado but in Kenya’s largest refugee camp in Dadaab, which has seen a spate of violence since October 2011. He said the “threat of improvised explosive devices, kidnappings, vehicle hijackings and banditry remains high” and this has “seriously curbed” aid operations as well as restricted the movement of humanitarian workers.

>> Security concerns remain in Kenyan refugee complex

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About the author

  • Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.