Oromos in Somali region fleeing for their lives: report
September 15, 2017
Thousands of people are fleeing Ethiopia's Somali region following clashes in recent days.
Eighteen people are confirmed dead following protests which erupted in towns in the east of the country, Adisu Arega, spokesperson of the Oromia regional government, told the BBC.
He said 12 of the dead were ethnic Somalis while the remaining six were Oromos.
The spokesman said that the trouble began when a special unit of police from the neighbouring Somali region arrested officials from Oromia, who were then killed.
This sparked protests and clashes between the two communities in eastern Ethiopia.
Over the past few weeks there have been clashes in several villages on both sides of the border separating Ethiopia's Oromia and Somali regions.
The spokesperson of the Oromia regional government alleged that a special police and militia force of the Somali regional government as well as armed soldiers from the republic of Somalia had carried out killings deep inside Oromia region.
Officials on the other side of the regional border have a very different view on the events.
Mohammed Bile, an adviser of the Somali regional state president, told the BBC that the Oromo regional police were carrying out attacks against civilians at the regions common border.
“They are targeting unarmed peaceful Somali civilians in those areas,” he said.
'My neighbours turned against me'
Pictures of lorries evacuating people from the Ethiopia's Somali region following clashes there are being widely shared on social media (see earlier entry).
Abdulhakim Mohammed Kamil, who fled Jijiga town with his wife and child told the BBC:
My own neighbours turned against me and the Somali [regional] police are also abusing Oromos residing in the town.”
The Oromia regional government spokesperson said his colleagues are working with the federal government and other stakeholders to safely evacuate those people still in the Somali region.
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