17 December 2018

Ethiopia: At Least a Dozen Civilians Killed By Army Inside Bekele Molla Hotel in Moyale: Sources

Sources reaching out to Addis Standard say a deadly shooting involving the federal army which took place inside the Bekele Molla Hotel in Moyale city has claimed the lives of at least a dozen civilians.

According to the information sent by sources, the incident happened during talks between regional security forces, representatives of the two warring factions of the Borana Oromo and Somali Garee and members of the federal army on handing over the city's security from regional forces to the federal army.

Addis Standard learnt that a decision was taken early this afternoon by both the Oromia and Somali regional governments to hand over the security of the city from the respective regional forces to the federal army. Accordingly, a letter was sent to General Shumo Abdeta, chief of the Southern command of the Ethiopian defense forces.

It is not clear what triggers the shooting, but tensions have escalated again late this afternoon following a few hours of lull earlier today.

Fresh violence in Ethiopia's #Moyale town enters 3rd day. Reports of fighting b/n #Oromo & #Somali ethnic groups claimed the lives of at least a dozen, wounding many. In the absence of official statement, Oromo & Somali activists blame one another's ethnic group for the violence pic.twitter.com/umJKTwUbcX

- Addis Standard (@addisstandard) December 13, 2018

Fresh violence that erupted last week between the Oromo & Somali ethnic groups has claimed the lives of at least 21, wounding as many as 61, according to Surew Mohammed, deputy communication bureau of the Somali regional state who spoke to state media on Saturday last week. He added that a number of civilians have crossed the border to Kenya seeking for safety.

Moyale is a flashpoint for perpetual ethnic clashes between the two groups. However, several reports indicate that the seriousness of the latest round of violence is unlike anything seen in the past. A Reuters news dispatch on December 15 said that "an internal U.N. report dated Dec. 13 and reviewed by Reuters also confirmed the fighting, with heavy artillery being used, and said there was likelihood the conflict could spill over into Kenya." AS

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