ETHIOPIA: Ethnic conflict claims 100 lives in the south

ADDIS ABABA, 14 June (IRIN) - At least 100 people have died and thousands of others have been displaced during clashes over disputed land in southern Ethiopia during the past two weeks, humanitarian sources said.
The fighting between the Guji ethnic group and their Borena rivals occurred in the territory between the towns of Yabello and Finchewa, about 400km south of Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital. Conflict over water sources and pasture is common in country's arid southern region, which is inhabited by pastoralists. "We have received reports from local sources saying that up to 100 people have been killed in interclan clashes between Guji and Borena since 30 May, but this figure has not yet been confirmed," said Liz Lucas, a spokeswoman for Oxfam.
"The conflict started after the Guji, whose woreda [district] has recently been expanded by the government, started to claim land that previously belonged to Borena," an official of a local NGO, who asked not to be named, told IRIN by telephone from Yabello. "Thousands of people have been displaced." The federal police were not immediately able to confirm the clashes.
Several humanitarian organisations have suspended their activities in the conflict affected-area.
In a related development, two mobile health teams have suspended their work in the Somali Region of southeastern Ethiopia because of clashes between government troops and forces belonging to an insurgency in the area, humanitarian sources said.
IRIN news

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