Representative image Photograph:( AFP )
The personnel were due to be repatriated on the back of the phased withdrawal of the UN peacekeeping mission, UNAMID, from western Sudan's Darfur region after its mandate ended on December 31
The United Nations said on Sunday that around 120 peacekeepers from Ethiopia were seeking asylum in Sudan. Several regions in Ethiopia including Tigray are hit by inter-ethnic conflict.
The personnel were due to be repatriated on the back of the phased withdrawal of the UN peacekeeping mission, UNAMID, from western Sudan's Darfur region after its mandate ended on December 31.
"As of now, 120 former UNAMID peacekeepers who were due to be repatriated have sought international protection," a UN peacekeeping spokesperson told AFP via email.
The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, also confirmed the former peacekeepers have applied for asylum in Sudan.
They "will be taken to a location where they can be safely undertaken for their refugee status to be determined," it said without elaborating, due to "protection purposes".
It wasn't immediately clear whether all former peacekeepers who sought asylum were from Tigray region.
Conflict in Tigray broke out last November between federal forces of Ethiopia and leaders of the region's ruling party. The conflict has left thousands dead.
The fighting sent some 60,000 refugees fleeing into neighbouring Sudan, a nation struggling with economic woes and a rocky transition since the April 2019 ouster of strongman Omar al-Bashir.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, winner of the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize, is also grappling with ethnic violence in other regions including Amhara, Oromia and Benishangul-Gumuz.
(With inputs from agencies)