Prison break: Yemeni guards assist 1,000 Ethiopians fleeing detention

Prison break: Yemeni guards assist 1,000 Ethiopians fleeing detention
Guards at a detention centre for illegal immigrants in Yemen's southern Shabwa province have helped 1,000 Ethiopian detainees escape, officials admitted on Wednesday.
2 min read
12 October, 2016

Around a thousand Ethiopian migrants have escaped a detention centre in southern Yemen with the help of guards, a security official said on Wednesday.

The detainees fled the centre before dawn break, the official said, where around 1,400 Ethiopians are being held before their return to Ethiopia for illegally entering Yemen.

The escape from the centre in the Shabwa provincial capital of Ataq was "well organised", he noted.

"The escapees boarded vehicles that were waiting for them to take them to the neighbouring provinces of Marib and Bayda."

Late last month, Yemeni authorities deported at least 220 illegal African immigrants, many of whom held Ethiopian nationalities, from the southern port city of Aden.

Hundreds of Ethiopians have arrived in the south of Yemen in the past months despite clashes between government forces and Houthi rebels across much of the south, as well as Saudi-led coalition airstrikes in the north.

The coalition intervened in March last year to reinstate the internationally-recognised government of President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi, after the rebels overran much of the country, including the capital Sanaa.

Loyalists accuse the Houthis of recruiting to migrants who have entered the country illegally, but no independent source has confirmed this.

The rebels and their allies still control most of the Red Sea coast, as well as the capital and much of the central and northern highlands.

Meanwhile, government forces maintain control of most of Marib except for the oil-rich Sarwah area where they are fighting the rebels.

Meanwhile al-Qaeda insurgents control Bayda and some surrounding areas.

More than 10,000 people have been killed since the Saudi-led intervention began, almost two-thirds of them civilians, the United Nations says.