The Government of Saudi Arabia released 1,400 Ethiopians who were imprisoned, said, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia. The Ministry reported that the release was possible due to coordinated efforts with its embassy and consular office in Saudi Arabia. About 300 of those who were released are expected to have landed at the Addis Ababa Bole International Airport Wednesday evening. The remaining 1,100 are presumed to arrive within the next week.
The flow of young Ethiopians as migrant workers throughout the Middle East and the Gulf States has become common in the country. The number has increased dramatically since 1990 due to an increase in rural and urban poverty and other factors.
Reports show that at least 460,000 Ethiopian workers were in the middle east in the year 2013. While some Ethiopians work legally in the Middle East, others travel without visas despite having to cross through war-torn Yemen and risk a dangerous and illegal boat trip across the Gulf of Aden.
It is estimated every year thousands of Ethiopians enter Saudi Arabia illegally looking for better economic opportunities. In recent years Saudi Arabia has arrested thousands of Ethiopians accused of various crimes ranging from illegal entry to brewing illicit alcoholic drinks.