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Addis Ababa(ANN- The Ethiopian government has sent home three soldiers of Tigrayan ethnicity from the U.N. peacekeeping force in South Sudan, a diplomatic and security source told Reuters, weeks after conflict broke out between the federal government and northern region of Tigray.

  Billene Seyoum, a spokeswoman for the prime minister’s office, said that “it would be the same situation” as Somalia, where the government disarmed between 200-300 soldiers of Tigrayan ethnicity serving in an African Union peacekeeping force and a bilateral force.

READ: Ethiopia says foes surrendering, But Tigray forces report battle win

According to Reuters, the European Union foreign policy chief said fighting between Ethiopia’s military and regional forces from the northern Tigray region is seriously destabilizing the East African region and hostilities should halt.

Reports indicate that hundreds of people have been killed since fighting began on Nov. 4, more than 41,000 refugees have fled to Sudan and there are reports of militias targeting civilians.

READ: Ethiopia’s invasion of Tigreans and Abiy’s threats against Tigrean fighters are seen as defeat

Reuters quoted Josep Borrell as saying, “I expressed my great concern regarding increasing ethnic-targeted violence, numerous casualties, and violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.”

Ethiopia has described the fighting as an internal law enforcement matter, a position Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed reiterated in a statement on Wednesday.

READ: Ethiopia: Abiy’s indiscriminate bombardment of Makkale University and historical sites in Tigray region

“We reject any interference in our internal affairs,” he said.

Tigrayans forces have fired rockets at the neighboring country of Eritrea, and Ethiopian soldiers have been pulled from peacekeeping missions in Somalia and South Sudan.

READ: Sudan Will Decide the Outcome of the Ethiopian Civil War

In Somalia, Ethiopia has disarmed several hundred Tigrayans in an African Union peacekeeping force fighting al Qaeda-linked militants.

Seyoum told Reuters that the situation in South Sudan “would be the same” as in Somalia, meaning those soldiers that were sent home were under investigation for links to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), a political party spearheading the fighting.

READ: Ethiopia is a path of ethnic warfare and is on the path of the Collapsed Yugoslavia

On Tuesday, Ethiopia’s state-appointed human rights watchdog accused a Tigrayan youth group of killing about 600 civilians as federal and local forces both claimed advances in a three-week war in the country’s mountainous north.

Reuters has been unable to verify statements made by either side since phone and internet connections to Tigray are down and access to the area is strictly controlled. said Reuters report.