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Ethiopien - Lokale konflikter om rettigheder til græsning af kvæg
ETHIOPIA: Rampant inter-communal clashes in the south and east
IRINnews.org, 26. august 2005
Sammenstød mellem Oromo- og Somali-grupper i Ethiopiens sydlige og østlige områder om rettigheder til de livsnødvendige græsningsområder for kvæg. 73 mennesker har mistet livet i år og mere end 85.000 er tvunget på flugt.
ADDIS ABABA, 26 Aug 2005 (IRIN) - Clashes between communities in southern and eastern Ethiopia have so far killed 73 people this year and forced more than 85,000 to flee their homes, a human rights group said on Wednesday.
The Ethiopian Human Rights Council said in a report that fighting over cattle and grazing land had erupted in March and June between the Oromo and Somali communities.
Some 45 people were also wounded as the rival groups, armed with assault rifles - a legacy of the wars that have scarred the Horn of Africa region - launched attacks on each other.
"Tensions are still high but fighting has stopped because the military is now patrolling the area," Adam Melaku, executive secretary of the human rights group, said. He urged the government to hold a referendum to resolve the underlying dispute over ownership and use of the region's grazing land.
The Oromos are the largest community in Ethiopia, accounting for more than 25 million of the country's 71 million population. The Somali population is roughly four million.
The clashes occurred in the East and West Haraghe Zones of Oromiya Region, some 400 km east of the capital, Addis Ababa. Clashes also erupted in May in Borana Zone in the same region, some 700 km south of Addis Ababa, close to the Kenyan border.
In the six-page report, the human rights watchdog detailed the clashes in 2005, first sparked when armed Somali youths stole cattle belonging to members of the Oromo community. Its investigation teams, the report noted, had spent several weeks in the region interviewing witnesses, families of the dead and clan leaders.
The USAID-funded Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS Net) recently reported that ethnic clashes in southern Oromiya, Somali and Afar regions were exacerbating food insecurity.
"Record high cereal prices, conflicts, food shortages and pockets of acute malnutrition remain persistent threats to food security and mean that many drought prone areas require ongoing assistance for the remainder of the year," FEWS Net said.
Officials from the government's Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Commission travelled to the region and said they were assessing the situation.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported that recent government and UN assessments said some 13,500 people urgently needed food and non-food assistance.
Ethiopia has more than 80 ethnic groups and languages.
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