Ethiopia’s Somali, Afar Troops Fight Fierce Clashes


MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian) – Ethiopia’s Somali and Afar regional troops fought fierce clashes on Wednesday in contested border area as ethnic tensions flare up again, weeks after dozens of civilians had been killed in the violence and thousands more were forced to flee their neighborhoods.

Both Somali and Afar special forces were involved in the new gun battle, fueled by the regional administrations’ ambitions to expand their territorial control, with each side accusing the other of starting the war.

Afar regional troops earlier captured the small towns of Garba-Issa and Adheyti and were able to parry several attacks by Somali regional forces to retake the towns on disputed border between the regions.

The more than a decade-long conflict between the two ethnic groups in Ethiopia spilled into neighboring Djibouti last month where at least 10 people died in violent clashes and dozens more wounded.

Authorities of Ethiopian Somali region said Afar militias killed 300 civilians in an attack on the town of Garba-issa, which sparked protests held by locals, who also blocked a main highway and railway linking Ethiopia’s landlocked capital, Addis Ababa to the seaport of Djibouti.

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