‘Go and we die, stay and we starve’: the Ethiopians facing a deadly dilemma

In the rarely visited town of Gedeb, fears are rife over state plans to return 150,000 people to areas they fled because of ethnic violence

Last week, a car rolled through the town of Gedeb in southern Ethiopia, flanked by federal police. A local official made an announcement to roughly 150,000 people who, displaced from their homes, have sought sanctuary in makeshift camps in the town and across the surrounding farmland.

In two days’ time, they were told through a loudspeaker, their shelters – mostly built of firewood, banana leaves and the odd tarpaulin sheet – would be demolished. Food aid, medical treatment and other humanitarian assistance would soon stop.

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‘Go and we die, stay and we starve’: the Ethiopians facing a deadly dilemma