Kenya has indefinitely closed its border with Ethiopia following the unrest in the neighbouring country.

The government has also heightened surveillance along the 800 kilometre border to check against illegal influx of immigrants.

The development came as Ethiopia’s cabinet declared a nationwide State of Emergency for the next six months following the advance of Tigrayan rebels towards the capital Addis Ababa.

The country’s Prime Minister Ahmed Abiy announced a State of Emergency in the face of what he called a threat that could push the country to its demise.

Earlier, an emergency meeting was held between Kenyan authorities and the United Nation Human Rights Commission to plan for a likely influx of displaced persons.

Experts expect an estimated five million refugees to attempt to cross the border should the country fall.

Kenyans have also been advised to exercise vigilance and practice caution in their surroundings.

A statement by the National Police Service (NPS) also calls on Kenyans to immediately report suspected cases of undocumented aliens and unprocessed immigrants in the country.

The war has created a humanitarian crisis, with reports from aid organisations indicating that thousands of people have been killed.

Daniel Bekele, Chief of Ethiopia UN Human Rights Commission, said: “Various acts of sexual and gender-based violence including rape, gang rape, intentional transmission of HIV virus, were committed by all parties to the conflict.”

He added: “Women and girls whose male family members were Tigrayan combatants were targeted by the Eritrean Defence Forces, the Eritrean forces, and wives of the Ethiopia’s National Defence Force, the wives of the Ethiopian forces soldiers, were similarly targeted by the Tigrayan forces for sexual and gender-based violence.

A joint investigation by the Ethiopian human rights commission and the UN human rights office also suggests that all sides in Ethiopia’s Tigray conflict have violated international human rights. 

The report covers the year-long conflict fought by Tigrayan forces against the Ethiopian military and its allies, the forces from the Amhara region and soldiers from the neighbouring country of Eritrea.

Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for human rights, said: “Civilians in Tigray have been subjected to brutal violence and suffering. The Joint Investigation Team uncovered numerous violations and abuses, including unlawful killings and extra-judicial executions, torture, sexual and gender-based violence, violations against refugees and forced displacement of civilians.”

The war began a year ago after regional forces and Tigrayan soldiers in the national army seized control of military bases across Tigray, after the region held its own elections despite a government directive delaying them.

The conflict has left about 400,000 people in Tigray facing famine, has killed thousands of civilians and has forced more than 2.5 million people in Northern Ethiopia to flee their homes.

By Citizen Digital

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