Tue, 19 Mar 2019

Ethiopia is assisting 541 nationals stranded in Tanzania to obtain travel documents and return home, the foreign ministry said on Friday.

Every year hundreds of Ethiopian migrants are detained or end up stranded in Tanzania while passing through on the way to South Africa.

"We're finalising preparations to return our 541 nationals from Tanzania, who have already received travel documents necessary to return to Ethiopia in the coming few days," said Nebiat Getachew, spokesman for the foreign ministry.

Separately, Tanzania last week agreed to release 1 900 Ethiopian prisoners, according to an Ethiopian embassy statement which had not detailed why they were being held.

In recent years, Ethiopian authorities have tried to crack down on illegal migration of its citizens by toughening anti-human trafficking laws and running adverts warning of the dangers of illegal migration.

Still, thousands of Ethiopians continue to attempt migration to South Africa, the Arabian Peninsula and the European mainland.

Landlocked Ethiopia is Africa's second most populous country, with over 100 million people, and the fastest growing in the region, but it remains one of the poorest, with 24% of the population living under the poverty line, according to the World Bank.

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