UN: Ethiopia’s ethnic tension has displaced one million people

Demonstrators chant slogans while flashing the Oromo protest gesture during Irreecha, the thanksgiving festival of the Oromo people, in Bishoftu town, Oromia region, Ethiopia, on October 2, 2016: Reuters

Around one million people have been forced to leave their homes over clashes between two of Ethiopia’s ethnic groups, a report seen by AFP said.

Hundreds of people have died and dozens more forced to flee after fighting between the Oromo and Somalia people along the shared border intensified last year September.

According to the UN’s International Organization for Migration (IOM), conflict related displacement is more widespread now than ever before.

“Preliminary data from the latest round of the IOM Displacement Tracking Matrix conducted in November 2017 indicates that around 1 million persons have been displaced due to conflict along the Oromia-Somali regional border,” dating back to at least 2015, said a report by the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

According to IOM records, in 2017 alone, 700,000 people were displaced.

Oromos and Somalis have squabbled over access to land and natural resources at the shared borders.  Those squabbles are increasingly leading into armed conflict.

The reasons for the conflict’s sudden intensification last year remain unclear, but both sides accuse the other of carrying out atrocities and forcing people of the opposite ethnic group out of their respective states, the report said.

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