NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — The Ethiopian government said Tuesday it will investigate a report by a human rights group of killings of hundreds its nationals at the Yemen-Saudi border.
Ethiopia’s Foreign Ministry said the investigation will be done “in tandem with the Saudi authorities.”
The New York-based group Human Rights Watch released a report on Monday citing eyewitness accounts of attacks by border guards in Saudi Arabia using machine guns and mortars on unarmed Ethiopians trying to cross into the kingdom from Yemen.
The ministry called for restraint and advised against making “unnecessary speculation until an investigation is completed,” saying the two countries “enjoy excellent longstanding relations.”
A Saudi government official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly, called the Human Rights Watch report “unfounded and not based on reliable sources,” but did not offer evidence to support the assertion.
The United Nations has already questioned Saudi Arabia about its troops opening fire on migrants in an escalating pattern of attacks along its southern border with war-torn Yemen.
About 750,000 Ethiopians live in Saudi Arabia, with as many as 450,000 likely having entered without authorization, according to 2022 statistics from the International Organization for Migration. A two-year civil war in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region displaced tens of thousands of people.
Saudi Arabia, struggling with youth unemployment, has been sending thousands back to Ethiopia in concert with the Ethiopian government.