Over 50 killed, thousands displaced in Somalia clashes

Johannesburg – Dozens have been killed, and over 55 000 ethnic Oromos have fled from Ethiopia’s Somali region, after a week of clashes between Oromos and Somalis.

AP reported on Monday that Oromia’s regional government released a statement on Sunday detailing these developments following claims by Somali regional officials earlier this week that more than 50 people were killed in an attack against ethnic Somalis in the town of Aweday.

Some of the refugees have found safety in makeshift camps at a stadium in the city of Harar in the east, while others are camping out at police stations as aid agencies move in to provide humanitarian assistance.

Last year Ethiopia imposed a 10-month state of emergency after fierce anti-government protests. This was lifted in July.

However, despite an overall calmness in the wake of the emergency, clashes between the Oromos and the Somalis continued in the border areas between the two countries.

Somalia’s regional government has denied allegations by ethnic Oromos that the Liyu police have carried out human rights abuses, a claim supported by rights groups, while countering that senior officials in the Oromia government are sympathisers of the Oromo Liberation Front  – regarded as terrorists by the Somali authorities.