Violence in the Metikal region, located in Benishangul-Gumuz, is separate from the conflict in the Tigray region in northern Ethiopia, where Ethiopian and other regional allied forces began fighting against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front in early November.
The fighting in Tigray resulted in the escape of more than 61,000 Ethiopians to the states of Gedaref and Kassala in Sudan.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said that most of the 7,000 asylum-seekers have fled Metekle and are living in Sudanese hosting communities.
She added that she is working with local authorities in Blue Nile State to meet the humanitarian needs of the new arrivals, most of whom have reached hard-to-reach areas at the border, according to the Associated Press.
Tensions increased in the Metekle region, which prompted the Ethiopian government to declare a state of emergency in the region on January 21, according to UNHCR.
The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission said that more than 180 people were killed in sporadic violence in Metekle during the months of December and January.
In turn, Amnesty International said in December that members of the Guamaz people – who are the ethnic majority in the region – attacked the homes of Amhara, Oromo and Shinasha.
The new influx of refugees into Sudan comes amid tensions between Addis Ababa and Khartoum over a border dispute, and talks on the huge Renaissance Dam that Ethiopia is building on the Blue Nile, the main artery of the Nile, have reached a dead end.