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Tuesday, 26 June, 2001, 15:29 GMT 16:29 UK
Ethiopians on hunger strike in Kenya
Students in Kenya
The students fear persecution at the nothern Kenya camp
More than 40 Ethiopian students in Kenya have gone on hunger strike outside the offices of the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) in Nairobi.


We have been informed that it is not good to live in camps in Kenya

Ethiopian student
They are protesting against a plan to relocate them to Kakuma refugee camp in northern Kenya.

They fear for their safety in Kakuma suggesting that they could easily be found by people who want to kill them.

The students, who fled to Kenya earlier this year following clashes with security forces in Ethiopia, have accused the refugee agency of unfair treatment.

UNHCR spokesman Paul Stromberg denied this and said the students would be safe in Kakuma.

No end

The students say they will not give up their hunger strike until their demands are met.

"We will not go," one student told Associated Press. "There is no security, we will not go to any camp. We have been informed that it is not good to live in camps in Kenya."

The Kenyan Government has asked the UNHCR not to help the students until they are in a refugee camp. The UNHCR says it has to respect the government's wishes.

The riots that broke out in Addis Ababa on 17 and 18 April left nearly 40 people dead as police fired live ammunition into the crowds.

The police also arrested more than 2,000 students. Most were released a week later.

The disturbances had been over academic freedom at Addis Ababa University and the issue has still not been resolved.

Those arriving in Kenya say they fear persecution from the Ethiopian authorities.

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