Ethiopia: 55,000 People Displaced Amid Ethnic Clashes
ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA —
More than 55,000 ethnic Oromos have been displaced from Ethiopia’s Somali region after a week of clashes with Somalis in which dozens were killed, the regional government of Ethiopia’s restive Oromia region said on Sunday.
The statement from the Oromia government follows claims by Somali regional officials earlier this week that more than 50 people were killed in an attack against ethnic Somalis in Aweday town.
“More than 55,000 Oromos were displaced from the Somali region after the recent incident and are now sheltered in makeshift camps,” Addisu Arega, Oromia region’s spokesman, said in the statement. “Overall, some 416,807 Oromos have been displaced this year alone in fear of attacks by the Somali region’s Special Police Force.”
Oromia officials say only 18 people were killed and that Oromos have been moving out of Somali towns and villages in fear of reprisals.
Border disputes between the two ethnic groups are common. Though they agreed to reconcile in April, conflict persists in many locations.
On Sunday the presidents of the two regions met in the capital Addis Ababa and said efforts are underway to resettle the displaced.
State-affiliated media reported the two leaders were told by federal authorities that areas facing ethnic conflict will be under the control of the Ethiopian army, and that regional forces would keep away from border locations.
Ethiopia’s Somali region is currently experiencing drought conditions, while Oromia region was a hotbed of massive anti-government protests since November 2015 that claimed the lives of more than 600 people.