ETHIOPIA: Thousands displaced in clashes over land in the south

ADDIS ABABA, 19 June (IRIN) - More than 23,000 people have fled their homes in southern Ethiopia following clashes triggered by disputes over land ownership between neighbouring ethnic groups in the area last week, according to Oxfam.
The fighting, which pits the Guji community against the Borena erupted about two weeks ago in the territory between the towns of Yabello and Finchewa, some 400 km south of the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.
"Regional authorities have reported that overall more than 23,000 people have been displaced after the inter-clan clashes over the past 15 days in the south of Ethiopia," said Liz Lucas, spokeswoman for Oxfam. "Elders, traditional leaders, and local government officials are meeting to settle the conflict. Oxfam is also working with local partners on peace-building in the area."
Another humanitarian sources who asked not to be named said 23,400 people from the districts of Arrero and Yabello had been displaced. "Of these, 20,400 people have settled in Shakiso, a Guji gold mining district 100 km northeast of Yabello. Food assistance is needed. Sporadic clashes were still going on this week," the source added.
Humanitarian organizations last week reported that between 100 and 150 people had been killed in these clashes, that started when land formerly belonging to Borenas was awarded to Gujis by the government.
The dispute started simmering on 23 May and turned violent a week later when the Guji started claiming the land that was previously occupied by the Borena clan.

posted by Ethiounited Moderator at7:07 PM


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