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Saturday, June 18, 2005

Hundreds of Eritreans Flee to Ethiopia

IOL:Africa --More than 600 Eritreans have crossed into neighbouring Ethiopia in the last nine months seeking political asylum, state radio reported on Friday.

Up to 634 Eritreans opposed to the rule of President Isayas Afewerki, had crossed the border, the radio quoted police in Ethiopia's northern Tigray region as saying.

It said 117 were women while the rest were Eritrean soldiers, trainee soldiers or university students.

Eritrea said the report exaggerated the number who had left and accused Ethiopia of raising the issue to divert attention from tensions at home over its disputed May 15 elections.

Opposition allegations of fraud in Ethiopia's parliamentary polls triggered demonstrations in the capital Addis Ababa last week, and at least 36 people were killed when police opened fire on rock-throwing protesters.

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