Sunday October 20, 2019
By Dawit Endeshaw
Days after the recent killings of civilians in the Afar as well as in Somali Regional States, the federal government has finally broke its silence, whereby Prime Minster Abiy Ahmed (PhD) has met with the leadership of the two regions to discuss over the issue, The Reporter has learnt.
So far, the nature and details of their discussions were not clear, except the Office of the Prime Minister’s brief announcement in its twitter page where it said, “Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed met with the leadership of the Afar and Somali Regional States to discuss security-related issues.”
In this regard, towns in Afar and Somali were hit by a mass protest days after the tragic deaths of dozens of civilians in the two regions, The Reporter has learnt.
It can be recalled that just last week, 16 civilians, who live along the Ethiopian and Djibouti border were massacred by unknown armed men. The civilians were killed in a small village of Obno, Afamboworeda of the Afar Regional State.
According to local sources, the killings were committed on Saturday, October 12 around 1 am. The armed men who have committed the crime came via Djibouti and attacked the village.
The attackers used small and heavy weapons, including RPG launchers, snipers as well as explosives. Besides the killings, the armed men also took hundreds of cattle’s from the villagers.
Moreover, in addition to the deceased which included a four month child, 28 of the villagers have suffered from gun-shot injuries, and explosives. They were taken to Dubti General Hospital and a few were referred to hospitals in Mekele and Addis Ababa.
Following the killings, different towns in Afar saw public protests, expressing their anger on the government’s failure to stop the attack before it happened.
It can be recalled that there have been similar conflicts in the past few months. In this regard, there was a bloody clash along the border areas of the Somali and Afar regions,claiming the lives of civilians from both sides. The conflicts mainly took place within a disputed small kebeles, namely:Endefo, Adayetu, and Gedamaytu–currently belonging to the Afar Regional State. In addition to other ethnic groups; it is also inhabited by Issa Somalis. Those disputed kebeles were the center of conflicts.
Angered by similar killings of civilians in Somali, protests were also held in different towns of the Somali region.
In related news, Ogaden National Liberation Front(ONLF) has raised its concern regarding the situation in the two regions.
“ONLF has warned all concerned parties about the worsening conflict between the Somalis and Afar,” said the party. “Many lives have been lost since then, and the situation is grave.”
“ONLF calls on the Ethiopian Federal Government to act responsibly and start to seriously address this issue. It is unacceptable for a state to claim sovereignty over a territory and let the citizens butcher each other with modern arms, unless there is vested interest in the conflict.”