The Ethiopian government says it is working to resolve a deadly boundary crisis between the Oromia and Somali regional states.
Clashes between the armed factions in the two states have led to the issuance of travel alerts by the United States and Canada. According to reports, the clashes were largely over border delineation issues.
The Information Minister, Negeri Lencho, is quoted by the state-affiliated FANA broadcasting corporate as saying recent clashes led to the loss of lives and property. He said some 600 people displaced by the clashes were receiving humanitarian assistance.
He added that whiles Addis Ababa continues its active mediation efforts, the army had been deployed in the area and was conducting disarmament operations.
An investigation has also been opened and armed groups complicit of attacks on residents are being arrested. Reports indicate that the Ethiopia Human Rights Commission was also on the ground to deal with issues of rights violation.
The US embassy in Addis Ababa on October 10 issued an alert cautioning of citizens of intense gunfire between two cities leaving a main road linking the capital and another town blocked.
The statement read: “The U.S. Embassy is aware of reports that the main road from Addis Ababa to Jijiga has been blocked by security forces between the cities of Babile and Harar due to intense fighting including gunfire.”
The Ethiopian government quickly dismissed the report and said there were only sporadic clashes in the region and that it had been brought under control.
The Canadian government weeks later issued a safety and security alert for Ethiopia, citing clashes in parts of the country. They subsequently cautioned citizens to exercise caution.
A statement on its official portal read: ‘The Safety and security tab was updated – incidents on the road between Harar and Dire Dawa, and between Holeta and Ambo, on August 23.’ They did not state exactly the cause or nature of the incidents.
Harar and Dire Dawa are located in the east whiles Holeta and Ambo are located more in the central part in the Oromia region – close to the capital Addis Ababa.