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Somalia: refugee report concocted by Ethiopia

Somali authorities have described as concocted a report by Ethiopian officials that 300,000 people left Somalia over the past eight months to seek refuge in Ethiopia.

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Radio Somalia, monitored here Monday night, said not a single refugee had left Somalia for Ethiopia but that people were fleeing from Ethiopia ''in all directions.''

The broadcast said the refugees were Ethiopian political prisoners forcibly placed in camps to permit Ethiopia ''to mislead the world, pretending they were refugees so as to obtain humanitarian aid under false pretenses.''

Ethiopia said last weekend that most of the 300,000 were Somali nationals fleeing what it called government persecution. This contradicted statements by relief workers from the United Nations and the Red Cross, who had said earlier this year that the returning refugees were Ethiopian nationals of ethnic Somali origin who fled to refugee camps in Somalia during the 1977-78 Ogaden war.

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