In the latest outbreak of violence ahead of national elections in June, border clashes between Ethiopia’s Afar and Somali regions have killed at least 100 people, according to a regional official.
Since clashes erupted on Friday and continued through Tuesday, about 100 civilians, many of them herders, have been killed, according to Ahmed Humed, the deputy police commissioner for the Afar district, who spoke to the Reuters news agency by phone. He blamed the violence on a regional Somali power assault.
The bloodshed in Somali and Afar-controlled territories highlights Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s security concerns, which go far beyond the continuing war in Tigray to the north.
According to Ali Bedel, a spokesman for the Somali region, 25 people were killed on Friday, and a “unknown number of civilians” were killed in a follow-up assault by the same forces on Tuesday.
Reuters was unable to independently confirm whether the 25 deaths claimed by the Somali official were in addition to or included in the total of 100 deaths.
Meanwhile, Ahmed Kaloyte of the Afar region told the AFP news agency that Somali special police and militias raided Haruka, killing more than 30 Afar civilian pastoralists and injuring at least 50 more.
“The local community then beat back the attackers and caught some of them red-handed,” temporarily restoring order, he said.
Both sides deny starting the attacks and blame each other for the bloodshed.