Addis Ababa – Ethiopia’s government said on Friday it is sending troops to a region where deadly clashes have broken out between Oromo and Somali ethnic groups.
Somali regional officials say more than 50 people were killed in an attack against ethnic Somalis in the Oromia town of Aweday on Tuesday. Oromia regional officials say 18 were killed.
“People were killed using sharp objects only because they were ethnic Somalis,” the Somali region’s president, Abdi Mohamed Omer, was quoted by his spokesperson’s office as saying during a burial ceremony Friday for some of the victims.
Omer has accused Oromia regional officials of not preventing the killings.
Oromia regional spokesman Addisu Arega called the accusations “shameful” and said in a Facebook post Thursday that the fighting was sparked when three Oromos were killed by the Somali region’s special police earlier this month. He said around 200 people were arrested after the violence.
Border disputes between the two ethnic groups are common. Though they agreed to reconcile their differences in April, conflicts have flared in many locations since then.
Government spokesperson Negeri Lencho told reporters that forces were being deployed to areas that experienced the worst clashes, and a group has been sent to the region to assess possible human rights violations.
The spokesman declined to give a number of people killed in the fighting.
The Somali region is facing one of Ethiopia’s worst droughts in years.