NAIROBI (Somaliguardian) – Ethiopia’s Somali and Afar regional troops clashed in a disputed town on Tuesday, with casualties on both sides, days after dozens of civilians had been “massacred” in the area.
The town of Gedemaytu, also known as Gabra-Issa has seen ferocious clashes between troops separately loyal to Afar regional government and authorities of the Somali region, and both sides exchanged heavy weaponry in a gun battle that lasted for many hours.
A spokesman for the Somali region government told Reuters on Tuesday that Afar militia “massacred hundreds of civilians” on Saturday in the town, which is at the epicenter of long-running regional boundary dispute in northeast Ethiopia.
The official added that as a result of the attack “many have been displaced and the town is almost completely looted”.
There were reports that Somali regional troops had retaken the town on Tuesday following fierce clashes with Afar troops and photos circulated on social media purport to show Somali soldiers at the city center.
Afar regional government has not immediately commented on the allegations that its forces killed civilians in the town of Gedamaytu.
The flare-up comes amid escalating ethnic tensions across all of Ethiopia’s regions and days after Somali special forces were deployed to participate in the fight against Tigrayan rebels in the north.
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