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Ethiopia: Clashes over boundary dispute displaced hundreds

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Ethiopian soldiers attend a parade in Afisiyooni air base in Somalia's capital Mogadishu January 23, 2007. (Reuters/Shabelle Media Photo)
By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

September 13, 2017 (ADDIS ABABA) – Renewed fighting between armed factions from Ethiopia’s Oromia and Somali regional states has forced hundreds of civilians to flee their homes.

The fighting which erupted on Tuesday has displaced at least 600 people from both regions.

Minister of Government Communication Affairs Office (GCAO), Negeri Lencho, told the state affiliated, Fana Broadcasting Corporation, that the clashes which occurred while the government has been resolving the dispute caused loss of life and property damage.

He said the Ethiopian government is currently working to resolve the boundary crises between the two regions.

"The federal government, together with leaderships of both regional states, is striving to resolve the problem," said Negeri.

While mediation efforts are underway, the information minister said the national defence forces deployed in the area are carrying out disarmament measures.

Negeri further said the federal government has been investigating and arresting those groups who carried out the attack on the residents.

"The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission has also deployed a team to investigate human rights violations in the area," he said.

Clashes between the armed factions in the two states have led to the issuance of travel alerts by the United States and Canada.

The U.S. embassy in Addis Ababa on October 10 issued an alert cautioning of citizens of intense gunfire between two cities leaving the main road linking the capital and another town blocked.

The statement read: “The U.S. Embassy is aware of reports that the main road from Addis Ababa to Jijiga has been blocked by security forces between the cities of Babile and Harar due to intense fighting including gunfire.”

The Ethiopian government quickly dismissed the report and said there were only sporadic clashes in the region and that it had been brought under control.

The Canadian government weeks later issued a safety and security alert for Ethiopia, citing clashes in parts of the country. They subsequently cautioned citizens to exercise caution.

(ST)

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