About 100 people have been killed and dozens sustained injuries after cross border attacks took place along the border of Somali and Afar regional states in Ethiopia.
authorities from both states traded accusations with each sides the other of starting the deadly clashes that flared up last Friday.
Abdo Heloe, a spokesman for Somali region, said 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.”
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 land dispute between Afar and Somali states lies behind the recurrent clashes between Somali and Afar communities living along the border between the states.
The three contested kebeles (villages) along the Afar and Somali regional border are predominately inhabited by Somalis.
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, During the reign of Abdi Mohamed, the former president of Somali regional state, the federal government redrew the boundary between the two states and transferred three small towns to Afar that Somali has since wanted back but in 2019, Somali authorities rejected to implement the decision.