By Tesfa Alem Tekle
(ADDIS ABABA) – The Ethiopian government has begun efforts to rescue Ethiopians stranded at remote sites and in the rebel-controlled eastern part of Libya, a government statement said on Wednesday.
The statement said that the Ethiopian government in collaboration with Sudanese embassy in Libya has begun registering own citizens in the capital Tripoli, Benghazi and other towns.
A number of countries have been evacuating foreigners by air by sea. Secret military missions have also been used to repatriate citizens as anti-government mass protests have broken out over the last two weeks.
Listen German Radio interview with Ethiopians in Libya
Ethiopian state television last night aired a list of contact numbers for Ethiopians in Libya seeking to get information regarding the rescue operation.
The move comes after Ethiopians trapped in opposition controlled part of Libya appeal to human rights advocates and leaders of the Peoples’ Movement in Libya for their immediate protection.
The Ethiopians said they are working in Libya simply because they were looking for opportunity however they said that because of their nationality, skin color and ethnic differences, they are being mistaken as being mercenaries and as a result they have been mistreated, attacked and beaten.
Sudan’s government has said that Darfur rebels have fought on the side of the government in the clashes.
Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia (SMNE), a non-political and non-violent social justice movement, also said that the Ethiopians are in serious jeopardy as they are running out of food and are afraid to go out on the streets.
Fears of a full-scale civil war in the turbulent Arab nation has driven countries including china, US, UK and many others to rush to try and rescue their citizens.
The UN Security Council on Sunday unanimously imposed tough sanctions on the Gaddafi regime in the form of an arms embargo, asset freezes and travel ban.
It has also ordered an international war crimes probe into the bloodshed in Libya.
Similarly on Tuesday the general assembly suspended Libya from the United Nations Human Rights Council for “gross and systematic” human rights violations because of the violent repression of peaceful protesters by Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.