World Over 100 killed in clashes in Ethiopia’s Afar, Somali regions
Ethiopia urgently needs inclusive national dialogue
And in order to start one, it needs to face its imperial past and legacy.Rights groups like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have provided disturbing accounts of atrocities, breath-taking in scale and scope, where Eritrean troops and Amhara militias, fighting alongside the Ethiopian army, massacred civilians, committed horrific acts of sexual violence and “completely erased” whole villages.
Border clashes between Ethiopia’s Afar and Somali regions have killed at least 100 people, a regional official said, in the latest outbreak of violence ahead of national elections in June.
About 100 civilians, many of them herders, were killed since clashes broke out on Friday and continued through to Tuesday, Ahmed Humed, the deputy police commissioner for the Afar region, told the Reuters news agency by phone. He blamed the violence on an attack by Somali regional forces.
Can Eritrea’s Afwerki hold on to power after the Tigray war?
The Eritrean president finds himself in an increasingly difficult situation. He could still resist pressure from Addis Ababa and keep Eritrean troops in Tigray. But remaining in a hostile environment for too long would have a massive human cost not only for the local population but also for the invading troops. Moreover, the troops themselves could turn against the political leadership. Sources from the conflict area have recently told me that discontent is already simmering within the Eritrean forces, who do not see a safe exit in the near future.
The bloodshed in territory claimed by the Somali and Afar regions highlights security woes facing Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed that extend well beyond the ongoing conflict farther north in Tigray.
Ali Bedel, a spokesman for the Somali region, said 25 people had been killed on Friday and an “unknown number of civilians” died in a subsequent attack by the same forces on Tuesday.
Reuters could not independently verify whether the 25 deaths claimed by the Somali official were in addition to the 100 deaths or included in that figure.
Meanwhile, Ahmed Kaloyte of the Afar region, told the AFP news agency that Somali special police and militias raided an area known as Haruka, “indiscriminately firing on locals and killing more than 30 Afar civilian pastoralists” and injuring at least 50 more
Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan launch new Nile dam talks in DRC
The African Union is mediating the three-day talks in Kinshasa as dispute between the three countries drags on.The three-day talks that kicked off on Saturday are taking place in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the current chair of the AU.
“The local community then beat back the attackers and caught some of them red-handed,” temporarily restoring order, he said.
Both sides deny having initiated the attacks and blame the other for the violence.
Clashes along the border predate the six-month-old conflict in the north that has pitted the federal government against the former ruling party in the Tigray region.
Yet the violence has intensified just as Prime Minister Abiy’s government is trying to assert control over Tigray – underscoring how the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize winner is struggling to keep the country together ahead of the general election in June.
The election was originally set in August 2020 but was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. It is regarded as a litmus test for the country’s fragile unity, challenged by many newly resurgent regional and ethnically based parties.
Nile countries trade blame as dam talks end without breakthrough
Ethiopia on Tuesday accused Egypt and Sudan of obstructing talks on its contested dam on the Nile, which ended with recriminations and little progress. Sudan's foreign minister, Mariam al-Sadiq al-Mahdi, told reporters Tuesday that Ethiopia "threatens the people of the Nile basin, and Sudan directly".The Democratic Republic of Congo's President Felix Tshisekedi, as the current chair of the African Union, hosted the talks in the latest bid to ease decade-long tensions over the waters of the world's longest river.
“The Somali region special forces … attacked the areas of Haruk and Gewane using heavy weapons including machine gun and rocket-propelled grenades. Children and women were killed while they were sleeping,” Ahmed said.
In 2014 the boundary between the two states was redrawn by the federal government, then headed by a multi-ethnic ruling coalition, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). Three small towns were transferred to Afar from Somali, which has since tried to win them back.
As a result militias from the two eastern states have clashed before over their disputed boundaries.
In October last year, 27 people were killed in a wave of clashes over the border, with each side blaming the other.
Abiy’s government is also under pressure to address reports of violence between the country’s two largest ethnic groups, the Oromos and the Amharas.
Ethiopia is divided into 10 semi-autonomous federal regions, largely carved out along ethnic lines, and land and political disputes between the states often lead to violence.
Abiy, the country’s first Oromo leader, took power in 2018 after several years of anti-government protests.
His tenure has been marred by persistent, grisly violence along ethnic lines.
G7 condemns 'rights abuses' in Tigray conflict .
The group of leading economic powers demands an investigation into reported human rights violations.The group, which includes the UK, US and the EU, called for the reported crimes to be investigated and those responsible to be held to account.