More than 100 soldiers in Kenya on standby to evacuate Britons from Ethiopia

The conflict in Ethiopia has intensified as 2 million people are now displaced.

Soldiers take up position as they take part in a simulated military exercise of the British Army Training Unit in Kenya (BATUK) together with the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) at the ol-Daiga ranch, high on Kenya's Laikipia plateau on March 27, 2018. (TONY KARUMBA/AFP via Getty Images)

The British Government has placed more than 100 soldiers based in Kenya on standby to move into Ethiopia to help evacuate British citizens caught up in the country’s conflict.

It is unclear exactly how many Britons are in the country, but officials suggest the number is in the hundreds.

According to The Times, a British newspaper, the soldiers were on standby for a “potential evacuation similar to the one in Kabul” where thousands of Afghans and British citizens were flown out of the country.

Ethiopia’s government says it is detaining people suspected of supporting the forces from the Tigray region who are approaching Addis Ababa after a year-long war with Ethiopian forces that was triggered by a political falling-out.

The British government said it had raised this case with Ethiopian authorities. Britain believes a very small number of UK nationals have been detained.

At least two US citizens were among the Tigrayans detained. A hotelier and his son were detained at their home on 2 November, the evening the state of emergency was imposed. Police officers accused them of supporting the Tigray forces.

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Sunday visited Ethiopia. He was received by Ethiopia Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali.

President Kenyatta's visit aims to support the efforts by the African Union (A.U.) to facilitate negotiations toward peace between the Ethiopian government and the Tigray forces.

Ethiopia's war threatens to unleash instability across the fragile Horn of Africa region. The Ethiopian government laid out conditions for possible talks, which includes a ceasefire and the TPLF's recognition of the government's legitimacy.

The TPLF in turn is demanding that aid be let into Tigray, the region where the conflict erupted last year. No supplies have arrived by road since October 18, and 364 trucks are still stuck in the Afar Region awaiting authorization, according to the United Nations (U.N.).

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