ADDIS ABABA, June 30 (Xinhua) -- Ethiopia has repatriated 43,061 nationals from Saudi Arabia in the past three months, an Ethiopian official said Thursday.
Speaking to state media outlets, Minister of Ethiopia Government Communication Service Legesse Tulu said the large-scale repatriation process from Saudi Arabia was undertaken between March 30 to the end of June.
Tulu, however, said the number of Ethiopian returnees from Saudi Arabia in the last three months is only 42 percent of the planned target for the stated period.
He also said Ethiopia will in the coming months further beef up efforts to return Ethiopian nationals from Saudi Arabia.
According to the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, more than 750,000 Ethiopians are living in Saudi Arabia, 450,000 of them without proper documents.
Estimates suggest that thousands of Ethiopians are trafficked to the Arabian Peninsula via Djibouti and war-torn Yemen every year, risking imprisonment and killings along the way.
In recent months, Ethiopia has stepped up efforts to take back its citizens stranded overseas, mainly in Saudi Arabia, as part of the government's "citizen-centered diplomacy."
The government is also working to dismantle sophisticated human trafficking networks and create economic opportunities for nationals with low incomes.