Approximately one million people have been displaced from their homes in Ethiopia as clashes between two of the country’s largest ethnic groups continues, according to a UN report.
Fighting between the Oromo and Somali peoples along the shared border between their two states occurred sporadically through 2017 but the situation intensified in September, leaving hundreds of people dead by a government estimate and displacing scores of others trying to flee the violence, Kenya’s Daily Nation reported on Tuesday.
According to the UN’s International Organisation for Migration (IOM) the displacement resulting from the ongoing ethnic clashes is more serious than previously believed.
"Preliminary data from the latest round of the IOM Displacement Tracking Matrix conducted in November 2017 indicates that around 1 million persons have been displaced due to conflict along the Oromia-Somali regional border," dating back to at least 2015, said a report by the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
In 2017 alone, 700,000 people were displaced with the IOM recording a "significant spike" in September of that year.
The horn of Africa country is divided into ethnically demarcated federal states as a way of providing self-determination to Ethiopia’s various ethnic groups.
The fighting between the two ethnic groups has been largely over access to land and other resources along the border areas of the two states of Oromio and Somali.
It remains unclear as to why the fighting suddenly spiked last year.
However, accusations of atrocities, and ethnic cleansing, against the other has been levelled by both groups.
"Often having fled with nothing more than personal possessions at hand, most of the IDPs remain in precarious conditions, fully dependent on government and international humanitarian assistance," the IOM said.
- African News Agency (ANA)