ETHIOPIA – A new round of violence in eastern Ethiopia has claimed the lives of over a dozen ethnic Somalis, privately-run local media portal Addis Standard reported on Tuesday. The portal reports that there were two separate attacks in and around the east Hararghe zone of the Oromia region – specifically in the areas of Babile, Chinaksen & Tulli Guled. The report added that seven of the victims are from one family. Somalis in the area according to VOAjournalist, Harun Maruf, blame armed ethnic Oromo militia for the killings.
Juweria Ali, an activist who reports regularly on news in the Somali region said the federal army could at best be considered as being negligent as the attacks took place. The killings were “committed by armed Oromo militias – No Liyu police [is] involved. The federal military are stationed in those areas; so this happened right under their noses,” she told the Addis Standard.
The latest incident brings to the fore the issue of internal insecurity which continues to rattle the federal government. Activists and human rights groups have said ongoing reforms risk being scuttled it Addis Ababa fails to contain ethnic violence across the country. On his part, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has condemned such acts of lawlessness charging the security forces to do all it takes to arrest the situation.
Meanwhile a former rebel group, the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) in corroborating the report of the deadly attack said it occured in areas where federal forces were stationed. ONLF which declared a unilateral ceasefire recently also put the death toll at 13. “13 bodies currently lie in Jigjiga Referral Hospital,” they said in a tweet condemning the massacre.
by Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban