Ethiopia : tribal clashes make hundreds of thousands of population internally displaced

People displaced by violence in Gedeo Zone, Ethiopia. Photo : Mesfin Andargie / OCHA

NEWSROOM (ADV) – The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) said on Wednesday about 255,000 people have been displaced by ethnic violence in western Ethiopia.

In a press statement, UNOCHA said ethnic violence along the common borders of Oromia and Benishangul Gumuz regional states since September has displaced about 255,000 people.

UNOCHA further said it urgently needs 25.5 million U.S. dollars to address urgent life-saving needs of people displaced by ethnic violence in western Ethiopia.

The ethnic violence was triggered in September after the killings of four high-ranking Benishangul Gumuz regional state officials in neighboring Oromia regional state.

The officials were reportedly heading back home after attending an inter-regional security meeting between Oromia and Benishangul regional states.

The border areas of Benishangul Gumuz and Oromia regional states have in recent years witnessed deadly unrest involving various ethnic groups residing in the border areas. The dispute is reportedly over access to land and state resources.

Ethiopia follows an ethnic federalism model, which has been credited with giving self-governance rights to more than 80 ethnic groups that make up the country’s estimated 105 million people.

However, critics claim that the ethnic federalism model magnifies ethnic diversity at the expense of national unity, leading to occasional ethnic tension and clashes.

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