Skip to content

Christian Ethiopians Welcomed by Muslim Villagers in Sudan

Tens of thousands of Christian refugees, fleeing the violence in the Tigray region of Ethiopia, have been given a warm welcome by the residents of a sleepy Sudanese town: “We are brothers.” The refugees were hungry and exhausted, their shoes dusty and worn from trudging for four days through the bush and forest of northwestern Ethiopia, hiding from soldiers, as they escaped the conflict in the country’s Tigray region. Since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia ordered a military offensive against the leaders of the restive Tigray region in early November, more than 61,000 Ethiopians have crossed into Sudan, according to the United Nations refugee agency. More than 43,000 of those refugees have crossed the Tekeze River into Hamdayet, a remote and tranquil town in Sudan’s eastern Kassala state. While the United Nations has moved most of the refugees to camps deeper in Sudan, some Ethiopians have lingered in Hamdayet, holding onto the hope of returning home soon. But they have also stayed, they say, because Sudanese families like Mr. Ibrahim’s have opened their homes — and hearts — to them, sharing food, fire and even money.