ADDIS ABABA, 7 April 2021 – Clashes over disputed land on the border between Ethiopia’s Afar and Somali regions have killed at least 100 people, a regional official said.
Security officials in both Afar and Somali regions are trading accusations of who is to blame for the clashes as unofficial accounts said the death toll may be higher and is likely to rise further…
Officials in Afar accused the Somali Special Forces of killing 30 people last Saturday.
Their counterparts in the Somali region say at least 25 livestock farmers were killed by gunmen who reportedly came from over the state border in Afar.
The majority of the victims are herders, killed on the second day of the clashes which began last Friday and were continuing on Tuesday.
The deputy police commissioner for the Afar region, Ahmed Humed on Tuesday blamed the violence on an attack by Somali regional forces, according to Reuters.
Security is the responsibility of each regional state in Ethiopia.
Homes and shops have been torched in villages built on land contested by the warring communities.
The Somali and Afar regions claim the disputed territory, highlighting some of the many complex security challenges that face Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed beyond the ongoing conflict in the northern region of Tigray.
The clashes come ahead of general elections for members of Ethiopia’s federal parliament and regional councils due to be held on June 5, 2021.