27 May 2018

Somalia: Four People Killed, Houses Burnt in Renewed Somali-Oromo Clashes

At least four people were killed and several others wounded after ethnic clashes reignited between Somali and Oromo communities in Ethiopia.

The clashes started on Saturday after groups both communities simultaneously torched houses along the border between the regional states of the communities.

Reports say over 250 houses have been burned by the cross attacks as thousands of residents living alongside the border have fled their homes in fear of reprisals.

According to the local media, militiamen loyal to both communities have engaged in deadly clashes in the countryside leading casualties on both sides.

Militia attacks

The states of Somali and Oromo communities share nearly 900 miles-long porous border.

Residents living in Hararghe and other border areas said dozens of militiamen armed to teeth with different rifles attacked pastoral families living near the border.

Nearly 40 schools near the border remain closed since the cross-border attacks last week.

Ethiopia is under a six-month-long state of emergency, which was declared in February ostensibly due to fear of inter-ethnic clashes. The emergency decree was supposed to protect civilians and restore peace and stability following years of unrest.

The measure specifically called for the deployment of the federal army in conflict hotspots along the Somali-Oromia border.

It also forbids local police and armed militias from operating near the common border.

Accusations

The local administrations from both sides have been trading accusations of the conflict.

Mohamed Osman Ali, a local Somali chief near Deka town blamed Oromo militias for the displacement of hundreds of families near the border.

"Armed Oromo men attack villagers near Somali-Oromo border and razed house leading displacement of over 1000 families.

The administration of Oromo has failed to stop the deliberate attacks by the militias from their side and this caused further destruction and loss of lives," said Ali.

In an interview with the state-run Oromia Broadcasting Network on Saturday, Dr. Negeri Lencho, the spokesperson for Oromia State, acknowledged the ongoing conflict, as well as the loss of lives on both sides and the destruction of properties.

He also noted that certain forces continue to secretly supply the Liyu police with weapons reinforcement without specifying.

Calls for peace

Activists, local leaders, elders, and officials have called for peace and urge both states to lead dialogue to resolves the differences.

In his first official act following with his inauguration on April 2, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed traveled to Jijiga, the Somali state capital, to defuse ethnic tensions and later on to Oromia state.

The leaders vowed to end the attack on civilians, initiate communal dialogue and help resettle those displaced in the 2017 violence.

Yet armed incursions and cross-border raids continue to occur in many parts of both states.

Somalia

Mogadishu Port Tax Chief And Six Staff Arrested Over Corruption

Somalia's Criminal Investigation Department has detained seven officials of the Mogadishu Port Tax Authority including… Read more »

See What Everyone is Watching

Copyright © 2018 Shabelle Media Network. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 700 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.