JIGJIGA (SD) – At least ninety-five people from Somali and regional states in Ethiopia have been killed and hundreds displaced after gunmen suspected to be from both states conducted cross-border attacks for the past five days.
Abdo Heloe, a spokesman for the Somali region has accused the neighbouring regional state of fanning the conflict saying Afar security forces initiated the attacks and killed innocent people along the border between the states.
The latest upsurge in violence started Friday when Afar special police officers attacked civilian Somali pastoralists for unknown reasons,” Abdo told AFP. “So far more than 25 civilians have been killed and more than 30 injured in the unprovoked attack. The attack is still continuing.”
Denying having initiated the attacks and blaming Somali regional state authorities, Humed, deputy police commissioner for the Afar region told Reuters by phone that around 100 civilians were killed since clashes broke out last week and continued through Tuesday,
“The Somali region special forces … attacked the areas of Haruk and Gewane using heavy weapons including machinegun and rocket-propelled grenades. Children and women were killed while they were sleeping,” Ahmed said.
The longstanding tension is rooted in the Somali inhabitants’ desire to be part of the Somali Region while the Afar authorities consider the area as an integral part of the Afar Region.
In 2014, the federal government-brokered talks redrew the boundary between the two states. The agreement transferred three small towns to Afar that Somali has since wanted back.
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