The Financial Express

Ethiopia crisis worsens

Ethnic clashes kill 50, displace 50,000 in Ethiopia

| Updated: October 24, 2017 09:07:25

Photo- Collected Photo- Collected

The humanitarian crisis has worsened in catastrophic drought-stricken Ethiopia, where clashes have displaced around 50,000 people.


The clashes, along the border of Ethiopia’s Oromiya and Somali regions, have also killed 50 people in violence that has prompted the government to send the military in, official said.


Lema Megersa, president of Oromiya province, told local journalists on Sunday: “It is not just deaths that occurred. More than 50,000 people were displaced from their homes.”


“Those responsible should also be held to account,” he added. He did not give a death toll.


The area has been plagued by sporadic clashes for decades. A referendum held in 2004 to determine the status of disputed settlements failed to ease tensions, reports Reuters.


Unrest in 2015 and 2016 in Oromiya - and to a lesser extent other regions - killed 669 people, according to a parliament-mandated investigation.


The clashes are likely to fuel further fears about security in Ethiopia, the region’s biggest economy and a staunch Western ally.


Each side gave contradictory explanations about the cause of the clashes. Some officials in Oromiya said it was sparked by the killing of a local district head and raids by a paramilitary force from the Somali region.


Officials from the Somali region denied those claims. Fifty ethnic Somalis were killed in the town of Aweday in Oromiya on Tuesday, a spokesman for the Somali region told local media on Friday. International media were not permitted at the briefing.


On Sunday, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said soldiers deployed to the region to quell the violence would disarm residents and safeguard highways straddling the regions.

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